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Trouble With My Bench Plane

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Forum topic by Veruschka posted 05-31-2019 03:29 PM 1152 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Veruschka

6 posts in 582 days


05-31-2019 03:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane bench plane problem blade protrusion lateral adjustment

Hi folks! I am hopeful somebody can help me out with my bench plane troubles, because I’m just about ready to tear my hair out here.

I’m a novice woodworker trying to get my first bench plane in order. I had heard that a jack plane was the thing to start with, so I purchased a Wards Master No. 5 from a local antique shop and started restoring it.

Over the last few months, I have been working at it and managed to find some success. I have been able to take shavings, but something seemed very off. Being a newbie, I could never tell if it was me, the wood, or the plane itself.

I began to notice that in order to prevent one side of the blade from gouging into the wood, I needed to have the lateral adjustment lever cranked all the way to the right (my right). As I looked closer though, I noticed that one side of the blade was protruding much further than the other, even when the blade was square to the mouth.

This made me think that maybe the frog wasn’t flat. After lapping the face of the frog, however, the problem remained.

I then noticed that my chipbreaker seemed out of square. If I lined the edge of the chipbreaker up with the edge of the blade, the rectangular opening for the depth adjustment was very out of square and would prevent me from lining up the blade. When I canted the chipbreaker to prevent this, however, the blade still protruded, even though it was square with the mouth.

I plan to fix the issue with the chipbreaker, but I really don’t think that’s what is causing my problem. Could something be wrong with the bed of my plane? I’m hesitant to start messing around in there, especially since I don’t really know what I’m doing. It seems to me that something is pushing one side of the blade forward, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is. I should mention that the sole is flat, and the iron is sharp. Also, the mouth is square.

Anyway, I appreciate any help you all are able to give me! And if I didn’t do a good job of communicating the problem, or if I didn’t take enough pictures, please let me know.

-- "You can always turn the crappy side to the wall"--Steve Ramsey


30 replies so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16938 posts in 3501 days


#1 posted 05-31-2019 03:39 PM

Are you sure the blade’s edge is square? Check it, and the chipbreaker, with a 6” square.

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

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SMP

2664 posts in 788 days


#2 posted 05-31-2019 03:43 PM

Pleaase post a pic of the iron with a combo square showing the squareness of blade end. Also a pic of the chipbreaker showing the slot.

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1772 posts in 3732 days


#3 posted 05-31-2019 03:44 PM

Are you using a jig to sharpen? I agree with Smitty, check to see if you’ve ground and sharpened the iron square

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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SMP

2664 posts in 788 days


#4 posted 05-31-2019 05:26 PM

Another thing to consider is the blade is usually 1/16 or so narrower than the mouth. If you don’t center it, it can sit in their skewed. Here is my 5, blade is square, chipbreaker square, lateral adjuster centered but I can purposely put it in angled to one side and look how much it is skewed:

But if I center the iron in the mouth its fine, even by eye then you can adjust it square. If having trouble centering can try to shim with a steel rule or card scraper to center before tightening the cap iron.

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Veruschka

6 posts in 582 days


#5 posted 05-31-2019 09:30 PM

Thank you so much for your replies!

Smitty, SMP, ChefHDAN: I did initially have to fix the edge of the blade, as it was quite out of square. It is very possible that I did a poor job, as I don’t have a sharpening jig. I did it free hand with the “sandpaper on a granite tile” method. I will post a picture of the edge and the chipbreaker this evening!

SMP: I will most definitely try that shim method, thank you! I didn’t realize you could affect the protrusion of the blade so much simply by not checking before tightening the cap iron. The mouth tends to clog up with shavings a lot and I end up taking the iron out frequently. I wonder if I’m just being sloppy when I put it back in.

-- "You can always turn the crappy side to the wall"--Steve Ramsey

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Veruschka

6 posts in 582 days


#6 posted 06-01-2019 08:19 AM

Well boy do I feel dumb. The blade is out of square! When I first got the plane, I focused a lot on getting the chips out and making sure the edge was straight, but I guess I didn’t check to make sure the edge was square to the sides.

If the blade is out of square, and the chipbreaker is out of square, it suddenly makes sense as to why the opening for the depth adjustment is out of whack. And why I need to crank the lateral adjustment all the way over.

Here is a picture of the chipbreaker:

And when I would line it up with the edge like so:

You can see that the opening for the depth adjustment was askew.

So if that’s causing my problem, then I suppose I need to focus on squaring up those two items. But I guess it occurs to me now that I don’t really know how to do that. My instinct would be to scribe a line and then use a file to file the edge down until it was square, but then I would be left with a huge flat spot. Or I guess I could get a jig for the blade and just work it down.

But how would I go about doing that with the chipbreaker? Is it a huge deal that it’s out of square?

-- "You can always turn the crappy side to the wall"--Steve Ramsey

View Don W's profile

Don W

19726 posts in 3450 days


#7 posted 06-01-2019 09:59 AM

The lateral adjustment can be used to fix that much “out of squareness”.

I didn’t see any suggest making sure the mouth is square. Set a square on the sole against the sides.

Try adjusting the frog to compensate as a test as well. Also make sure the frog face is flat and not warped.

Also, make sure the blade is sitting flat on the frog.

One more note for next time, in my opinion, you got bad advice starting with a Jack. A Jack is meant for rough work and your trying to smooth it. Yes, it can be done, but life would be easier if your first smoothing plane was actually built as a smoothing plane.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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Don W

19726 posts in 3450 days


#8 posted 06-01-2019 10:04 AM

Also you will want to polish the end of the chip breaker. You want chips (or shavings) to glide smoothly over the edge of the chip breaker.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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Veruschka

6 posts in 582 days


#9 posted 06-01-2019 05:45 PM

Hi Don, thank you for your reply! So if the lateral adjustment lever is meant to compensate for the blade, do you think it’s worth it to try and get it into square? I will go ahead and check the mouth again, and the frog too. I did have suspicions that it might be the frog. I know that the face is flat (I checked it last night) but maybe the mating surface with the bed is off?


