Stanley #4 1/2 problem — shaving thickness increasing involuntarily

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    So I unexpectedly bumped into a 4 1/2 in really good condition at an estate sale for a good price, and bought it even though I already have one. Sharpened it up and took a few shavings, and it seemed to work great, so I tried it in earnest on some hard maple, and that’s where the issue surfaced.

    It seems to take a thicker shaving the more I use it. So initially on the hard maple I set it for an ultra-thin shaving, and it was doing so, but as I took a few more ultra-thin shavings the shavings started getting thicker and thicker until it was almost too difficult to push the plane, because it was trying to hog off a very thick shaving.

    Took it apart, and everything seems fine and snugged up, but I’m not skilled in diagnosing these things — does this sound like a known issue to anyone? Thanks for any hints!

    Philipp J.

    I did not have the same but a similar problem in that the plane just wouldnt stay set.

    Heres what i did:
    Completely took it apart and cleaned everything, including screws, threads, everything.
    Checked the Frog and its seating place for any defects
    ! Flattend the Levercap, thats the thing that most likely caused it since as i checked it it turned out to be less than flat thus, most likely, providing unequal pressure. In your case it may just simply not put enough pressure on at all.
    Carefully put everything back together, tightend it down, and thats basically it, Problem hasn’t surfaced ever since

    Hope this helps, regards Philipp



    Also, double check the angle on the cutting edge. If it’s off that could explain your problems.




    Thanks, Philipp, I’ll try that

    — do you mean the bevel angle? Interestingly, I sharpened it with a cheapie, Eclipse-style honing guide (which I normally never use, but it was handy at the time) as opposed to my Lee Valley honing guide. I’ll check into that, too


    Since you already have a 4 1/2 you could try swapping parts to narrow the problem down. Swap frogs or iron/cap irons to see if it helps.


    @harrison17 — brilliant. I never think of the simple, effective stuff. Will try that.

    , checked the bevel angle, seems decent, and also checked the squareness, was not perfect, so I’ll correct that.

    Philipp, haven’t taken it apart for the full inspection yet


    Had an issue with loosing side to side adjustment on a very nice #4 I came across. The cap screw was just a 1 turn or 2 to loose. After that it worked just right, the cap still popped off fine, but had a better “snap” then locked in.

    Tuscloosa, Alabama
    Lung T'an Hu Huesh Kung-fu Woodshop

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