Welcome! / Forums / General Woodworking Discussions / Tools and Tool Maintenance/Restoration / Plane problems
- This topic has 8 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 11 months, 3 weeks ago by amgrima.
23 March 2022 at 11:24 pm #753454
I am struggling with my plane. Its an older Craftsman and it just created sawdust not the nice fine shavings we all would like. I have followed Paul’s sharpening videos and the plane iron is sharp and has a polished edge at 25 degrees. I mount the iron bevel side down, but I still don’t get the shavings. In fact the throat becomes clogged with the saw dust and it even works its way under the Cap Iron and I have to completely disassemble the plane to clean it out. I most obviously am doing something wrong either with my technique or the way I am setting up the plane.
Anyone have any suggestions?
How far is the chip breaker from the blade?
Try pulling it back a bit (say 3-5 mm). See if that makes a difference.
Next, flatten the underside of the chip breaker and the back of the iron so the two faces meet tightly together. Hold it up to a light once you have the two clamped together, there should be no light showing.
Lastly, polish the top of the chip breaker. It should come to a sharp point and be polished for at least the last 10mm.
I’ll add a useful video link to this thread.
Do what Darren said above and:
1. Verify the blade is sharp. It should be easily able to slice computer paper/newspaper or if you are daring, arm hair.
2. If you use Paul’s method, you introduce a slight convex profile on the blade, the inverse of a hollow grind. Be sure that convexity is not resting on the wood before the sharpened edge of the iron does. If it does, you have too steep an angle on the iron. I did this to myself when I was starting.
3. Be sure that the iron is fully engaging the face of the frog and parallel to the mouth of the plane and doesn’t flex into a curve when you tighten the hold down bracket. This will exacerbate #2. It should be tight enough not to move when planing but loose enough to allow the blade to move with the adjuster.
4. If 1, 2, and 3 fail: Check to see if the plane is flat. Secure the iron in the plane as if you are going to use it, but leave it RETRACTED into the body of the plane. Get a plate of glass or a ceramic tile and place a piece of 150 to 300 grit sandpaper on it, abrasive up. Get a sharpie (permanent black marker) and draw some cross-marks about 3/4″ apart in a grid pattern on the whole plane bottom. Gently rub the bottom of the plane across the paper. The inked areas left behind are the low areas. Low areas are problematic at the front and rear of the plane mouth. Ideally, you should be able to put a good straight edge front to rear, and diagonally across the plane and not have room for more than a .003″ thickness gauge. If it is out of flat severely, go to the auto parts store and get a variety of wet/dry sand paper and start flattening. Do this with the iron secured in the body and retracted so the same stresses are applied as during use.25 March 2022 at 4:59 am #753620
Thank you both. I will do all you suggest tomorrow and give it a test. I did sharpen so it would slice paper, but I’ll re-sharpen tomorrow. I didn’t use Paul’s method. I have a Veritas sharpening device that gives me a 25 degree angle on the iron. I sharpen with three levels of diamond stone finishing at 1000 grit. Then go to 1000 wet and dry and finish with 1200 wet and dry paper. Last is the polishing using green compound on a board. That puts the polish on the angle. I want to try Paul’s free hand method, but want to get things working properly before I start experimenting with new techniques.
Again, thanks for your procedures and recommendations.
This may still be a sharpening problem, and that is actually the most likely issue. It is possible you are not getting the wire burr off entirely. You definitely need to take care of the chip breaker not closing tightly against the blade, but that should lead to the throat clogging with shavings, not dust, so it isn’t your primary problem.
Make sure, when you are sharpening, that you can feel a burr being produced. Ideally, you want the smallest possible, but make sure you feel one is produced. Otherwise, you haven’t reached the edge with your honing. When working the bevel, you should feel the burr by assessing the back. You then work the back and, especially when you are learning to sharpen, you will then feel the burr on the bevel. So, you take a light pass on the bevel…at which point you will feel the burr on the back, etc. I know that Paul shows giving one quick pull and then going to the strop, but my experience learning to sharpen was that I made too large of a burr and it would not come off as simply as Paul showed. It took several back-and-forths to work the burr off. Over time, you’ll learn to feel and produce a lighter burr and then what Paul shows will be possible. Once you’ve raised the burr, you want the minimum work, sometimes just the lightest single stroke, to move that burr over to the other side. Once the burr has been worked back and forth a couple times, the strop can get it off, but my experience is that the strop will not get it off if it is too big, which is common when learning to sharpen.
25 March 2022 at 4:10 pm #753678
- This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Ed.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Ed.
Attempting to address some really troublesome maple I placed the chip-breaking cap iron of a Clifton bevel-down bench plane very close to the blade edge. The pressure from the cap lever, when locked down, was enough to actually move the edge of the chip breaker immediately in front of the blade; resulting in dust being produced.
Potentially this can happen with any plane where there is a free space between the back of the blade and the chip breaker. It’s small on the Clifton planes, but nevertheless.
London, UK; Boston, MA29 March 2022 at 2:54 pm #753978
I found that I had done exactly what Sven-Olof mentioned in his reply.
I did what everyone suggested, worked the edge of the chip breaker and polished it. Then made sure the iron was sharp, and yes I did check for a burr and made sure it was removed. I only used paper this time as the iron was still sharp so just a few strokes on 1000 and 1500 paper then polish on the strop. I also cleaned up the mouth with a file, then put everything back together making sure the chip breaker was about 2-3mm back from the edge of the iron.
It now works like a plane should. In fact I now have a pile of shavings on the floor that need to be put in the compost bin. Thanks everyone, it is a pure joy to work with a hand tool that performs as it should and a lot more satisfying working with had tools vs my power tools.
I have had issues off and on with my plane sharpening, trying to follow Paul’s method. I finally discovered I was making a very simple mistake, and I thought it might be useful to pass on. It arose from abandoning the honing guide and going free hand, which is very liberating. What I finally realized was that sharpening at 25-30 degrees means holding the plane much lower to the stones than I thought. So I made a small wooden block at a 30 degree angle that I could fit right under the blade before beginning to sharpen. That gave my hands the precise feeling of how high I could lift the blade. It was a lot lower than it looked to me on the videos, and i am sure I lifted blades up at times just to get the burr going when I was in a hurry. Anyway, the wooden block really helped me, and I spent the time re-sharpening all my planes, and it felt like a miracle.
Best wishes to everyone!
- This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by amgrima.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.