Tuning a plane - lessons from Spokeshave

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Hoff Stuart

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Feb 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/14/99
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John Gunterman (alias Spokeshave) has mentioned he would be willing to
have a class on tuning a handplane (in southern New Hampshire). I have
expressed interest and thought many people might not have seen his
notice because it was under another thread. If you are interested reply
to this message or drop a line to myself or John at
spoke...@mediaone.net. Everybody who took his spokeshave class knows
what a great guy he is to be helping people like this (I assume there
will a small fee also). Budding Neanderthals, Unite!

John, hope you don't mind me putting up this message.

Hoff Stuart

Spokeshave

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Feb 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/15/99
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Hoff Stuart wrote:
>
> John Gunterman (alias Spokeshave) has mentioned he would be willing to
> have a class on tuning a handplane (in southern New Hampshire).

quite right.... this will be a _small_ class offering (at first) to check the
viability of the idea and to work ot the kinks.....

people will be requires to bring a old (nice) but sadly neglected plan, and a
peice of plate-glass... I'll supply the SS paper and the workbenches and instruction.

> Everybody who took his spokeshave class knows
> what a great guy he is to be helping people like this

awe shucks <blush>
I'm just trying to make the journey easier for those who wish to learn..Mostly
'cause I wished I had someone to show me how when I was learning... that's all...

> (I assume there will a small fee also).

yeah a small one... nothing major though.... a coupla dolarsd for the SS
supplies, etc.
I might put ya to work though helping me move some heavy benches, etc.


--
John A. Gunterman... Horse shoeing for cash only.

Visit the New Apprentice Neanderthal Page at:
http://people.ne.mediaone.net/spokeshave/A_N.HTM

Paul Glass

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Feb 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/15/99
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Spokeshave wrote in message
<snip>

>people will be requires to bring a old (nice) but sadly neglected plan, and
a


Whats a 'sadly neglected plan'
Is it that project you always promised to start and never did ??

Eric Jacobson

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Feb 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/15/99
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Spokeshave wrote:
>
> Hoff Stuart wrote:
> >
> > John Gunterman (alias Spokeshave) has mentioned he would be willing to
> > have a class on tuning a handplane (in southern New Hampshire).
>
> quite right.... this will be a _small_ class offering (at first) to check the
> viability of the idea and to work ot the kinks.....
>
> people will be requires to bring a old (nice) but sadly neglected plan,

[snip]

I assume that the reasons for this condition are many, including
interest, potential rewards, and numbers of problems to address.
On the other hand, I'd think there would be considerable value in
addressing issues associated with newer or not as nice or not as
neglected planes as well:

(1) The next generation's supply of sadly neglected planes might be
dramatically reduced by proper initial tuning and ongoing maintenance
of new planes (I know,
they just don't make 'em like they used to, but see below).

(2) Learning how to get the most out of lower quality tools would
help those who through ignorance or budget constraints
already have some.

(3) Finding the limits of lower quality tools by making the most of
them and then being able to compare to what you can do with a better
one would seem far more educational than just ignoring anything
without the right pedigree.

(4) Knowing when something does not need fixing would be a useful
skill, too.

(5) A small amount of hands-on instruction in how to use the planes
in question might go a long way toward helping some of us (me anyway)
understand the need and effects of tuning, and especially how to
differentiate between a bad plane and bad technique.

Maybe more than one kind of class is in order.

Maybe your interest is limited to nice old planes (and I certainly
could respect that), but I would think that the expertise gained
from that area of interest could be quite useful to the more general
case. It comes down to what you want to teach, I suppose....

Eric

Spokeshave

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Feb 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/16/99
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Eric Jacobson wrote:
through ignorance or budget constraints
> already have some.
>
> (3) Finding the limits of lower quality tools by making the most of
> them and then being able to compare to what you can do with a better
> one would seem far more educational than just ignoring anything
> without the right pedigree.

well yes this is tru..
but fo the most part, this is only real way I can assure that all teh work we
do will be rewarded by a correctly performing plane at the end of the day.
Using a new Record Or Stanley, could very easily consume the entire day tuning
and fiddling and it still may never work.
I have seen _new_ casting so badly warped twisted bowed or cupped that there
would be veryt little sole left if any after flattening.


