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wooden dado plane setup and use.

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adrian

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I have acquired a couple of wooden dado planes and am wondering if it's necessary to do things like flatten the sole, or if there are other things I ought to do in order to get them working. I'm also wondering how to adjust the depth of the nickers to get it properly consistent with the blade depth, and how to rehabilitate the nickers on one of the planes where they seem half worn off. I haven't used wooden planes much at all, so this is kind of new territory. Any good references on how to tune a wooden dado plane?
 

AndyT

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In my experience they are fairly simple and obvious tools which can work really well.

I would not attempt any straightening or flattening unless you have a real basket case that has been stored in a damp place and has warped. Look at the iron in-situ and make sure that you have an even depth of sharp iron showing, and that the iron protrudes a little beyond the width of the sole.

The nickers should not be sharpened on the outside - that would reduce the width. Sharpen very carefully on the inside, using a fine needle file or slipstone. Each nicker should have three arcs to it - the outside and inside should be shallow arcs, and the edge (where they meet) should form an arc in the vertical plane. So the cutting action is that of a curved edge running across the fibres. The nickers on this plane work well and have the shape I am trying to describe:



In use, run the plane alongside a wooden straightedge, temporarily nailed or clamped in place. Start with a pull backwards to sever the fibres for the first cut; after that just push in the normal way, taking full length shavings.
 

adrian

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Is there any trick to getting the nickers at the right depth? When I was experimenting they were too far out and I had trouble getting them set in a way that seemed to work. Finally I just removed them entirely to see how I would do.
 

AndyT

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adrian":fxv40cy3 said:
Is there any trick to getting the nickers at the right depth? When I was experimenting they were too far out and I had trouble getting them set in a way that seemed to work. Finally I just removed them entirely to see how I would do.
Sorry no trick that I know - adjust them until they work just right! If too far out, set them closer in, and vice versa. (Is that the least helpful advice yet offered here?)

I suppose I am trying to reassure you that there is a sweet spot where the nickers sever only the fibres that are about to be cut, no more, no less. Do remember that this is a quick working tool, which should be taking as thick a shaving as possible in the wood in question. It's not making a finished surface to leave on view.
 

adrian

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I experimented some more and managed to sort of cut a rough ugly dado, but the depth of the dado was shallower in the front than in the back. I wonder if this has to do with the sole being out of flat--the plane stops cutting in the front area. The sole is 0.01" hollow behind the blade with a high spot at the heel. There is a high spot at the mouth, and then it's about .005" hollow in front of the mouth up to the nicker which is another high spot. Is this OK? Or does that hollow behind the mouth cause problems? The test workpiece is shorter than the plane so I was thinking that when the back of the workpiece falls into that hollow it lifts the front of the plane up off the work and might explain why it's not cutting in the front.

I checked my second plane and it's flat behind the mouth, but the area between the nicker and mouth is .005" low. I can't actually try this plane yet as I'm still working on getting the blade sharpened and the nicker reshaped.
 
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