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One other issue could be at play here especially if this is your first time setting a saw.
If you apply set in the wrong direction, a tooth is more likely to break. You may have tried to set a “left-leaning” tooth to the right (or vice-versa). The extra deflection created by bending a tooth the other direction can cause fracture.
I’d advise you to take a step back. You’re very far down a rabbit hole right now. In summary, just build things and you’ll develop a feel quickly. Time spent determining the “perfect” dimensions of a piece cannot be replaced.
Strength of materials is of course important, but is unlikely to be a major concern for you at this time. Most furniture pieces you’re likely to build will use material thickness greater than 1/2″ and usually significantly greater. This is likely to occur because proportionally ultra-thin legs, rails, stiles, etc. look “wrong” to your eye and are “unattractive”.
Additionally, you’re unlikely to buy stock less than 3/4″ thick from a commercial distributor.
Learning to understand grain direction, and how it effects strength, is more important than whether a particular component should be 1/2″ or 5/8″ thick. I suggest buying a copy of “By Hand & Eye” by George Walker and Jim Tolpin. It’s a good introduction to furniture design and drawing.
My top is SYP at 4.5″ thick and Darren is right to bring up concerns about holdfasts holding. I had to up-size to 1″ diameter holdfasts to get them to grab. The 3/4″ I had were not long enough to work and I think they were deflecting too much as well.
You absolutely can. Simply from an economic standpoint, it can be a good choice. I wouldn’t think twice about doing it. I’ve seen many antique examples of hardwood drawer fronts paired with pine or poplar (technically hardwood) sides and backs.
As Darren mentions repeated test fitting can aesthetically damage the joint, but structurally you shouldn’t have trouble.
Regarding the failure: Based on the failure location, I think the tongue of the panels was too long.
Either mahogany or cherry will work well, neither is that different from the other for this application. Sometimes the mahogany will tearout more easily than cherry would. But, mahogany is not as “chippy” as cherry can be. If you stick to straight-grained woods, you should have good luck with most anything.
I do not spend time making perfect dovetails. I have numerous demands on my time and refuse to sweat the details of every single operation. However, my dovetails are still quite good and I’d compare them favorably to most other craftspersons.
As a general rule, I am an “all precision [u][i][b]necessary[/b][/i][/u]” woodworker. I would rather have a room full of 90% perfect furniture than a single “flawless” piece. I work the show surfaces to as perfect a state as I think is necessary and have no qualms about leaving plane tracks, torn grain, pencil lines, etc. on secondary surfaces.
Is this a pre-lateral adjuster Stanley? You mentioned you are novice, have you set the lateral adjustment of the iron?
I haven’t run into a “rocking” frog personally. My next step would be to examine the underside of the frog and the bed for damage. You may have a small burr somewhere that is interfering with the frog seating. If yes, you should be able to file the damage away fairly easily.
It’s possible the plane body and frog are from two different planes and aren’t a mated pair. Inspect the frog and bed and confirm both are flat.
Is that the installed position of the frog in your third picture?
That seems to be very far back. I generally have the front edge of my frogs sitting almost on top of the mouth opening.
With the frog that far back, you may be running into issues with the iron contacting the mouth of the plane itself.
It’s your bench, so the ultimate decision is up to you.
I’ve worked off a 2×4 stud bench in my uninsulated garage in Texas for years now. Temps swing from 12-120F (-11-49C) in there over the year and I haven’t had any problems. You’ll probably re-flatten the top after about a year, but that’s it.
Unless you have the setup (machines) necessary to process the large number of cuts you’ll have with the sheet goods, I’d call it unnecessary. Birch ply is also exceedingly expensive where I am. I’d choose spend my money on other items.
I agree with all the items in the Larry’s post. Remember that the shaving coming out of the plane is not the goal.
I do not think a precision lapped plane sole is important because all my pieces are planed, then scraped, and finally sanded before they see the final finish. Plus I work in a garage in Texas, and +/- 40F temperature swings or greater within a day are common. No piece of iron will stay “flat” in that environment.
Very clever tool, great work. The visualization is more valuable to me than the printable option, but I see how that would be useful to some.
I’d like to see something that defines the rake of the dovetails and the ability to toggle between different rakes (ie 6:1 vs 7:1). The tail base width is not something I usually consider.
I guess it’s possible the blade is the issue.
However, my first thought is that the upper wheel adjustment seems off in some way. Are you certain you didn’t give the upper wheel an unintentional whack when changing blades?
Either way swap in a different blade and report back.