Plane Sole Flattening on a Woodriver#7

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    Topic
  • #446645
    Betzalel
    Participant

    Hi All,
    I bought a Woodriver #7 plane when I was starting to get serious about woodworking as a hobby. At the time I heard some good reviews. After about 2 years of regular use I noticed two issues:
    The sole is very concave
    The side is far from 90 degrees, so I cant use it on a shooting board.

    Questions:
    Is it possible to do something about the side?
    How hard would it be to flatten the sole?
    Is it normal to have become concave after 2 years of use? If I had bought a more expensive plane would it eventually happen all the same?
    If I decide to pass it on and look for a new plane, what would you go for?

    • This topic was modified 10 months, 4 weeks ago by Betzalel.
    • This topic was modified 10 months, 4 weeks ago by Betzalel.
    • This topic was modified 10 months, 4 weeks ago by Betzalel.
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Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #446682
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    A dirty little secret is that most metal jointer planes weren’t flat, at least until Veritas and lie Neilsen started making them. And long planes move with temperature, probably even the premium ones.

    And cast iron wears, especially if you do a lot of edges jointing. Every so often, the sole must be tried up. Wood is abrasive.

    Paula weighed in on this.

    A letter on why no long planes?

    And Chis Schwarz says pretty much the same.
    He says jointer planes start behaving badly at about .005” out of true. If you have feeler gauges and a flat surface, you can check yours. I don’t think your counter top necessarily qualifies. Find a granite slab or some 1/2” float glass.

    The other test is empirical. If you can consistently edge plane two boards and have them meet without gaps, you plane is flat enough. That’s why it’s called a jointer. Make sure the iron is flat – except at the corners.

    But it is possible to get up to almost 1/16” bow corrected. I know ‘cause I did it with a Stanley number 7 plane that I had welded and warped in the process. Paul has a tutorial on flattening plane soles. With a big plane, it will take longer. Lots of metal to move.

    As to the side, it really shouldn’t matter all that much if the side is a bit out of square. It’s the iron being plum that matters. Your plane has an adjuster. It would have to be really bad not to work. If it is that bad, take it back.

    But if it bugs you, it should be possible to fix. All it takes is supreme patience and the same grueling method used for the sole.

    If it isn’t possible to fix, take it back.

    #446878
    Edmund
    Participant

    @etmo

    Is it possible to do something about the side?
    How hard would it be to flatten the sole?
    Is it normal to have become concave after 2 years of use? If I had bought a more expensive plane would it eventually happen all the same?
    If I decide to pass it on and look for a new plane, what would you go for?

    1) Yes, same as flattening the sole, if the wing is out of square and canted away from the body. If it’s canted inwards, you could theoretically hammer it out, but wings are not the strongest part of a plane, so I’d have that done back at the factory, if it’s still under warranty, or by a professional.

    2) Not that hard. Planes are made of iron, not tool steel, so metal is generally removed somewhat quickly. Don’t be miserly with the sandpaper — plan on burning through a few meters of the coarsest grits, say 220 and half that of 320. When it stops cutting quickly, switch it out. Otherwise, with a #7, it’ll take a long time. Use WD-40 or some light oil for lubrication, clean the swarf off the paper and the tool when you’re pausing to inspect your progress.
    When you get into the finer grits it tends to use up less sandpaper, because you’re not removing significant material, you’re just removing the coarser scratches from the previous grit and replacing them with finer scratches from the current grit. Once you get up to 800 grit, you won’t need more than the first sheet.
    I get these adhesive-backed rolls: http://www.woodworkingshop.com/category.aspx?id=22&f2=ADHESIVE&f1=6%22+X+5
    They are nice and wide, so you can use one side of the sheet to flatten and then when it stops cutting quickly use the other side, cutting in half the number of times you have to replace the paper. It lays nice and flat, and cuts well. You’ll burn through an entire 5 meter roll of the 240 if the sole is significantly out of flat — been there, done that — but yours doesn’t look too bad.
    I’d get the 240, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000. You’ll use most of the 240 and maybe half the 320, but you’ll have tons leftover of the 400 and greater, so you can do the scary sharp method for quite a while afterwards, or flatten a pile of planes with minimal additional investment…just some more 240 and 320.

