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Hand Plane Resto question...when is "Good Enough" Good enough?

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Forum topic by CRAIGCLICK posted 05-02-2018 01:46 PM 3543 views 1 time favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 587 days


05-02-2018 01:46 PM

Still working on my Union hand plane. I’ve de-rusted everything and waxed it to keep it from rusting again.

Today, I wanted to Have a go at checking for flatness, so I took some 120 grit aluminum oxide grinding cloth and clamped it to the cast iron table of my table saw.

Following is the result of about 5 minutes on the sole and about 3 minutes on each side.

I’m going to go at it a little bit longer, but as you can see, the sole looks pretty good except for a small area at the mouth and a narrow strip at the heel.

The sides, though, are a little rougher. They feel okay and when you put a straightedge on them, they look pretty good, but the sanding tells the true story.

At what point is it good enough? Should I keep going until all three sides are perfectly flat (I apologize if it’s hard to see clearly…the lighting wasn’t cooperating)?

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.


38 replies so far

View Robert's profile

Robert

3541 posts in 1994 days


#1 posted 05-02-2018 02:03 PM

Looks good enough to me. In a perfect world, you want the area in front of the mouth perfectly flat but if you’re <.001” that’s close enough.

Give ‘er a go and see how she works.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Sludgeguy's profile

Sludgeguy

57 posts in 636 days


#2 posted 05-02-2018 02:06 PM

Sides are fine. I’d work a little more to clean up the throat area but would not worry about the back. I polish down to 600 grit but l think a lot of folks stop at 320. Throw some paste wax on it an finish the restoration and you’ll have a nice plane.

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JayT

6296 posts in 2725 days


#3 posted 05-02-2018 02:11 PM

Good enough is in the eye of the beholder. Some want the plane to work, others want a showpiece. Only you can decide where you want to be on the continuum. For me, I like a rust free and protected user, so that means sanding to 220 on the sides and sole and at least 75% japanning. If there is less japanning than that, I’ll refinish. Others do more or less and none are wrong if the plane works in the end.

For a user:

Sides are not important to be perfectly flat, unless you plan to use the plane on a shooting board. If the corrosion, is gone, you’ve done enough. If you want them to be shiny and smooth, you’ll have more work to do.

Sole ideally needs to be co-planar at the toe, heel and front of the mouth for perfect results. Now that depends on the intended use of the plane. For smoothers, it’s essential. For jointers, a bit less so and for a jack or fore plane that does rough work, not usually a major concern.

On that plane, I would work the sole some more to try and reduce the low spot in front of the mouth.

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1103 days


#4 posted 05-02-2018 05:50 PM

As you grind away on each face, remember that it’s important for the sides to be square to the sole. If they’re not, you can’t use it in operations where it rides on the side, like a shooting board.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5543 posts in 2865 days


#5 posted 05-02-2018 06:50 PM

It depends on the plane, flatness is more critical on a smoother than a jointer. If you can joint a board to your satisfaction, then it is good enough.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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RobbieB

11 posts in 738 days


#6 posted 05-03-2018 11:36 AM

I have read that when sanding you should have the plane assembled and the blade retracted. The sole is flexible enough to deform slightly as the lever cap locks down, flexing the sole out of true. The longer the plane the more important this effect can be.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2410 posts in 2503 days


#7 posted 05-03-2018 12:42 PM



I have read that when sanding you should have the plane assembled and the blade retracted. The sole is flexible enough to deform slightly as the lever cap locks down, flexing the sole out of true. The longer the plane the more important this effect can be.

- RobbieB

I can verify that this is fact, having personally tested it a few times. Not always the case, each plane can be a bit different depending how various surfaces mate.

As for when to stop, it depends. The heel of that sole is fine. If it was a jack the mouth is ok, for a jointer I want the full surface of the mouth flat, since I use mine when flattening glue ups. The sides – really doesnt matter if it wont be used for shooting. I just use scotchbright to get an even finish. For shooting use, as long as the plane doesnt rock the side is fine. The sides do not have to be a perfect 90*, the skew lever will make the blade edge perp to the sole. I stop at 120 grit for using. Higher grits are for show. A little use and the sole is scratched up.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1103 days


#8 posted 05-03-2018 01:57 PM


For shooting use, as long as the plane doesnt rock the side is fine. The sides do not have to be a perfect 90*, the skew lever will make the blade edge perp to the sole.

- OSU55

There is no way you can shoot the end of a board square if the sole of the plane isn’t square to the side that’s riding on the shooting board. You could change the skew to account for the error in the angle between the side and sole, but that kind of defeats the purpose and would require delegating the plane to shooting only.