> (4) Knowing when something does not need fixing would be a useful
> skill, too.

sure.

> (5) A small amount of hands-on instruction in how to use the planes
> in question might go a long way toward helping some of us (me anyway)
> understand the need and effects of tuning, and especially how to
> differentiate between a bad plane and bad technique.


absolutely!
The FRIST step in tuning is evaluation... IOW USING the plane and making sure
it needs tuning.
and I will most certainly cover that.

> Maybe more than one kind of class is in order.

or maybe a few subjects in one day that all interrelate to one annother.


> Maybe your interest is limited to nice old planes

not entirely. I have plenty of L-N's planes ;-)

>It comes down to what you want to teach, I suppose....

Well it comes down to what I need to teach.

In all my classes I evalute the student to find out twhat skills they need to
learn or practice
and concentrate on those area's.... I am of the opinion that it is nots
important to "finish" the class as it is to have all the particiapants truly
understand how and why did did the things that we did cover... make sense?


But I guess the long and short of it is that if you wanna bring an new Record
or Stanley instead of an old one. feel free to do so..


BTW, for anybody interested in trying this out, go ahead and drop me a line
and we'll make arrangements to get together at my shop in Hooksett, NH w/
annother person (Hoff) or two and make a go at it..... still nobody beside him
has expressed an interest, so .........


--

Tom Lewis

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Feb 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/16/99
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What about those of us that are no where near NH. How 'bout a FAQ or
even better video tape the class.

Tom

On Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:27:47 -0500, Hoff Stuart
<hhst...@ma.ultranet.com> wrote:

>
>John Gunterman (alias Spokeshave) has mentioned he would be willing to

>have a class on tuning a handplane (in southern New Hampshire). I have
>expressed interest and thought many people might not have seen his
>notice because it was under another thread. If you are interested reply
>to this message or drop a line to myself or John at
>spoke...@mediaone.net. Everybody who took his spokeshave class knows
>what a great guy he is to be helping people like this (I assume there
>will a small fee also). Budding Neanderthals, Unite!
>
>John, hope you don't mind me putting up this message.
>
>Hoff Stuart

Tom Lewis

Spokeshave

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Feb 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/17/99
to
> What about those of us that are no where near NH. How 'bout a FAQ


you asked for it!


Tuning a hand plane.

When you bring you latest $20.00 yard sale #4 into the house and set it
down on some newspaper and marvel to yourself how someone could let such a
potentially fine tool languish in neglect for so long. Luckily you have the
knowledge to revive this basket case and after several hours of attention,
it could leave a perfect, finish ready, surface in curly maple and produce
shaving so thin they have only one side, and they float upward when release
from your hands.

The first thing you should do is try your plane in it's "as found" state.
Chuck up a hunk of wood in the vise and try and take a swipe.... How does
it cut?
Could it cut better? Sure! Let's make it so.

The first and most important thing that needs attention is the part that
does the cutting, the Iron. Release the lever cap and remove it and set it
aside.
Remove the cutter assembly, On most all bench planes it is a two piece
assembly consisting of an iron and a chip breaker iron.

Now you are going to separate the two. But, before we do, lets take a
moment to talk about shop safety......Be sure to read understand and follow
all the ..... <insert legal shit here>.. and remember this, there is no
more important rule that to NEVER do this, use your lever cap as a
screwdriver! Now lets get started on today's project....

Remove the chip breaker and set it aside.
Look at the back of the iron, has it been flattened before?
No. Too bad for us.... take a good look and check for pitting (rust that
has gone below the surface) is there any pits to speak of near the cutting
edge? Yes? Deep? Call Ron Hock.
wait a week for a replacement blade, then continue...
If the back is unpitted, (or you got a new blade) the first thing we need
to do is lap is __flat__ or at least the inch or two nearest the cutting
edge, below the keyhole slot.

This is very important as this is really the edge that does all the
cutting, if it not as flat as possible it cannot cut as well as possible.
There are many schools of though about removing metal to produce cutting
edges, This is not the place for that discussion, use your method of
choice. Lap it flat and polish through successive grits till you can count
nose hairs in the refelction. Stop.

