Have you ever removed too much from the sole?

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    Chris Swope

    I bought an old Stanley No. 4 off eBay about a year ago and finally got around to tuning it up. But as I started flattening the sole I noticed it had a really bad bow (about 1/16″) along the long axis (toe to heel). After quite a long time on the sandpaper… I noticed I was starting to wear away the leading edge of my blade… even though it was retracted fully. At this point I almost had the sole completely flat… but after resharpening the blade and making some frog adjustments, even with the blade retracted as far as it will go… it still protrudes enough to take a healthy shaving. Its essentially worthless for any smoothing. Has anyone suffered this problem or have any solutions? Thanks.


    Salko Safic

    This can be common with wooden planes but not so with metal planes, I think you were a little over zealous with yours but it’s not the end of the world. All you need to do is shorten the blade a bit and she’ll be fine again.

    The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK
    (Hand tool only woodworking magazine)


    You didn’t mention how familiar you are with these planes. Apologies if I’m stating the obvious, but I thought add my two-pennies-worth, just in case it helps you.
    I doubt very much whether you’ve removed so much from the sole that you’ve affected it in any way – you’d have virtually no sole left, because blades can usually be retracted quite a few millimeters into the mouth. It sounds to me as though there’s too much blade protruding before you install it.

    Do you have your Chip-Breaker close enough to the tip of your blade? Say, 1/64″ 1-2mm?

    Is your blade bevel down?

    If you’ve refitted the Yoke, is it back-to-front? That’d affect how much you could retract the blade.

    Is it a Stanley blade, or from another manufacturer? Perhaps a longer blade than normal?


    The length of the blade is totally irrelevant, isn’t it? What matters is the distanse from the notch in the chip-breaker that accept the yoke down to the cutting edge. As far as I understand it, you have 3 options:

    1. If possible, move the edge of the chip-breaker closer to the cutting edge.
    2. If 1 is not possible you need to make the chip breaker shorter. Grind down the edge of the chip-breaker to reduce the distance between the notch and the edge.
    3. Maybe the chip breaker is not the correct one for your plane. Replace it with a shorter one.



    I agree, the length of the blade would not normally matter.
    I was just presuming his adjustment might be restricted by the blade & chip-breaker having been designed for a different plane altogether.

    I’m really curious to learn whether someone could actually wear away so much of a plane’s sole that the blade protrudes so far and cannot be retracted any more. I just can’t see that happening, and of course, I wanted to re-assure Chris I think it unlikely he’s done anything to ruin his plane.

    He could re-grind and re-sharpen as you suggest, but I can’t help thinking something more basic might have occurred.

    Do tell us how you’re getting-on Chris.

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