Can I straighten Warped Plane Iron?
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Tagged: plane irons, planes, warped iron
- This topic has 10 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 4 years ago by Phillip Andrews.
I bought a wooden bodied jack plane, a Sargent 609 (Under the Kenewa name). The wooden body is in great condition and I thought the iron was too, until I tightened the cap iron to the iron. Before tightening, the cap iron makes contact with the iron just fine, but when I tighten the cap iron, it lifts away from the iron on one side by a good bit. The iron is curved from top to bottom, but I doubt that is a problem. The real problem seems to be that it is also twisted. Can this be fixed by someone without any metal working skills? I have tried putting a shim between the cap iron and the iron on one side. That sorta works, but not great.
The iron is pretty heavy duty Cast Steel. It is 8 inches long, 2 1/4 wide, and is very thick at the cutting edge, though it tapers a lot by the top. Thanks12 March 2019 at 4:47 am #555508
You aren’t clear. Is the plane iron warped, or is it the cap iron that is warped?
Lay each down on a flat surface and take a picture.
Also try and determine if the plane iron is laminated or not. A laminated iron will be pretty soft after the first 2” or so and will be easy to bend.
Put the iron in vinegar for a couple hours. Besides cleaning any rust, it will color the tool steel and the iron differently and show you if it is laminated.
And it could be that the problem might be fixed by bending or grinding the cap iron to match. Cap irons are usually softer. Without a picture, it’s pretty hard to help diagnose.
- This reply was modified 4 years ago by Larry Geib.
Sorry, it is the plane iron that is warped. The cap iron is okay. If I lay the plane iron down on its back, it rocks in just the same way a twisted board does. It is night now in the Rocky Mountain West of the U. S. In the morning, I will put the plane iron in vinegar to see if that shows lamination as you suggest. Thanks for that suggestion. I had never heard of vinegar being used for that purpose.12 March 2019 at 7:56 am #555511
Any weak acid willslightly etch iron. It’s just a way to see the lamination better if there is one. And vinegar is about the mildest.
Good rust remover, too.
Thanks for that information. The blade is laminated and does show a color change after the vinegar. The laminated bit is clearly visible as a thin piece of metal on the back of the blade. It extends about two inches in from the cutting edge. Actually, the lamination was always clearly visible as a sloppy line. I originally thought it was just a defect and did not realize it was just a sloppy lamination line. I attached a picture showing the twist. You can see the right corner of the cutting edge is on the table but the left side is raised. The laminated part itself seems pretty good. The twist begins just past the lamination point, in the softer metal. Unfortunately, the screw is just behind the lamination edge so, when I tighten it down, it engages the twist and pulls one corner of the blade away from the cap iron.
So can thus be fixed without any special metal working tools? Can it just be bashed with a hammer on a bench top or on another piece of metal? I could take it to a blacksmith, but I suspect that would cost way more than the iron is worth! Any advice is much appreciated.12 March 2019 at 7:31 pm #555519
Ok, this is generally good news.
As long as you stay away from the tool steel lamination area, you should be able to bend back the iron to a flat configuration. You should be able to do it cold so you don’t worry about ruining the temper.
Iron is pretty soft, unlike the steel.
No guarantees, of course, but you should be able to either hammer or twist the iron back into shape.
Paul has, as it turns out, already addressed this with Stanley irons.
He seems to think that the lever cap ( wedge in your case) will bring things true sometimes.
Other times, judicious use of a mallet are required. I’d stay away from the laminated part.
But the iron portion is often pretty soft. Either twisting it a bit ( puts the steel part in a vise) or sometimes inducing a crown in either iron or cap with bring the cap and cutter together when you screw them tight.
There is risk involved if you overdo it, so start gently.i did crack one once.12 March 2019 at 7:53 pm #555520
One other thing. When sharpening, you might want to look into the Charlesworth “ruler trick” as a means to avoid having to polish a large section of the back.
Thanks @lorenzojose for your advice. I have had some success straightening the plane iron by putting it in a vice and hitting it with a hammer. I got a good bit more from reshaping the cap iron a bit by striking it the same way. It needs more work, but the gap between the cap iron and the plane iron is mostly gone. I am going slowly since I do not want to overcorrect. When I do get a nice tight fit, I will test it in the plane and report back. I have seen Paul’s video on removing a belly from a plane iron and Charlesworth’s ruler trick.
This is my first plane blade with laminated steel and it got me curious. For those interested, I found an episode of the Woodwrights Shop where Roy Unbderhill has a guest demonstrating the making of a plane iron by welding a piece of tool steel to wrought iron. They also sometimes welded the tool steel to mild steel instead of wrought iron.21 March 2019 at 10:45 pm #555638
If all of the above fails and the iron is not restorable ( I have a Stanley #7 iron that is beyond help); where would you go to get the best replacement iron?
You can get replacement blades fort old Stanley planes on ebay. They sell all sorts of plane parts there. (I once bought a frog for a Sargent plane on ebay.) Also, Hock makes pretty good replacement blades in O1 and A2 steel. I bought a blade there for a wooden plane I made. They are a bit pricey, probably around $40 for a #7 replacement, and I think they are thicker than conventional blades, if that matters.22 March 2019 at 8:14 pm #555650
Thanks, Sanford. I looked and indeed they are over $40. Looks like you need a new chip breaker as well to the tune of over $70. I am going to go back and try to rework the one that I thought was unrestorable. It now looks pretty good.
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