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Hi All,

Well, I dove into the world of vintage hand planes head first a couple weeks ago when I bought my first one, a Millers Falls No. 9 off of EBay.

I've researched the forums ad nauseam, soaking up as much info from all of the experts on the site, as well as FWW and others, too.

I've done a fairly good job of cleaning things up, adequately flattening the sole (as far as I can tell, at least), checking over the chip breaker and frog, etc., and honing the iron. I've basically tried to go step by step and cover everything, but I just can't seem to get it up and running

Not having any hand plane experience, aside from the Veritas Apron plane that I bought a couple months ago (which came ready to roll right out of the box) is greatly limiting my abilities to get this thing going.

I'm hoping there might be somebody with experience in the Central Maryland area who might not mind lending a hand in helping me out, and showing me the ropes. I know everyone's time is valuable, so I certainly don't expect anyone to jump out of their shoes here, but I thought I'd give it a shot anyhow…

Thanks!!

Jason
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll try to post some pics later this evening.

Basically, I just can't get any consistency at all. I was getting a decent shaving, but only on one side of a scrap piece. In trying to adjust things, I noticed the iron was skewed, so I ground it to correct that, re-honed, and now I'm not even getting a decent partial shaving.

I don't know if I don't have the frog set right, or if the sole isn't flat enough or what. I'm kind of spinning in circles.
 

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Id rule out the sole being flat for now snd start with the frog set up and your iron. The iron should be square to its sides. Any adjustments will be made with the lateral Adjuster once reinstalled into the plane. Try edging your frog to the back side of the mouth opening. Check the chip breaker as well. It should reveal about 1/16-1/8" of the irons edge.
 

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If its closing up the mouth too much dial it back a little bit. For a light cut youd like the mouth to be as closed as possible, for a heavier cut youd back tge frog off a bit to open the mouth up to allow for a thicker shaving to pass through.
 

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I'll add to what Stef has said in that also make sure the chip breaker is flush to the surface (not the edge) of the iron as well. if there is space in there it will give a place for the shavings to go and wedge themselves in between the back of the iron and the face of the chip breaker which will quickly stop the action of the plane.

And pics ALWAYS help!
 

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As Slyy said, pictures of the plane would help. Picture of the iron and chip breaker while removed from the plane, and a picture of the bottom of the plane with the iron installed would be a good place to start.
 

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When you re-sharpened, are you sure you sharpened it well enough? My first plane was an ebay MF 9 and I love it, but for a while I had trouble figuring out what was sharp enough. I was not getting it anywhere near sharp enough first few times I tried.

Adding to what chrisstef mentioned about the mouth, that was probably the area that took me the longest to figure out. It may seem frustrating but just keep adjusting and you'll figure out the sweet spot. Wish I could find a diagram that showed also how the blade looses support and you won't get a good shaving if the frog isn't in the right spot, which compounds the problem of the mouth being too open or closed.

About the chip breaker, make sure it clamps on the iron well and that there are absolutely no gaps. Had to replace mine. Might not be your problem, just something on the checklist, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks all…I adjusted the frog to make sure it was seated properly and that seemed to help some.
I'll try to get a few pics up tomorrow; maybe there's a glaring error someone will point out.

As for sharpening, I've been doing so on sandpaper affixed to granite, and honing up through 2000 grit. Is this inadequate? I was able to shave hairs off of the back of my hand, but I'm not even sure if that's a legitimate indicator!
 

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You are correct that "shaving hair" is not exact - not all hair shaving events are the same - but, it should be sharp enough to get some shavings. Were you able to shave hair after the last honing? My test is to see if I can slice a very thin shaving off the back of my thumb nail (I'm not recommending this). If you are honing the entire bevel, it is hard to get a sharp edge since finer grits don't remove much material. Micro bevels make this go much faster. Here is my sharpening method http://lumberjocks.com/OSU55/blog/39391. That Veritas apron plane blade was not really "sharp" out of the box.

The edge does not have to be perfectly perpendicular to the side of the blade, that's what the skew lever is for. To set initial blade depth/position, I use a popsicle stick on edge and drag across the mouth opening until I get the slightest contact on both sides of the blade edge. Any little flat sliver of wood will do. Minute adjustments of depth and skew should then have you making nice shavings.

At this point don't worry how tight the mouth is - wider is better until you get the thing to work. Set the frog surface inline with the bevel on the back of the mouth or slightly ahead of it. Make sure the breaker is ground right - see here http://lumberjocks.com/OSU55/blog/39501. Set the breaker at least 1/16" from the blade edge for now. Put the blade/breaker back in. Test depth and skew adjustment. It should be relatively easy to adjust depth and skew with the lever cap snapped down. If not, it's too tight. Release the lever, raise the lever, back of the screw, snap the lever down. Turn the screw until it resists. Back off and tighten to resistance a few times. After you feel resistance, tighten a 1/4 turn. Adjust to taste.

My test for sole flatness is 220 grit on a flat surface at least a little longer than the plane. With blade in position and clamped but retracted, just move the plane side to side using the sides of the main casting, and then look at the scratch pattern left. Magic marker lines down and across the sole help when flattening. The sole does not have to be perfectly flat to work, but the flatter the better.

There is definitely some skill building required to use hand planes, but it's worth it. They can be frustrating, but once figured out you start to understand why some folks make a big deal out of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
OSU55: I should've clarified a bit I guess in terms of my sharpening. Initially I 'ground' the bevel at 25 deg on sandpaper, and then honed a micro even at around 27 deg using the Veritas jig. This seemed to sharpen things right up on both my chisels, and the Veritas block plane, so I assumed it would be good enough for the Millers Falls iron. Is this a less effective way to sharpen the older irons, or should it be ok?

After careful observation of the plane's sole, I'm wondering if there is a very, very slight concave area right in front of the planes mouth. I'm going to try the method you recommend above and see if it shows something that I didn't see.

It feels as though when I did get a somewhat decent shaving, it was requiring much more downward force by me to produce it, but that could just be me not being used to using hand planes!!
 

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OSU55: I should ve clarified a bit I guess in terms of my sharpening. Initially I ground the bevel at 25 deg on sandpaper, and then honed a micro even at around 27 deg using the Veritas jig. This seemed to sharpen things right up on both my chisels, and the Veritas block plane, so I assumed it would be good enough for the Millers Falls iron. Is this a less effective way to sharpen the older irons, or should it be ok?
That should be fine, as long as you are getting truly sharp. If you are able to shave a hand, then I agree with OSU that it's enough to get shavings.

After careful observation of the plane s sole, I m wondering if there is a very, very slight concave area right in front of the planes mouth. I m going to try the method you recommend above and see if it shows something that I didn t see.
A slightly concave are is not a problem, as long as the last 1/4in or so in front of the mouth is flat. That is one of the key areas to have flat-the others are the toe and heel of the sole. These are the areas that ride on the wood and affect the cut. If your concave area continues right to the mouth, then it needs lapped out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
One other question: I'm thinking my microbevel might not be so 'micro'...after initial grinding, how many passes at each grit paper(400-2000) would be recommended? The secondary bevel that I have is about 1/16"+ wide across the whole edge of the iron. I saw a video of a guy from LN do one, and it looked barely noticeable- he was making ot a few honing passes at each grit and the resulting micro bevel was barely perceivable.

I don't kniw if this effects anything, but maybe I spent too much time honing when trying to establish the micro, and instead re-ground and dulled the edge? Just thought is throw this into the mix, too.
 
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