The idea is to have the blade parallel to the sole so it takes even shavings and then when it’s turned 90º on its side, you get a perfectly square cut.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16194 posts in 3132 days


#9 posted 05-03-2018 02:09 PM

You can decide when enough is enough, based on the plane’s purpose. I personally wouldn’t mess with the sides of bench planes unless they’re shooters. Sides of planes are also important / should be square to the sole on shoulder planes or rabbet planes. For a jointer, the sole looks great.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2410 posts in 2503 days


#10 posted 05-03-2018 03:01 PM


There is no way you can shoot the end of a board square if the sole of the plane isn t square to the side that s riding on the shooting board. You could change the skew to account for the error in the angle between the side and sole, but that kind of defeats the purpose and would require delegating the plane to shooting only.

The idea is to have the blade parallel to the sole so it takes even shavings and then when it s turned 90º on its side, you get a perfectly square cut.

- Rich

We will just have to agree to disagree. There are tools called squares that are used to check perp of edges. Any plane can be set at any time to provide a perp edge. A plane doesnt have to be relegated to just shooting board use after having the skew adjusted. That can be how you would do it, but others can benefit from a different perspective.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1103 days


#11 posted 05-03-2018 03:41 PM


We will just have to agree to disagree. There are tools called squares that are used to check perp of edges. Any plane can be set at any time to provide a perp edge. A plane doesnt have to be relegated to just shooting board use after having the skew adjusted. That can be how you would do it, but others can benefit from a different perspective.

- OSU55

Agreeing to disagree is for opinions. This is a fact. A plane whose side is not square to its sole will not shoot square. I know there are tools called squares and you can check that the sole is perpendicular to the shooting board. Guess what? If it is square that means the side is square and the whole argument is moot.

Your skew argument doesn’t hold water either. That’s not an opinion — it’s a fact. If the skew is adjusted correctly, it takes even shavings. I never said a plane needed to be a shoot only plane if it’s square.

Anyway, it’s time to stop beating this dead horse. You have a right to be wrong, and I support that.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

10980 posts in 1652 days


#12 posted 05-03-2018 04:02 PM

Sorry Rich but OSU55 wins this one. The lateral adjust lever skews the angle of the cutting edge. So, if your side is at 89 degrees to the sole of the plane and you adjust the lateral to make the cutting edge at 1 degree to the sole, you end up with the iron at a 90 degree angle to the side of the plane.

As to which way is the better approach, that’s up to the user.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1103 days


#13 posted 05-03-2018 04:24 PM


Sorry Rich but OSU55 wins this one. The lateral adjust lever skews the angle of the cutting edge. So, if your side is at 89 degrees to the sole of the plane and you adjust the lateral to make the cutting edge at 1 degree to the sole, you end up with the iron at a 90 degree angle to the side of the plane.

As to which way is the better approach, that s up to the user.

- HokieKen

Yes, I said that back in my post #8, but if you do that, then the blade is skewed and if you try to use it to plane, it will take uneven shavings. That was my point about the plane being dedicated to shooting. Of course you can adjust the blade skew back and forth between planing and shooting, but that’s kind of dumb. Why not have a plane that’s square and be able to use it either way without screwing around?

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Rich

5001 posts in 1103 days


#14 posted 05-03-2018 04:27 PM

Sorry Rich but OSU55 wins this one. The lateral adjust lever skews the angle of the cutting edge. So, if your side is at 89 degrees to the sole of the plane and you adjust the lateral to make the cutting edge at 1 degree to the sole, you end up with the iron at a 90 degree angle to the side of the plane.

As to which way is the better approach, that s up to the user.

- HokieKen


Yes, I said that back in my post #8, but if you do that, then the blade is skewed and if you try to use it to plane, it will take uneven shavings. That was my point about the plane being dedicated to shooting. Of course you can adjust the blade skew back and forth between planing and shooting, but that s kind of dumb. Why not have a plane that’s square and be able to use it either way without screwing around?

That’s the point of shooting. You don’t have to be screwing around with squares and adjustments. You’ve got a plane body that’s machined square and if you adjust the blade to take even shavings, it’s guaranteed to cut square on a shooting board. If you go sanding away freehand, that goes away.

- Rich

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CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 587 days


#15 posted 05-03-2018 04:58 PM

Thank you all very much for your help. Sometimes, being a noob, I feel like I might ask too many questions…so I certainly appreciate all y’all’s patience.

Regarding squaring the sides to the bottom, I’ve been checking periodically and everything looks a-ok. In any case, I got rid of the low spot in front of the mouth and left it at that and I didn’t work on the sides anymore after posting the pics.

Since I’m new to the world of hand planes, using a shooting board is far enough in the future for me that, when I’m ready to do that, I’ll get a good, heavy, high quality low angle plane for that.

Now, all that’s left is touching up the japanning (which is actually in surprisingly good shape, considering what the plane looked like when I got it) and cleaning off any residual surface corrosion with some extremely fine grit cloth r scouring pad. Then I’ll make new wood bits for it, and we’re good to go.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

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