I have a problem where after sharpening and setting up my plane to take just the right cut, it will work properly for a short time, then the blade will just ride on top of the wood, not cutting at all. I have to keep readjusting to get the same shavings. I don’t think it’s the tool, because the same thing happens with both my #4-1/2 and #5 planes. I was suspecting that I had the cap screw too loose, but I tightened it up, and it still happens. I’m working mostly with ash. Any suggestions would be welcome.
After adjusting, turn the depth adjuster back is it is tight in the position pushing the blade forward. Always make sure it is in the forward position to account for screw backlash. Also on some planes, you have to tighten the hold down screw on the lever cap a little more after you have clicked the cam lever down. Down’t over do it, you should still be able to adjust the plane.
Just my experience. Others may have better ideas.
Could it be that your blades aren’t really sharp? Sometimes you may get a burr, and the blade feels sharp, but as soon as it breaks off, the blade is dull again.
I just noticed you mentioned working in ash. Is it kiln dried? I read somewhere that it could be difficult to work with hand tools, although I haven’t tried it myself.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Nikolaj Thøgersen.
as @patchedupdemon said, almost certainly the highest point on the bevel-angle to the cutting tip exceeding the bed angle of the plane.
It’s usually caused inadvertently by a repeated accumulation of sharpening secondary bevels on sharpening guides, each one rising minutely in order to achieve a burr on the back. If you examine the bevel angel of the plane with a 45 degree try square, it is probably convex in shape. Look at the angle from the cutting tip to the highest point on the bevel – you may need a 10x Loupe for this (cheap enough and very useful in the workshop).
The symptoms are that the plane sets as usual then advancing the blade, it takes a couple of shavings and stops cutting as it rides on the high-point; advance again until the cutting tip contacts the wood and the whole thing repeats until it stops.
The solution is to re-grind straight across to about 25 degrees and maintain that angle in repeated sharpens.
Thank you for your suggestions thus far. I will take all things into consideration. I am using planes and irons that my son picked up in a box of stuff at an auction. Both are Stanley. I will start by sharpening once again with a guide at the 25 and 30 degree settings. I sharpen using a 1200 diamond plate, and then home with 3M sheets on glass, usually 8000 and 16000. I’ll retract the iron, then go forward with the adjustment, so that the adjustment will be pushing down when I reach the desired setting. Then I’ll make it a point to tighten down the cap screw, to see if I can get more than a few minutes of cutting. The ash I am using are from dead trees that my son cut down, and sawed into boards on his sawmill. They have been air drying for about a year. In my opinion, it is not awesome lumber, like Paul uses, or like you would find at a hardwood dealer. I have to go through a lot of wood to find good boards. But I can’t beat the price. 🙂
160000? A bit of overkill, if you don’t mind me saying.
You could probably go from 1200 grit or equivalent to a loaded strop, 20 or 30 good strokes, and still cut Ash quite well.
One tip if you are using abrasive paper, always pull the blade toward you, don’t push it. The reason is that even with securely stuck paper all over its surface, there will be a microscopic amount of compression in the paper ahead of the blade when you push it which rides up in front and rounds over the cutting edge. This may contribute to your problem. Don’t forget the back. You’re aiming for a thin, even wire along the entire cutting edge to strop down.
One other thing that you may consider checking, as its a ‘used’ plane, is the flatness-quality of the base.
This is something that you can use abrasive paper for. Draw a hatch pattern over the sole with a box-marker and inspect it after a few even strokes on a dead-flat mild abrasive paper. You should see even wear (you probably won’t though). What you are looking specifically for is even wear marks on the metal area – about 1/4 inch wide- immediately surrounding the mouth – don’t worry about the rest of it for the time being. If this ring of iron is not in good clean contact with the wood, your cut is immediately compromised.
As others have expressed, if you angle is greater or equal to about 40° at the very tip of the blade, you will have no relief angle.
Without a relief angle, the bevel will skate on the wood without biting.
Why 40 and not 45°? to take into account possible flexing of the metal plane.
Paul has blogs about relief angle and flexing.
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