    Remember not to use significant downward force when flattening! It’s too easy to smash the sole flat, and then remove material from the entire sole, as opposed to removing the parts which protrude first, and gradually working down to the entire sole. Clifton planes have said their machine uses a max of 12 lbs of downforce, IIRC.

    3) As Larry said, flattening the sole is a normal part of maintenance. Depends on how often you use it, how much of a gorilla you are when you use it, and the kinds of wood you’re processing.

    4) If you’re going to get a new one, go for a Veritas or a LN, unless you really enjoy restoring old tools. You’re going to spend 150 or so on a Stanley from ebay which is in questionable condition, and then maybe sourcing some replacement parts, flattening the sole and squaring the wings, sharpening the blade and flattening the back, adjusting the frog, etc, etc, etc. Depending on how much your time is worth to you it might end up costing you as much as a new premium plane.
    If you drop 425 for the LN it arrives in flawless condition — the sole is flatter than most of our straight edges (and to Larry’s point about the planes moving, because LV/LN use stress-relieved iron, it’s very stable and tends to remain flat and true requiring only the periodic maintenance mentioned above), the blade back is lapped to perfection and sharp enough to use (although you’ll want to use your finest stones to improve the edge before using it), the frog is precisely adjusted to position the blade just so, and the wings are perfectly square for accurate shooting — it’s a delight. Better yet, if any of that is not the case, just send it back and they will apologize profusely and replace it with one in perfect condition.

    There are some other premium planes (Clifton, et al) but I have no experience with them.

    #446972
    Ed
    Participant

    @ed

    Plan B: Modify the shooting board to compensate for the angle, thus marrying the shooting board to the plane. Paul says you can use the angle adjustment level to compensate for the cheek angle, but I’ve been fortunate to have square planes and prefer that.

    Ed has more metal experience than I do, but I would not hammer on the plane body. Isn’t it cast?

    Give a little push on the top of your plane and see how much it flattens under pressure. That may affect your plans. My #8 Stanley flexes under moderate pressure.

    Finally, consider what the role of the #7 will be for you. Some planes never do fine finish work and don’t require the fettling of a smoother.

    #447051
    Richard Guggemos
    Participant

    @rickgugg

    Most plane bodies are cast (a few are forged). Regardless I wouldn’t hammer the side as ATMO it’s the wrong tool for the job. I can expound if anyone is curious.

    Questions:
    1 How is the sole concave? Is it cupped? Bowed? By how much?

    2 How out of square are the sides?

    3 How often do you test the plane and how consistent are your testing procedures? Have you tested your test standards?

    Significant wear in two years, with anything less than full time use, suggests that the steel of the plane body is very soft. I wouldn’t expect this wear in a wooden plane over two years, so it’s worth checking all of these points before taking on the hard yak of flattening a big plane.

    Cupping isn’t generally a problem with a jointer. A jointer is almost always used on stock narrower than the plane. This is why they can develop a cup. Typically this is harmless in use; one just adjusts where to set the plane for the cut they want.

    A bow can be a real problem, if it’s a single curve. If the mouth (front and back) front of toe and back of base form a plane (and high everywhere else) you should still see good results. If you have one big curve, flattening is called for.

    As noted by others, the lateral adjuster can compensate on a shooting board. Moreover, only one side needs be square on a shooting board(depending on whether you are right or left handed).

    More importantly, are you using it to shoot? That’s a very big plane for shooting, although there are circumstances where it’s the appropriate tool.

    Hope this helps

    Rick

    #447148
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Good advice all around. Two things:

    No way I’d beat on a cast plane with a hammer…unless I was recycling it.

    If the plane is bad, I’d start the grit series on a big plane with a lot coarser grit than 220.
    80 grit is not too coarse. Once the plane is flat, I find getting the grit scratches out is the easy part.

    #447742
    Betzalel
    Participant

    @betzaleldaniel

    I really appreciated all the advice. Thank you!
    I loved the idea of using lateral adjustment to compensate for the wing out of square (not idea as I need to test first, but can do the trick for now), and loved reading the article quoted from Paul.
    It’s time I get a number 5 (I have a scrub plane, a #4 and a #7)…
    Maybe I will dare to try and flatten the sole, it maybe a good practice.
    I am still wandering:
    How much is it the weather. Will my work be in vain by Summer time?
    To clarify my #7 has one long box from front to back, not very much, I guess 0.5mm. I feel I get good results planing long panels flat but have a hard time joining.
    I learned from Rob Cosmann videos where he uses a #7 to shoot. What else would you use to shoot?

