Wooden Plough plane irons not square

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    I found a old wooden plow plough plane for next to nothing in a lot of old plane. It was in good shape, the screw arms works well. I bought some irons on ebay since the only blade it comes with was an old bastard file.

    So I got my blades, sharpened them and put it in my plane. I was not happy to see that the blade was not coming out of the opening square. It was all crooked. For some reasons, the bed for the blade seemed the have been filed on the right side.The wedge is not square either. The blade is not prodruding square because of this.
    Something tells me that it has been done on purposes. Is it common ?
    What is the best way to correct the situation ? Any help is welcome.





    Matt McGrane

    That’s really bizarre. It’s also very funny that the “iron” that came with the plane was a file!

    My thought on the angled bed is this: if someone was to do that on purpose to skew the blade, I think they would do it the other way. A proper skew can help keep the cut tight into the corner. The way it is skewed now seems like it would lead the plane away from the cut instead of keeping it tight into the corner. I could be wrong here – I’m going on what I can see in the pics.

    I think this is a bad thing. If it was up to me, I’d probably think about flattening the bed and gluing in a piece to build it back up. You really need a flat bed and a well-fitted wedge.

    See if anybody else chimes in before you take any advice form me.

    Anybody? Anybody? …

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/


    I’m not sure that there’s enough info in the pictures to explain the problem, especially the bedding geometry of your particular blade.

    However, when that plane was new it probably came with a full set of (probably) 8 or so dedicated blades, from about 1/8” up to around 9/16” wide in 1/16th increments. It varied with different manufacturers; some were more elaborate than others.

    The blades of these planes would have featured a pronounced taper in thickness from the cutting tip, getting narrower to the neck. The wedge would have been adjusted (probably by the user) to exactly fit on the blades, so it followed that all the blades had the same degree of taper throughout the range. This is why mixed or ‘harlequin’ sets of blades seldom fit well – not all manufacturers had the same degree of taper. The taper ensures that any forward thrust in use tends to tighten the blade against its wedge. To remove the blade, it is driven forward, though the mouth.

    So that the blades were locked in place in use, they would have had a groove on the top (bevel) side that located with the inclined section of the rear skate. The idea was that the blade sat firmly on the bed of the stock but there was sufficient latitude for the skate to locate in the groove. The blade needs to be completely flat where it is in contact with the bed and wedge.

    It follows that if a dead square cut is required, the cutting tip of each blade would be adjusted and refined with the fitted angle in mind – not what looked square out of the plane, though for many users the bottom of the ploughed groove is less important than the walls.

    So, in conclusion, the bedding of the iron is dependent on the union of groove / skate as well as the bed. I don’t think that a tiny amount out of true will matter much, but it’s important to get a firm seat. Also, look at the angles of the wedge and taper across the range of blades – this does need to be exact. You may need to make more than one wedge if there is any variance. Alternatively look for a complete set of blades by the same manufacturer, then make your own wedge to fit.

    I hope that this helps to isolate your problem.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by YrHenSaer.
    David Perrott

    As mentioned it looks like its because of the irons. I have a set of mixed irons but they have a groove in the iron that locks it into the skate. Over time the wooden planes can warp and move but to me it looks like the irons may be the issue. I got lucky I guess. I hate to buy things off ebay but did buy a set of irons for a specific size I needed. They lock into mine.


    The previous owner took a flat file and grind it to an edge. It didn’t have the indexing slot on the back of it neither the increase in thickness.

    In the set of blade I purchased, some of them are from the same maker. Either way, they all react the same now.

    We can see on the second picture that the bed is lower on the right side that the other. So when I insert the wedge, the wedge is pressing the irons th the right. I was able to take some shavings from the wedge so it put less pressure on the right side. After a few try, it’s working great. The blades are now square.

    The only other thing I see, and it’s difficult to look on picture, is that the blade rest more on the indexing skate that the bed. I’ll try to take a pitcure.

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