Flat sole smoothing plane

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    Yes, the paper, or any sharpening abrasive, works better when it’s unclogged. That’s why I recommend lapping the sole wet — it’s much closer to cleaning your dry paper after every stroke. You’d have been finished long ago 😉 j/k

    As for continuing, it depends on how bad that area behind the mouth actually is. I can’t get a sense of it from the picture. Are we talking something really deep, like 20 thou? And how large is the affected area? Is it just a 1mm x 1mm area, or is it half of the mouth, stretching back a full cm?

    If it’s still really bad, the plane might not be realistically salvageable*. I was speaking with the owner of Evenfall Studios, a toolmaker here in the USA, and he says it is very possible to remove too much material from the sole, weakening the plane. The sides are also sensitive to the removal of too much material. Even a new plane will flex to a certain degree under load, that’s why Clifton never puts more than 12 lbs of down-force on their planes when lapping the soles. Weaken the sole sufficiently, and it’ll flex too much + too often, and even if the sole is perfectly flat, the force of using it will bend it out of flat, negating it’s purpose.

    Don’t need anything special to round off the sharp edges, just use the same abrasive you’re using to flatten the sole.

    * — salvageable as a smoother. You could always make it a roughing plane, super cambered blade, removing big chunks of material early in the flattening process.

    Joris Kempen

    I think it’s solvable!

    Maybe it’s my bad English but what you exactly mean by keep lapping the sole wet?

    Spray water on sole of plane or?


    Maybe I’m causing the confusion. In English, when you polish or flatten something using a tool specifically intended to polish or flatten, that’s often called lapping. The tool used to flatten or polish is sometimes called a lap. Like sanding, lapping can be done wet or dry.

    When I said “lapping the sole wet” I just meant wet sanding (as opposed to lapping the sole dry, which is kind of what you’re doing).

    Philip Adams

    Hi Joris,

    If you put on lines with a marker near the mouth, are they rubbed off when you lap/sand the sole? If so, I would say you’re good to go.

    Concerning the deeper nicks around the mouth, you may have to carefully sand just at the edge of the mouth. I would probably do this with the iron removed so you can get right in the mouth. The aim is to make sure the edge of the mouth doesn’t have any rough bits that can mark the wood when planing. Take care not to take too much off.

    Looks like you’re almost there!

    I work alongside Paul to plan and produce the videos for Woodworking Masterclasses

    Joris Kempen

    Legt this mark on the sole and its planning fine to my idea. Baby silk wood when setting it up after sharpening.

    Also took 30 minutes to get the blade square after my intial hand sharpening made it wrong.

    Seems now I’m sharpening by hand and it keeps square.

    But get baby silk surface but doing the paper test it seems i’m still not sharp enough. I feel a bur and remove it after being on the strop.
    So should I sharpen better or just continue working on project and hope to get better when future progresses?


    Hello guys,

    I want to pick this theme up once again. I am in the process of refurbishing my 4 1/2 Stanley plane. I flattened the sole to some degree, but I´m unsure now if it is good to go now or if it needs some more attention.

    In the picture you can see directly over the mouth there is some tiny space thats not shiny, probably 2mm thick and covers nearly the half mouth-length. As far as my knowledge goes the mouth has to be flat but is this “flat enough”.
    I know this obsession with flatness is something that people annoyes very much but this is my very first handplane and my first attempt to flattening the sole.


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