Reply To: Stanley #5, flattening plane sole problem

Larry Geib

Third guy with Dave. If you want to restore the mouth and not just flatten the sole, 120 grit is pretty fine to remove metal quickly. Don’t be bashful.

I even opened up a 36 grit sanding belt a floor sander gave me to flatten a #7 that warped when I had it welded. ( they chuck them still pretty fresh) . That thing was like using a rasp 🙂 But with a smaller plane like a #5 , 60 grit is a good place to start. Even at that, it’s a bit of work. Play music.

when you step up in grits after its flat it doesn’t take long at each grit to remove the scratch marks from the previous grit. How fine you go is aesthetics, not function, after 120 -150 grit or so. Use will quickly put scratches back.

Of course, if all you are going to use it for is a Scrub or fore plane with a wide mouth anyway, all the work isn’t necessary, and even with finer cuts, a really sharp iron and finer cuts makes up for a lot of mouth issues.
But a #5 you can use also as a panel smoother broadens your inventory . The finer cuts go better with a tighter mouth, especially at the ends of boards.

If you can’t seem to quite get all the nicks in front of the mouth out, consider opening up the mouth a little and moving the frog forward. There is usually enough movement with the frog to allow some of that. The stuff right in back of the mouth doesn’t matter. It’s fussy work to get a well shaped mouth, though. Make sure the iron is in top form so you have something to test your filing to. Go slow and test often. Cast iron files quickly.