We need a break from this hardened steel, lets turn our attention to the
chip breaker.
First hold it up to the iron in it's natural position and look at the joint
between the two. Are there gaps in it? How about the amount of "spring" in
the arch of it?.. Does really clamp down well when you snug the screw up?
Could you twist the two apart by hand w/ the screw as tight as you can get
it?
We'll put some spring back into the cap. I do this by placing the arch of
the cap over a 3/4" dowel and beating on it with a urethane faced mallet.
Don't worry, this is not hardened steel, it will hadle it well... Okay now
check how it mates w/ the iron... Using a file, fettle the leading edge so
that they two meet at the tightest angle and the passing chip cannot get
snagged in the union of the two.... also polish the face of the curve all
the way to the top of the curve so that the chips just _glide_ right over.

Next were going to work on the ..... anybody, anybody, Bueller?
What's that? The bevel? Wrong! It's bezel and no, we are going to work on
the side opposite the "back" which we'll call the front, even though that
is wrong because it really IS the back of the iron, the part that bears on
the bed of the frog, but since I've never really heard it addressed by
anybody before...we'll stick to that and call this "the other side from the
back" naaahh... "the front".

Start lapping and get it flat, the flatter it is the better it will bed and
the less likely it will be to bind when adjusting or chatter when planing.
Just get it flat.. it does not need the nose hair count test, but needs to
be flat. okay. That will do for today.

The next thing is the bezel... the intersecting slope cut on an angle
between the face and the back, that which will be the back side of the
cutting edge, if you will.
Look at it.. can you might be able to tell how many times it has been
sharpened by the number of facets on the face?-) We're going to get us a
good square true bezel again I like to use a wheel grinder here because it
will remove a lot of material fairly quickly (but you can burn an edge if
not careful) also it will create a hollow grind which is easier to sharpen
and maintain between grindings. Here I'll turn to a 10" slow speed
Horizontal wet grinder. But use whatever means you have and grind a new
bezel so that it is one continuos face from end to end, and square across
the width.

Now sharpen the leading edge thought successively finer grits until the
leading edge is polished and it the blade is sharp, if you go through your
last few finer grits "freehand" and swing the blade back and forth in an
arc, you will naturally induce a slight crown to the cutting edge.
Otherwise just dub the corners, if you don't do anything, your corners are
going to leave ridges in the work surface.. Now strop off the wire edge
and lightly wax the entire blade to protect from rust. Rust is the enemy!

Replace the chip breaker, setting to from 1/32 to 1/16 back form the edge
and place the blade back in the plane adjust as necessary and take a test
cut. Does it work better? I sure hope so, we just did a lot of work! Can it
work better? I'm sure of it.

How wide is the mouth opening? What do you mean mouth opening? OH... The
gap between the leading edge of the blade and the trailing edge of the
front of the mouth.
For a smooth plane you really want to close it down to be no more open that
necessary to pass the chip the blade is cutting. Take the blade back out
and release the frog attachment screws and remove the frog... is there
years of accumulated shavings packed underneath rotting away? I thought
so.. Remember that, and clean it out every once in a while, okay?
Put the frog back in but don't tighten the set screws all the way, put the
blade back in and the lever cap back in place... slide the frog foreword
till the mouth is about twice as thick as the shaving you intend to
take.... I shoot for about 5Thou for a finely tuned smooth plane... hold
the frog in place and carefully remove the blade and tighten the screws
securely. Replace the blade and try the plane again? How's that working now?
This is about as good as your going to get without some serious work....
ask yourself now "is this acceptable?"

To get any increased performance you _might_ get out of the plane it will
require working of the castings. To assure the sole is flat and the frog
mates well and the like.

Back at the bench with your plane and ready to do some serious work?...
Well, take a break and go get a precision ground straight-edge.. One longer
than your planes sole, and while you are out get a sheet of 3/8" or better
plate glass at least twice as wide as your widest plane and 3 times as
long... oh and as long as you are out, pick up a sheet of 3/4" Birch
plywood and some 1x stock some glue and screws.

While you are working on getting your flattening jig built (while the glue
dries) you should take some time to remove and inspect the frog.
Take it out and look at how it connects to the casting of the plane..
there are machined surfaces on the bottom of the frog and the frog receiver
in the casting of the plane...
These machined surfaces should mate well to provide a solid connection...
You may need to do some work w/ small files to get them to mate well...
take your time and pay attention. It is not much work, so take care, and do
it right. Also lap the bed of the frog (where the blade rests) out flat..
Remember how you lapped the face of the iron? You want to do the same thing
to the surface it bears on..