    #447887
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Let’s see, .5mm translates to about .02” in real numbers — quite a lot. I’d say you could flatten now and no matter what the weather did you would profit.
    Start coarse with the grit. You have a couple hours work ahead of you.

    It’s quite possible to shoot with with anything from a 4 to a 7 on a shooting board.

    The main advantage of the Longer plane is the sole in front of the cutter. Longer planes have more of it, so it’s ei. Phew plan Co a h e work o the back stroke. But keep in mind the Veritas shooting plane is only about 16” long, midway between a 5 and a 6.the Stanley 51 was an inch shorter – not much bigger than a 5.

    Shooting with a 6 or 5 works fine. Smaller work is less work with the smaller plane.

    If I ever come across a #7 that is damaged in the rear of the plane, I’ll cut it off. Maybe stick a handle up the side…

    #448025
    Dave Ring
    Participant

    @davering

    #448071
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Wow. Word replacement run amuck. Try again, and anybody with a delete button, feel free.

    Let’s see, .5mm translates to about .02” in real numbers — quite a lot. I’d say you could flatten now and no matter what the weather did you would profit.
    Start coarse with the grit. You have a couple hours work ahead of you.

    It’s quite possible to shoot with with anything from a 4 to a 7 on a shooting board.

    The main advantage of the Longer plane is the sole in front of the cutter. Longer planes have more of it, so it’s easier to stay registered to the work on the back stroke. But keep in mind the Veritas shooting plane is only about 16” long, midway between a 5 and a 6. The Stanley 51 was an inch shorter – not much bigger than a 5.

    Shooting with a 6 or 5 works fine. Smaller work is less work with the smaller plane.

    If I ever come across a #7 that is damaged in the rear of the plane, I’ll cut it off. Maybe stick a handle up the side…

    #448075
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Like this?

    Yup.

    Nice find.

    I’ve also toyed with the idea of a wooden skew plane, but I have several irons in the fire already, and I’m at the stage where where my wife tells me I should be selling off tools.

    Won’t happen.

    #448155
    Ed
    Participant

    @ed

    My #8 is the best shooting plane I own. I wouldn’t buy a #8 just for this purpose, but it is excellent. The momentum moves it through the cut smoothly and the large size makes it easier for me to grab.

    I smile every time I haul that plane out. It is so ridiculous, but if you want something to be straight or something to be shaved out of existence, that thing will do it. Found it for $35 at a flea market. It was so rusted I wasn’t sure I’d get it apart to clean it up. Stanley was still selling bolt kits at that time, so I got a new set of misc. bolts and hardware for $10 in 2005-ish that fit a World War era plane. Amazing, really.

    #448866
    btyreman
    Participant

    @btyreman

    I find a good 5 1/2 is more than good enough for all shooting needs on my shooting boards, I’ve tried my no7 and it’s actually too long! I’d need a huge bench for that to work.

    #449048
    Dave Ring
    Participant

    @davering

    Hey Larry–have you considered a Lancashire pattern plane?

    http://www.oldtools.co.uk/home/1275-lancashire-pattern-shouldering-plane.html

    Nobody seems to know much about them and the dealers usually call them rebate or shoulder planes, but they look like they would be ideal for use on a shooting board. They’re rare as all get out and I don’t think I’ve ever seen two alike or any one attributed to a specific manufacturer. A lot of them are cast from either bronze or brass and I suspect that they were one-offs.

    Dave

    #449061
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Hi Dave.

    Neat tool.

    I’ve only seen pictures of those things. They are about as prevalent as unicorns here.
    I think at least some of them are beaten planes. The cutters reach the edge, so there isn’t anything to ride on the fixture.

    Whenever I see a brass or bronze version of rare tools I assume some pattern maker at a factory had the foundry workers cast them. That holds for tools like Brass or bronze Stanley routers. Stanley never made any and they are easy to sand cast if you have the original.

    That plane looks like it might be brazed together.

    When I was young I worked at a joinery that build colonial reproduction cabinets with special hinges. We just took the patterns to a local foundry ( Littlestown foundry, which still exists), and came back in a couple days to pick up a bucket of castings. They were all hand finished in our shop.

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