Plane Performance

I still remember my first attempt at couldn't get a decent shaving, using a hand plane. It was a real les- But just like super-tuning a car so son in frustration. No matter how it runs faster, there are some tricks much I fiddled with the plane, I to improving the results from your

Before you flatten the sole of the plane, draw a squiggly line along the bottom x

As you lap the sole, the pen lines will wear away. Once they're gone, the sole is flat.

Check Out Your Sole

For a plane to create a flat surface on a workpiece, the bottom of the plane (the sole) also has to he flat. To check this, turn the plane over and hold a straightedge up to the bottom. If you can see light entering underneath the straightedge, you can bet the sole isn't flat.

Fortunately, all you need to flatten the sole is some sandpaper, a flat surface, and a little elbow grease. Start by drawing a squiggily line along the sole of the plane with a felt pen. Then begin "lapping" the sole by rubbing the plane on some 100-grit wet-or-dry sandpaper attached to a piece of plate glass (see drawing). Lubricating the sandpaper with a little water or oil will carry away the metal "dust." The squiggly line you drew earlier will help you to measure your progress.

plane. Here are live quick ways to rev-up your plane's performance, lt— whether it's brand new or been sitting on the shelf for years.

You don't have to worry about getting the entire sole flat. The area- von a ant to focus on are the back and front of the sole, as well as the area just m front of the blade opening. When these are flat, you can mow up to finer grits of sandpaper, stopping at around 400 grit.

Use spray adhesive to mount sandpaper to plate glass

2 Replace Blade and

One of the easiest and simplest upgrades you can make to your plane is to replace the blade that came with the plane. Most stock blades are fairly thin. Instead of slicing through the wood, they may tend to flex and chatter, giving you a poor-quality cut. But there are a handful of manufacturers who make high-quality replacement blades tor bench planes. Typically, these blades are thicker and made out

Cap Iron of better steel, so they stay sharp longer. A quality replacement blade will cost you around $30, but it's worth every penny. (See sources in right margin).

In addition to replacing the blade, you might want to also consider replacing the cap iron. Like the replacement blades, a replacement cap iron is thicker and beefier. It helps to stiffen the cutting edge and support the blade.

The thin blades that come with most planes are prone to "chattering "

The extra mass of this thick replacement blade and cap iron gives you a smoother cut

Preparing the Blade

It goes without saying that to get the best results from your plane, it's important to have a sharp blade. Whether you use oilstones, waterstones, or sandpaper to sharpen your blade, the method isn't nearly as important as taking the time to make sure the edge is truly sharp.

But one thing that is often overlooked when sharpening a blade is the profile of the edge. A honing guide will allow you to create an edge that is sharp, straight, and square with the sides of the blade. But the only problem with this is that it's all too easy for the comers

4 Adjust Frog

To prevent tearout as you plane the workpiece, the cutting edge of the blade should be positioned close to the front of the open!ng in the sole of the plane In order tn do this, you'll need to adjust the "frog" of the plane — the part of the plane that the blade rests on.

Tn adjust the frog, remove the blade and slightly back off the two screws that hold the frog to the body Of the plane (see drawing at right). Then use the frog adjusting screw to move the frog forward or backward. The goal here is to position the frog so that the gap between the blade and the front of the opening in the plane is about V32" to '/lfl". After the frog is properly positioned, you can tighten down the screws and reinstall the blade.

of the blade to dig into the work-piece you're planing, leaving uneven ridges in your workpiece.

To prevent this from happening, ! like to "round off" the corners of the blade, as shown in the second example in the lower right

Lift one side of blade to round off comer lu

Lift one side of blade to round off comer

Loosen screws slightly to adjust frog —...
NOTE: Move frog forward or back with frog adjusting screw (see detail)

The thin blades that come with most planes are prone to "chattering "

The extra mass of this thick replacement blade and cap iron gives you a smoother cut drawing. To do this, just tilt the blade slightly by lifting up one side so that the opposite corner rests on the sharpening stone. After making a couple of passes on the stone, repeat the procedure for the other corner.

Sharp corner can "dig" into workpiece

- Round off corners on stone

Hock Tools

(Blades and cap irons) 888-282-5233

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

(Blades) 800-327-2520 www.lie-nielsen corn

Adjust Blade

The final step before using your plane is to adjust the blade. And there are two adjustments to be concerned with. To adjust the depth of the blade, turn the adjusting knob until the blade just barely starts to project from the mouth opening. Then use the lateral adjustment lever to position the blade so that the cutting edge is paralIeI with the front opening of die mouth (see detail 'a') After initally adjusting the blade, give the plane a go on a piece of scrap wood and fine-tune the blade settings until you get wispy-thin shavings. ES





K i i!

Adjust blade so

it Is parallel with

mouth opening



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