When These are done re-assemble the plane and re-adjust everything and
take it for a spin. this is a about as good as you are going to get without
some serious work. The flattening process is a PITA and will test your
resolve! are you really SURE you want to do this? okay, lets rock.


First check to see if the planes sole is flat.
How flat? well, "flat enough" in the right areas.
You want the toe and heel of the plane to be in the same plane as the area
in front of and behind the mouth, especially the front.

Hold your straight edge to the sole and hold the plane up between you and a
light source and look for any gaps of light between the two. move it around
really look well. doe s the sole really NEED flattening?

Well, before we do that lets work on your flattening bench/jig.
to make a planes sole flat you need a flat surface to work on. If the
surface is convex or concave, your planes sole will be the inverse.. So you
want a surface as flat as is prudent. Now ,I don't expect everybody to have
access to a 3 foot long Granite surface plate, and it REALLY makes a awful
mess!
Plate glass alone will not do the trick.....
if is sits on a surface that is not flat, it _will_ distort.....

So to solve both problems I built a simple torsion box-based jig to create
a flat surface and hold the sheet of glass. You know what a torsion box is
right? Okay make one that is twice slightly bigger than you plate of glass.
now fasten battens to the top of the box so as to hold the glass in place
while lapping an "L" forming a corner to the outside left corner for a
right handed lapper. also it needs to be just a tad lower that the top of
the glass... you would not want to run into it w/ the plane, would you?-)
then screw it to your bench.

Now take a long strip of Aluminum Oxide (Norton Blue) sandpaper (you can
buy it in rolls) and glue it to the glass. Retract the blade and set the
plane on the paper and rub back and forts gently a few times in long fluid
strokes the length of the paper (which is at least 3x the length of the
plane, right?)
Flip the plane over and look at the sole.
If it was discolored or rusty to begin with you should easily see where the
high and low spots are.. the high spots a are where the metal is fresh and
shiny, the low spots are the dirty stuff...
Okay now you know what we need to do ... make the sole of the plane flat.
Get a pitcher if Iced Tea and get busy.

After a while stop and clear the paper of the iron dust w/ a shop vac.
back to lapping.. checking regularly w/ the straight-edge.
When it is flat enough, you will know.
Now it's time to polish the sole through successively finer grit of paper.
it will take on a fine polish at about 600 grit. and going beyond this is
simple folly.


> even better video tape the class.

that could be aranged as well....
Be carefull of what you wish for, you just might get it ;-)

garyws...@worldnet.att.net

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Feb 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/17/99
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Hi,

Great!

Regards and God Speed,

Gary

Gary W. Sandvik
garyws...@att.net
309-676-0224 (fax)

Spokeshave wrote in message <36CAAACE...@mediaone.net>...

Robert Schmall

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Feb 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/17/99
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Spoke:
How did you know I was working on my very own $20 rummage #3 this afternoon?
(true fact) Thanks for a very informative post, and keep us alert on the video.
Bob

Bruce

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Feb 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/17/99
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On Wed, 17 Feb 1999 06:41:01 -0500, Spokeshave
<spoke...@mediaone.net> wrote:

<<SNIP>>

>really look well. doe s the sole really NEED flattening?
>
>Well, before we do that lets work on your flattening bench/jig.
>to make a planes sole flat you need a flat surface to work on. If the
>surface is convex or concave, your planes sole will be the inverse.. So you
>want a surface as flat as is prudent. Now ,I don't expect everybody to have
>access to a 3 foot long Granite surface plate, and it REALLY makes a awful
>mess!
>Plate glass alone will not do the trick.....
>if is sits on a surface that is not flat, it _will_ distort.....
>


Well it's time for a DOUBLE, yes double gloat. (By proxy that is...)
You see I work in a SMALL 4 employee custom cabinet shop. Very well
equipped too I might add! Any way, we DO have a 2' x 3' by 4" thick
granite reference plate on a wheeled cart yet. Gotta love it!!!

