A Spear and Jackson Mystery solved.

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Blog entry by jonoseph posted 05-12-2022 04:52 PM 813 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have an old Spear and Jackson smoother plane that had spells of working perfectly and then defying all my efforts to make it work . One problem was the depth adjuster would run into the back of the frog and the blade was still sticking out . The previous owner had the same problem as the brass adjuster was worn around the edges . If you are used to Stanley planes it remains a mystery . The solution comes when you adjust the frog which slides upwards as you move it back . Very like a Bedrock but without a screw adjuster . Set the adjuster wheel back first .(ie forward with the reverse thread ). Then take off the lever cap. Lift out the blade and slacken the frog screws till it just moves. Then hold the blade , chipbreaker and frog together as you slide the frog back enough for the blade to easily clear the sole . Make sure the blade and frog are still in contact all the way up .Then carefully remove the blade and tighten the frog screws Simple enough if all the parts are original . But if a different chipbreaker has found it`s way into the plane you have a fresh problem . The adjuster hole position (distance from front edge) in chipbreakers is finely tuned to the design of the plane . Mixing and matching chipbreakers is not a good idea . Sometimes it works and sometimes not . The plane knows this but will never tell you . Hence the frustration . The difference in hole position is not enough to draw attention to itself . Happiness comes when the correct chipbreaker gets back in the right plane .

-- John ,in the Wirral .UK

3 comments so far

View poopiekat's profile


5125 posts in 5191 days

#1 posted 05-12-2022 07:59 PM

You are correct about chipbreakers.
Whenever I need a chipbreaker from my parts bin, I have to remember to measure the distance from the yoke engagement hole to the breaker end.
For iron-bodied planes the distance is typically ~4 inches. For Transitional planes it’s typically ~4 3/4 inches. Yeah, mine are all tossed together in the same Tupperware bin.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Sylvain's profile


1673 posts in 3956 days

#2 posted 05-13-2022 03:41 PM

I have had to augment the curve of the chip-breaker to, in some way, shorten the distance between the yoke slot and the edge (on a cheapo sylverline #4).
A few hammer blow cured the problem. (Then, of course, one has to ensure there is still a good contact with the cutting-iron)

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn (and that is nice)

View jonoseph's profile


74 posts in 2352 days

#3 posted 05-16-2022 07:24 AM

The chipbreakers will not always sit steady on a flat surface .There can be a twist built in. So a tight screw might not make a close fit near the blade edge . After doing a lot of planing with various sizes and shapes of planes I have to admit the sloping frog base on the Spear and Jackson had me fooled for ages . Mostly it was my own fault but how would anyone figure out that design without an instruction book . The early Acorn planes , before Stanley bought them had the same sloping frogs . In venerable black and well made Acorns were good planes . One of my recent purchases of a Rapier smoother with clean red paint had the original chipbreaker and a very close fitting depth adjuster with an ultra exact chipbreaker hole with no free play . Good enough for an advertisement .

-- John ,in the Wirral .UK

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