Quantcast

Wooden Plane Blade Adjustment

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Possumpoint

Member
Joined
18 Mar 2005
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Location
Dumfries, VA, USA
I think I understand the theory, putting into practice is driving me to frustration. I have several wooden coffin smoothers that I'm trying to learn how to use. I set the plane with the blade loose on the work bench and then tighten the wedge. This usually drives the blade down where it is too deep. I then tap the rear of the plane to adjust the blade. I usually end up with the blade either too shallow or too loose.

After fussing with it for a while I start getting fluff and hit the blade again and it is too #$$$@!%! deep. I'm using a 10 oz +/- ball peen hammer and wonder if this is the problem. Or maybe I'm just a dunce.
 

MikeW

Established Member
Joined
15 Apr 2005
Messages
1,933
Reaction score
0
Location
Forest Grove, Oregon USA
Hi PossumPoint,

It can be difficult, but hopefully the following will help.

First, I would check to make sure that the sole is flat. Because you have a wood plane, this part is really quick. If these are new-to-you planes, you have to make sure that the plane has had an opportunity to acclimate in their new location. I usually wait a week or two. During that time you can make sure you've flattened the back of the blade and put a good edge on it.

Place some 100 or 120 grit sandpaper on a flat surface. A table saw or bandsaw table or jointer table work great.

With the blade retracted above the sole and the wedge really snug, rub the sole of the plane on the sandpaper several strokes fairly lightly and take a look. Are you getting even sanding scratches on the entire sole? If not, sand a little more until you are.

You really need to make sure that at least from the toe of the plane to the front of the mouth and a good portion at the heel are flat. A bit behind the mouth not being sanded is ok.

There is a trade off here. The more you take wood off the bottom, the more you will open the mouth. That is where the gap in front of the blade to the front edge of the mouth can/will get increasingly larger. That is not a good thing in a smoother.

Once you are satisfied the scratches are covering the important areas, switch to a piece of 220 grit and even out the scratches.

You can move to yet a higher grit if you want for a few strokes, but it isn't necessary.

You now need to oil the sole and or wax it well.

Hopefully, your blade is very sharp. If not, take the time now to give a good sharpening and or hone it.

Place the blade in and the wedge. I do not quite place the edge fully down to the sole. Experience will let you know how far, but I place it just shy of the sole.

Make sure the wedge is snug. But it doesn't have to be really tight. Again, this is something you will get a feel for. When I started using wood planes, I place a known flat piece of wood on the bench and very lightly taped the blade while slowly pulling the plane along with the other, with light pressure on the plane.

Make sure to lightly tap on the wedge after a tap or two to the wedge. If you set the iron too deeply, tap on the toe of the plane. This will drive the blade up without loosen the wedge--at least too loose. Reset the wedge with a light tap.

Stop taping once you feel the blade beginning to grab the wood. Check to see how the blade is coming in contact. Is it grabing one one side or the other? If so, tap the blade lightly to the opposite side and continue these two things until you have even contact across the blade edge. Take a swipe. Are you getting a nice shaving?

Keep at it until you are. Light taps--especially with that heavy of a hammer. Patience will win out. If you can, get a lighter hammer. Make a wood one or buy one. I have a couple I use. One is available from Lee Valley. It has a replaceable wood insert in one end. With moderate use on planes bodies the wood will last for eom time. Use the brass face for the blade itself. The other is an old steel hammer that on one end has a leather face. Basically it's the same as the LV one.

Once you are satisfied with the cut, hold the plane upside down and sight down the sole, holding the plane so your eye is just "skimming" down the length of the sole. Do this with light coming from over you shoulder from behind you. Can you see the very edge of the blade glinting?

Once you get use to seeing that projection, you can actually come very close to setting your blade by placing the blade in close to the sole and with the plane upside down (do remember to put the wedge in snug first <g>) and gently tap the blade into position visually. Usually it only takes a tap or two. Then set the wedge a little.

One of the most common problems I come across with people using a wood plane for the first time is setting the wedge in too tight. Then it takes hitting the blade harder than it should, which lessens the control one has.

Good luck. Practice practice...
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2005
Messages
2,711
Reaction score
28
Location
Perth, Australia
PP wrote
I set the plane with the blade loose on the work bench and then tighten the wedge. This usually drives the blade down where it is too deep.
Hi PP

1. I think the key to a fine blade setting is to first place the plane (sans blade and wedge) on a piece of flat, hard timber board. You do not want the blade to project far. It is much easier to add projection (i.e. just tap the blade in a smidgeon) than retract it evenly (since the wedge will loosen as well).

I don't think a 10 oz hammer is too heavy (acceptable range 6 - 10 oz) - in fact the weight is probably right - but the hard steel is going to damage the plane's body. You would be better off with a small wooden mallet. Make your own (fun project).

2. After placing the plane on the board, drop in the blade and let it slide all the way through until it reaches the board. Keep the plane flat on the board. The blade must not be allowed to project beyond the plane body. Then insert the wedge and hammer this in firmly with small taps (to keep everything under control).

This is usually enough for a finely set blade (and will be once you have more experience).

3. I like to use touch to determine if the blade has enough projection. Carefully feel with your fingertip if the projection is the same at each side of the mouth. I think you know what to do if it needs to be evened out.

If there is too much blade projection, my recommendation is to tap the blade out, and start again. This is much easier (at the beginning of the learning curve) than trying to adjust the blade in the plane.

4. Below is a link to the HNT Gordon website. Terry has a nice tutorial that includes pics:

http://www.hntgordon.com.au/bladesettingsmoothtry.htm

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Alf

Established Member
Joined
22 Oct 2003
Messages
12,079
Reaction score
0
Location
Up the proverbial creek
Larry Wiliams made an interesting point on WoodCentral that came as a bit of a "D'oh! Of course" #-o moment. Well it did to me anyway... Viz:
Most people who have problems setting wooden planes are setting the wedge way too tight. They'll drive it down with heavy blows. They never stop to think they'd have trouble adjusting metal planes as well if the tightened the lever cap screw to a few hundred foot pounds.
I've also had best results using the method Derek describes; I suppose it's a bit of a cheat in a way, but what the heck. Oh, and a link to Jeff Gorman's how-to, just for completeness.

Cheers, Alf
 

Possumpoint

Member
Joined
18 Mar 2005
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Location
Dumfries, VA, USA
Mike, Derek and Alf;

Thank you for the helpful hints. This morning before the house woke up, I was able to slip into the shop and work on the two planes that had been giving me fits. One was giving great results by the time I had to quit and the other was showing improvement. I'm a bit of a stubborn old f**t and I hate to give up on anything.

Again, thank you very much!
 

bugbear

Established Member
Joined
16 Jul 2004
Messages
13,074
Reaction score
0
Location
North Suffolk
You might also check the blade, bedding and wedge - sometimes there's uneveness, which prevents the blade from "being" where you want it.

BugBear
 

Latest posts

Top