Gloat 2...Starting Monday, we'll have a Brand Spanky, 16"Sliding Table
saw with a 10 foot sliding table. YAHOOOO!!!!! I've trying since I got
here to get the boss to invest in one, well now he has!! Now of
course, since I'm the "Old man" of the shop, after the factory
"Indoctrination" I'll be "Schoolin' the young 'uns in the proper care
and feeding of our new toy!!!

Gloat over!!

Spokeshave, that was a mighty fine treatise too!!! I,m keeping a
permanent copy, AND printing it out (With your permission of course)
for the fellows I work with!!

Thanks,

Bruce

diligent

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Feb 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/18/99
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Spokeshave wrote:

> you asked for it!
>
> Tuning a hand plane.

<huge snip>
Thanks John, really timely. I just tore down an old plane I inherited from my
granddad and was wondering what to do with it.

Duane

PS. NH is a little far away from OK for the up close and personal group meeting
but any closer and I might be tempted.


Larry Root

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Feb 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/22/99
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OK -- STUPID question time:

One of the steps in your tuning guide is to lap the frog bed to ensure
that it properly mates with the iron. (How many censor programs will
delete that last sentence?) To do that I will have to punch out the
rivet holding the lateral adjust lever to the frog because the mechanism
stands proud of the surface.

How do I punch it out without risking the cast frog?
Can I reuse the rivet; where can I get a new rivet?

Respectfully,
Larry Root


spoke...@my-dejanews.com

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Feb 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/22/99
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In article <36D159BB...@ccf.nrl.navy.mil>,

Larry Root <LR...@ccf.nrl.navy.mil> wrote:
> OK -- STUPID question time:
>
> One of the steps in your tuning guide is to lap the frog bed to ensure
> that it properly mates with the iron. (How many censor programs will
> delete that last sentence?) To do that I will have to punch out the
> rivet holding the lateral adjust lever to the frog because the mechanism
> stands proud of the surface.


DO NOT remove the lateral adjust lever!!!!!

you can lap the bed by working around it...
you work in three directions..
kinda hard to explain but easy to show.. know what I mean?-)


> How do I punch it out without risking the cast frog?

you cannot.


--
John
Who may not have a clue, and may not have style.
But everything I lack, I make up in denial ;-)

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own

Andrew Barss

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Feb 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/22/99
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The lateral lever attaches at the high end of the frog. Try flattening
the frog below this point only, by holding the bit with the lever off the
stone you're using for lapping.


Larry Root <LR...@ccf.nrl.navy.mil> wrote:
: OK -- STUPID question time:

: One of the steps in your tuning guide is to lap the frog bed to ensure
: that it properly mates with the iron. (How many censor programs will
: delete that last sentence?) To do that I will have to punch out the
: rivet holding the lateral adjust lever to the frog because the mechanism
: stands proud of the surface.

: How do I punch it out without risking the cast frog?
: Can I reuse the rivet; where can I get a new rivet?

: Respectfully,
: Larry Root


--
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Andrew Barss
Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona
Communications 304B, 621-6897
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~barss
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>


Conan The Librarian

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Feb 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/22/99
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In article <7aruld$6ri$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
spoke...@my-dejanews.com writes:

> In article <36D159BB...@ccf.nrl.navy.mil>,


> Larry Root <LR...@ccf.nrl.navy.mil> wrote:
>> OK -- STUPID question time:
>>
>> One of the steps in your tuning guide is to lap the frog bed to ensure
>> that it properly mates with the iron. (How many censor programs will
>> delete that last sentence?) To do that I will have to punch out the
>> rivet holding the lateral adjust lever to the frog because the mechanism
>> stands proud of the surface.
>
>

> DO NOT remove the lateral adjust lever!!!!!
>
> you can lap the bed by working around it...
> you work in three directions..
> kinda hard to explain but easy to show.. know what I mean?-)

You could also use a file on it, no?


Chuck Vance
Woodworking projects at: http://www.swt.edu/~cv01/woodworking.html


spoke...@my-dejanews.com

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Feb 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/22/99
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> >> One of the steps in your tuning guide is to lap the frog bed to ensure
> >> that it properly mates with the iron.

> > DO NOT remove the lateral adjust lever!!!!!

> You could also use a file on it, no?

yes, it is soft metal and will file easily

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