Plane cutting depth issue

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    James Lawford

    I’m getting better at sharpening using tube macro-camber which makes perfect sense and I’m getting the cutting iron nice and sharp on my Silverline #4. (Brought new and works very well, before I was aware of the abundance of second hand quality planes.)

    However, I could use some advice on 2 issues:

    1- When I reassemble the plane, my plane blade depth seems very restricted; I.e I can’t seem to fully retract the blade. I take the lever cap off, fiddle with the depth wheel then it seems better. Should I be setting the depth wheel to a particular setting as I reassemble?

    2- I get gouging on wide boards. Is this purely down to my lateral adjustment or do I need to fettle the cutting edge to round the sides over more? I’ve already taken the corners off and made these rounded, but they can’t be more than 1mm curved.

    Thanks, James

    Richard Senior

    In (1), do you mean the wheel is too stiff or it has insufficient travel?

    In (2), are you sure the blade is gouging the wood and it’s not being caused by debris caught in the mouth or a rough spot on the sole?

    If you turn the plane over on its back and sight down the sole of the plane from the toe, you should be able to see if a sharp corner of the blade is sticking out.

    Stijn Bossuyt

    Hi James,
    you certainly have some unusual issues here. Normally you don’t need to do anything to the depth wheel. I can only come up with 1 possible cause for this depth restriction: the screw where the lever cap is resting on is too tight, causing the lever cap itself to lock down too firmly, in turn making the wheel very difficult to turn. Try slacking this screw a bit.

    As for the gouging, is it at both sides of the blade when you make a pass? If so, your corners need more rounding over. If it’s just one side, you might have a blade that is askew, so the lateral adjuster should take care of that. And if the gouging is more random, it might indeed be caused by debris or an irregularity on the plane itself, like Richard suggests.

    Hope this helps. I recently bought a few Silverline no.4’s as well, out of curiosity. If there are some problems with this particular brand of plane, I should be able to tell you soon.

    James Lawford

    Thanks. The depth wheel is smooth and works well, but it seems to be insufficient travel. Like the iron sits in the wrong place relative to the wheel. It goes back with a bit of playing.

    I’m sure it’s not a debris issue with the gouging. Maybe some more care with latarel adjustment.

    How rounded should I be aiming for with my cutting iron corners?

    Thanks again.

    John Meaney

    Hello James,

    I bought a Silverline #4 and #5 also. The #5 is going need to some major surgery but the #4 works well after some TLC. The following is based on my experience.

    1. The planes had different cap irons and different lengths, which is critical between the cap iron shaped edge and the upper side of the Y adjustment slot. There’s about 3mm in the difference. The cap iron as shown in PS blog has the “CORRECT ANGLE FOR GRINDING” stamped into it and I would say it is the correct length for the plane. However the plane iron was sticking out the bottom of the plane when I got it and I have removed about 5mm so far and it is adjusting well. If you’re using it as a Jack plane, rough everyday use, a 1mm camber should be ok, maybe a little big, I just measures mine at 0.8mm, but take the edges almost to the corners of the cap iron when lining up. (normally its more for a smoothing camber). You will need a smaller camber maybe 0.2mm for smoothing. I tried a Stanley iron cap from my e-bay promised perfect clunker and it didn’t work with the Silverline #4 but the blade does.

    2.You need to work on the cap iron and plane iron so they sit flush. I found these three rants

    very good on setting up cutting iron for tearout and it may take a while to get right if its you’re fist time doing it. If you’re still getting crinkly, wavy shavings you may have to back off the cap iron first and then the frog a little to open the mouth until it disappears – the shaving is getting crushed basically it clogs up the throat causing tear out.

    Keep us updated, stay focused, etc

    John Meaney

    Anything I make will be better next time.


    Paul has a youtube video on setting up hand planes

    Good luck

    Ontario, Canada

    Steve Giles

    10:50 in the video made me laugh when I remembered regularly being told off in school for not laying a plane down on its side. Even now I can hardly bring myself to lay a plane down on its blade. I think it’s too late for me to change now!

    James Lawford

    Thanks for the videos. I’ve seen them before but never really had real life issues to apply to them and gain a real understanding of what’s going on here.

    After watching and learning, I think my cap iron is too far off the cutting edge, I need to get a bit more of a smooth camber to the blade as the corners look a bit suspect, and take more care with my lateral adjustment setting.

    Furthermore, although I have already done some work to the cap iron contact point, it’s still not square so it may be time to break out a more aggressive stone and sort that issue out to give even pressure over the whole width of the blade.

    I can see the advantages of used planes where everything is much more bedded in. But with some work there really is no reason why the Silverline shouldn’t be a great plane.

    Thanks again all! Back to the bench (which is nearly finished, and planing the top is how I discovered these issues on a much wider board than I’ve worked over before).

    Steve Giles

    This thread has come at the perfect time for me. I was planing my (nascent) workbench top yesterday and getting huge chunks of tear-out near to every knot. In my ignorance, I didn’t even know if this tear-out was avoidable or not.

    Thanks to the above videos I now know what can be done to avoid tear-out and will be trying it next time I plane (resting my dodgy back today though).

    James Lawford


    Since my questions, and watching the videos and pondering more about the mechanics of planing, the situation is much better.

    I picked up a rusty Stanley No. 3 for £9.99 on eBay and had a great time cleaning it. I thought it was a No. 4 as there was no description at all, but I’m really enjoying the smaller size even though I’m 6ft tall.

    Worked on my sharpening, then last week picked up some inexpensive diamond plates (Ultex) which came recommended on another forum. Turns out my sharp wasn’t that sharp after all before.

    Worked on my camber and edge round off, and the
    plane is now working brilliantly. Small track line, so I reset the lateral adjustments, and I’ve now just replaned the whole of my workbench top with no defects.

    Foolishly I was also working on some hard maple when I had my issues, one piece got messed up, but I’ve got rid of all the marks apart from some tear out where the grain goes bonkers, and which was present before my plane revelation.

    Thanks again for all the advice! Silverline No. 4 is going to become a scrub plane I think and I’ll pick up a No. 4 1/2 for smoothing to complement the No. 3 on smaller pieces and edges. Does that sound reasonable?

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