One more note for next time, in my opinion, you got bad advice starting with a Jack. A Jack is meant for rough work and your trying to smooth it. Yes, it can be done, but life would be easier if your first smoothing plane was actually built as a smoothing plane.

I may just get a smoothing plane and try my hand at that for a while. I have been beating my head against a wall for the last few months tinkering with this thing and it nearly turned me off hand planes entirely!

-- "You can always turn the crappy side to the wall"--Steve Ramsey

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UnmarkedBill

11 posts in 518 days


#10 posted 06-01-2019 05:56 PM

I got really interested in learning from old textbooks about this kind of stuff. Methods vary but they’re all complete and sensible. An unintended outcome was I realized how atrophied my capacity for understanding written explanations had gotten. It has been rewarding to relearn this kind of learning. When reading an explanation rather than watching a clip, I have to imagine what the writer means a lot more. This turns into an exercise for my imagination and minds-eye, things I want to cultivate and didn’t notice I had lost watching videos etc. Any old textbook or “woodworkers bible” type of book will have a very complete procedural explanation for tuning planes and a million other things.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

680 posts in 1631 days


#11 posted 06-01-2019 08:16 PM

Hand plane setup is a lot like tennis. Very frustrating at first, but more fun as you get better. Also a lot like sex. I suggest you buy a Veritas honing guide and some diamond plates and sharpen with that. If you have a willing woodworker near you, ask if they will square up your blade on a slow speed grinder. And, it occurs to me that you may have the original blade. If so, toss it and order a Hock blade. That’ll speed things up, being square already and sharp. Much easier to keep something sharp than starting from where you are with the present blade.

If you get a smoother, I highly recommend the Veritas Low Angle #4. I’ll reach past my LN bronze #4 to get the Veritas. I prefer it that much.

And if you like to travel, there’s a religious community in Waco, Tx that teaches a basic hand tool woodworker course that focuses on sharpening chisel and plane blades and using them. Wife and I took the 3 day course to brush up on our technique, and it was a great course. It’s the Heritage School of woodworking. I found that my sharpening skills and chisel and hand plane skills were very deficient.

I just went to the Heritage School website and they have free videos on sharpening planes, chisels, scrapers, and crosscut saws.

View SMP's profile

SMP

2664 posts in 788 days


#12 posted 06-01-2019 11:23 PM



Hi Don, thank you for your reply! So if the lateral adjustment lever is meant to compensate for the blade, do you think it s worth it to try and get it into square? I will go ahead and check the mouth again, and the frog too. I did have suspicions that it might be the frog. I know that the face is flat (I checked it last night) but maybe the mating surface with the bed is off?

I may just get a smoothing plane and try my hand at that for a while. I have been beating my head against a wall for the last few months tinkering with this thing and it nearly turned me off hand planes entirely!

- Veruschka

If you can get it to cut straight, then no need to square the blade right away, but if the iron is skewed enough then it may not adjust enough. But what I would do is next few times you sharpen it, work on getting it back to square.

I would grab a 4 or 4 1/2 for smoothing, then you can leave the 5 set more as a jack, and really dial in the smoother for smoothing.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19726 posts in 3450 days


#13 posted 06-02-2019 12:17 AM

I would suggest working it into square each sharpening.

I have a couple smothers that will ne for sale(one is already on my site)

There will be a moment when you’ll have that “ah ha” moment and you’ll have a smile on your face.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

680 posts in 1631 days


#14 posted 06-02-2019 12:36 AM

Just buy the Hock blade and get happy faster. Or you could just ship me the existing blade and I’ll square it up on the grinder, get it sharp and mail it back. I’m retired, so no problem, other than I’ll be in Ireland for the next 2 weeks.

Freehand sharpening that blade, from where it is now, will take a lot of time and work. This I know from experience.

Once you get that plane set up properly, it will be a joy to use.

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Veruschka

6 posts in 582 days


#15 posted 06-02-2019 08:09 AM

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe what happened this evening!

I had spent a very frustrating hour earlier in the afternoon trying to get the alignment just right, and it seemed things had gotten even worse because then it wouldn’t even take a cut. I then said some very rude things to it and set it down to make dinner.

Later on, I was thinking about how many of you all suggested using a honing guide for the iron. I didn’t really like the idea of waiting around a few weeks for one to arrive, so I went out to the garage to see if I could jerry-rig something. Lo and behold, I found a caster wheel in a drawer with a flat base. I secured that to the blade with a bunch of clothes pins (it was the best thing I could find at the time) and set about fiddling with the angle. When I brought out the protractor, I realized that I had previously ground the blade to a 55 degree angle! I spent the next three hours working the edge meticulously until it was about 25 degrees and not only mostly square, but sharp. Like, I had never before been able to shave hairs with it.

Then I went ahead and polished the chipbreaker until I could see myself in it.

I then put a piece of walnut that I had been working with in the vice and thought, “Well, here goes nothing.”

The most amazing thing happened. The plane slid right through and puffed out this thin, gossamer, even shaving and, I’m not going to lie, I actually cried a few tears of joy. I just couldn’t believe it! I mean the surface of the wood was like glass. I then spent the next hour just planing and listening to the sound. It sounds really dumb probably, but it brought me such delight!

Thank you all so much for your help!!

-- "You can always turn the crappy side to the wall"--Steve Ramsey

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