handplanes- longer front sole vs. longer rear sole
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- This topic has 8 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 4 months ago by jmahoney.
30 January 2015 at 12:53 am #124076
hi everyone! Im new here, my 1st post. 😀 i come from ljubljana, slovenia.
two words about me: I’m still kinda freshman in woodworking. anyhow, the feel of sharpening has really struck me.
So, I wonder about the two different approach in construction design (see attachment). to my logical sense, the japanese version seems a bit more logical.
what are your thoughts?
But first, coffee! 😀30 January 2015 at 2:08 am #124081
I’ve noticed that some of the Japanese tools are designed to be used on the pull stroke where the same tools are used on the push stroke in Western tools. Saws and planes are two good examples.
Now I know very little about Japanese tools but perhaps that has resulted in the design differences you noticed.
Come to think of it a lot of the videos I’ve seen of Japanese craftsmen have them working while seated on the floor which serves as their bench. A longer front would mean you could get the plane iron further from you while seated.
Hubert, NC30 January 2015 at 11:28 am #124101
I have also often wondered about this question, so would be interested to hear an authoritative answer. My best guess is that it’s a push-vs-pull ergonomics thing, but independent of this there may be advantages to registering the plane to the surface in front of or behind the blade that I’m not aware of.
Southampton, UK1 February 2015 at 12:56 am #124170
Thanks Matthew and John for your replies. They both make sense. however, I want to go even deeper here- I feel this intense wish to really understand what happens while planing. Take a look at the attached picture.
a.) the plane starts
b., c., d.) the “continuing” of the initial direction- the movement we get on a tuned power jointer.
e.) the movement we actually get- it is slightly different from b. c. d.;
When we start moving, the angle of the blade starts to change immediatelly until we reach the point where the whole sole of the plane is in touch with the wood. then the angle stays the same (but different from the initial angle) This happens because of our downwards pushing at the rear “handle” part of the plane.
So, i am interested in knowing whether my sketch e.) is true, and how come this effect doesnt seem to be a problem. i really wonder.
(p.s. Is it anyhow connected to the japanese reason for a longer front sole- well, the longer front sole sure helps you to have a great reference surface at the front part, not having to change the angle- BUT when you come to the end of the piece you re planing you get the same effect. so i doubt it is connected.)
But first, coffee! 😀
I’m no expert on hand planes, but I think things may be happening on a smaller scale than you are thinking about. When you think about the small amount that a plane iron extends from the sole, the deviations from flat that a real world plane sole would exhibit (even if flatten on diamond plates or float glass), flex in the cast iron plane, and flex in the wood, I think that the geometry is probably not so simple. Given that both plane designs work, the differences in design, may be insignificant compared to how the planes are held by the person using them.1 February 2015 at 9:34 am #124181
Well, Dwaugh, yes, i forgot to admit I had over exxagerated like TOTALLY, in all aspects. 😀
well, still, I’m happy I posted this. It’s one of those moments, that you learn something, when you ask it, (and draw) , you see your question and understand the answer. 🙂 Thanks for your answer.
But first, coffee! 😀
I was kind of wondering the same thing after seeing japanese style planes. It would seem having the longer toe would help, at least until the point where there is less and less surface to register the plane against. After which i would assume you’d start dragging the iron down and putting a curve in the end of the material. In reference to you illustration I haven’t seen a plane with the iron set that far forward in relation to the length of the sole.
Perhaps I'm Just Over Eager, Better to Curb the Enthusiasm5 February 2015 at 10:41 am #124391
lol well, its just a sketch that emphasizes the phenomena. 🙂 😀
But first, coffee! 😀
Indeed. The proof is in the pudding as they say. After all a plane will never shave without two hands to guide it. The theory of how they work may be contradictory to logic if you delve into it too far. Iron in front, iron in back, in either case the amount of material removed is negligible, a few hundredth of an inch at the most. Wood working, to me, is organic as both the maker and the material are or once living things, and thus have their own imperfections. I guess you could say its not the quality of the tool, how true its angles are on this axis or that, but the hands guiding it, the skill of the user. We are after all, not machines.
Also, i was thinking a plane meant to be used by pulling may be more prone to a chattering iron, but i know nothing of eastern technique either…
Perhaps I'm Just Over Eager, Better to Curb the Enthusiasm
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