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Modifying planes

770 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  SMP
I was having a look at some of my planes.
I have a #5 Miller falls. Cuts, but the depth adjustment lever is really, really sloppy. Over a full turn before action. As it is stamped steel, like the Handyman planes, it occurred to me I could weld on it a bit and then file to a better fit. It would be even better of the cap hole was rounded on the edges rather than stamped square.

Then thinking about my old Bailey #4. It is a cast lever, but I should be able to braze it and file. That would take about half the slop out of it.

Anyone try this?

Yea, I just got the full kit, knob, lever and frog wedges designed by Reed as sold by James Wright for my Bailey #4 Thought making it a 55 degree as I have a Wood River #4 as well. Fine adjustment knob would work on any of these planes and with enough filing to fit, pretty sweet, but the wedges are a disaster. Sending it back.

Or, just off the Miller Falls along with my Bedrock with a broken frog, and buy an old Bailey 605C. Getting tired of adjusting the Bedrock skew with a hammer but I do like the frog adjustability. Old frogs are not cheap unless you compare it to a WR or LN. :)
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I don't know if it would work on a Millers Falls but the Reed no slop yoke is something I have been meaning to try to upgrade some of my sloppier bench planes.
The Reed yoke looks like it would do the trick, though I would caution to use care removing the factory yoke as the castings are pretty thin where you remove the through pin.

Instead of brazing on the yoke, why not put a dab of braze in the chipbreaker receiving hole? Clean/smooth a bit with our Dremel.
Based solely on the reconfigured planes I have seen, attempts to better what was put out for sale, hardly ever work out.
Did you folks see I said I bought the Reed yoke and knob? Yes, it would probably fit, but Wright warns that MF changed their threads at some point and if it fits may be a question. It looks like it would have fit mine. I decided not to put a $30 yoke on a $20 plane.

I did not fit the yoke to either the Bailey or M-F as I am so disappointed with the 50 and 55 degree wedge mod I am sending it all back. Going back to, gasp, sandpaper and then finish with a scraper if I get a difficult piece of wood.

Yes, one could modify the chip breaker, but then it is unique to that plane. I have 4 planes that the irons and breakers are interchangeable with. If I need more than a strop in a project, I just grab a different iron and breaker.

I have almost no tools I was not able to make at least minor improvements on.
I'm curious what Millers Falls plane you have? Got any pics? It's not a #5 because they never made a #5. I imagine it's a #14 but I'm curious if it's one of their better models or if it's a later make or a V-line model. In any case, with the stamped steel levers, there's probably no need to weld/file to get a tighter fit. On the ones I've had with sloppy fits, I just squeeze the ears together. If you feel like the ears need to be bigger radially, you can tap them with a ball peen to expand them.
814, corrugated sole. Pretty much identical to a Handyman #5. Bailey pattern without the frog adjustment screw.

It is the tang end of the yoke that is terrible. Ear end not so much, but they could fit better. A peen may be easier than adding a little metal. There is a turn and a half of slop in the wheel.

I'll get a picture later. Just taking a break from the destruction phase of my master bath project.
Actually…that "slop" is IN the slot in the chipbreaker.

Yoke is loose to allow the lateral lever to move the iron….from side to side. So..IF the yoke can not shift with the lateral lever…ya ain't gonna adjust for lateral.

Slots are the reason for the slop….as they are a bit bigger than the nub on the end of the yoke. Mild steel chipbreaker, so after a few decades of use, the slot will wear a bit….
Yes, there has to be tolerance between the slot and the yoke tab, but not as much as this plane. As I said, it takes a full turn and a half of the knob to take out the play. I can compare it to all my other planes and the worst of them is about half a turn. I have measured the chip-breakers and they are all very close. An improved design would be to radius the fore and aft of the slot to allow the tab to slide against a rounded surface, rather than the sharp edges of a square punched slot.
Maybe I am superhuman, but I can turn the knob on all of my planes one revolution in about a second. But I have one set as a jack, one as a smoother, one as a fine smoother. So I rarely have to adjust them that much where it has to go back and forth.
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