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Flatting plane soles with sandpaper

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Blog entry by need2boat posted 1015 days ago 1551 reads 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I would guess like most I start with the simple fixes first and would consider all the planes I use regularly to be in good working order but as the numbers grow it gets harder to keep them all sharpened and well tuned. So previous to this I went through what I had and decided which plans I need and use and which ones need new homes.

Now with the numbers down I decided to flatten the soles. A process I’ve read about but never found the time, plus if you’re looking at large numbers plan on it talking a good chunk of time.

I started this process a bit out of sequence but like most I fight for time building vs time playingwith tools so I start with the easy and most rewarding. For me that’s adjusting the frogs, flatten if need be and replace the blades and cap iron with A2 metal. I do this mostly because some needed it and once I did a few it justseemed simpler to have the same type in all to stream line the sharpening process.

To get started I ordered a class B granite stone. I ordered it from Enco on recommendation due to the frequent sales that offer free shipping on orders over $25.00. I ordered a 12×18x3 class B stone that weighs 70lbs shipped to my home for $36.00! Other options are to use float glass but I don’t sharpen with paper often and the cost of thick float glass in my area was high.

The next thing I needed was sandpaper. I have a local body shop supply place in town and bought 3 rolls of adhesive sandpaper for long board. This is sold in continuous roll and can easily be but to fit any size. You can get it without adhesive. I will also say I’m not normally a fan of sharpening with sand paper due the cost but for this it really seemed the best way.

The rolls ran me around 40.00 each I didn’t check on-line so that may be high. I selected 100, 180, 400. If your plans are not bad or you use a metal file you could cut down to the 180 and 400. Also some use a method called bluing the sole where they paint the bottom first so they can see low spots as they flatten. If you want to go that route I’d say you’d be better off with hand files as you’ll be wasting a lot of the sand paper removing the paint.

My process was a follows I left the plans assembled with blades and retracked. I took about 5 passes on the 100 and looked at the wear pattern to make sure I was heading in the right direction and to see how far off I was. I wanted to get the area around themouth completely flat and 80% of the rest of the sole. I found that most of the soles by the time I had the area around the mouth good were better then 90%completely flat.

Once happy I tuned the plan on the side and flatten them as well. I only did this for planes I thought I might use for shooting. With that done I put the plane aside and started with the next.


The basic setup in progress

I found the sandpaper clogged after 5, 10 minutes of use and I could vacuum it 2 maybe 3 times before it needed to be replaced. This really depends on the quality of paper and what you consider done is. I was working with Norton paper and found it worked well.

I repeated this process with each plane on each grade of paper till I was happy with the results. Ithink you could easily continue with finer and finer papers and work a really nice polish if that’s you thing. My goal was to improve or reduce friction and flatten the plane. I think 400 does this well.

finished planes and scraper

Plan on this taking a good chunk of time depending on the condition of the plan you start with. I found it took me better then an hour per plane plus setup for the 100. The higher grades once the flattening is done go a little faster.

JFF

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com



21 comments so far

View Sarit's profile

Sarit

466 posts in 1742 days


#1 posted 1015 days ago

Wow that’s very impressive.
The jointer plane looks just as long as the granite plate. Do you rub those side to side or run them past the edge of the plate? I recently bought a used jointer plane too and I’m not sure what’s the best way to flatten it.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5107 posts in 1445 days


#2 posted 1015 days ago

Great blog. I flattened my 607 on the granite woktop on my breakfast bar. I checked it was truly flat with a straight edge and feeler gauges and it was, so I set to it. The only problem was that I could ideally have done with it being at a lower height, but it worked great. Had to wait until the wife was out for the day though :-)

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 1295 days


#3 posted 1015 days ago

Sarit,

The sand paper I bought is designed for a tool they call the long board. Its used by body shops and really is just that a long thin board. It’s only about 4” wide so the best sanding motion is front to back regardless of which part of the plane your working on. You can cut strips and cover the entire stone but I found 2 or 3 strips at a time works best.

You can also buy sandpaper 5” or 6” round which would give you more side to side coverage if you want more adjustment angle.

If your just looking to flatten the plane I would check how off it is with a feeler gauge. If it’s not bad just get some sandpaper and a flat surface.

JFF

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View nobuckle's profile

nobuckle

1120 posts in 1363 days


#4 posted 1015 days ago

Great work and great blog. How did you ensure that the sides are square to the sole? I plan to refurb a couple of planes I bought a while back and making sure the sides are square to the sole is an important aspect to me. I want to be able to use them with a shooting board. Hence the reason for making sure the sides are square to the sole.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 1295 days


#5 posted 1015 days ago

Andy,

I noticed that counter in your vid on braces and thought humm. that would make a good surface as well.

JFF

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 1295 days


#6 posted 1015 days ago

Doug,

I just kept an eye on them with a machinist square.

Joe

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View nobuckle's profile

nobuckle

1120 posts in 1363 days


#7 posted 1015 days ago

That works for me. I suppose was thinking that had to setup my .0005 dial indicator, along with an angle plate, to make sure that the sides and sole were square but that may be overkill. Thanks again.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View nobuckle's profile

nobuckle

1120 posts in 1363 days


#8 posted 1015 days ago

That works for me. I suppose was thinking that had to setup my .0005 dial indicator, along with an angle plate, to make sure that the sides and sole were square but that may be overkill. Thanks again.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 1295 days


#9 posted 1015 days ago

yea, I think it’s important but I wouldn’t get nuts about it. When you set up the shooting board you will set it up for the plane so you can always adjust it at that point as well.

JFF

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View Brit's profile

Brit

5107 posts in 1445 days


#10 posted 1015 days ago

Great minds think alike Joe. Whenever my wife says she going on a girls night out, I’m full of encouragement. I always ask her to ring me when she’s on her way back, so I can get the kitchen looking like a kitchen again. :-)

Good point about not stressing too much about squaring the sides and about making the shooting board to suit the plane. I’ve just finished acquiring my bench planes. Got an early No.3 on eBay tonight in fact. Here they are ready to be restored once I get through restoring and sharpening all my saws, which might be a while because I keep buying more saws. LOL. All I’ve done so far is flatten the sole of my 607.

No.3

No.4

No.5 1/2

No.5, No. 6 and a 607.

I’m not bothering to look for a 4 1/2 as I have a LN 4 1/2 which I love.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 1295 days


#11 posted 1014 days ago

Andy,

those are some nice planes. I’ve only owned a few of the low knob planes but I know lots of people like them. I have an older jack plane that was my grandfathers and was really quite trashed but I couldn’t throw it out. It needed a new frog and both tote and knob. I replaced with used frog and repro knob and tote. Since it was no longer org. I went with a low knob. The guy who made them did a great job and I love the feel for heavy work.

Joe

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1485 posts in 1030 days


#12 posted 1012 days ago

Joe you have a fine collection of keepers. I agree that hand tools should be hand sharpened and hand restored otherwise where is the fun of owining them? Here is is the beginning of my collection. I cut the replacement totes from broken maple chair seats, they are 1/8’’ thicker and 1/8” deeper in the grip to suit my XXL hands, I am new to this site and am really enjoying looking at real craftmanship in all the projects. It makes me realize that one day maybe I can do something great.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 1295 days


#13 posted 1012 days ago

exelectrician,

Those are some really keen planes as well. Watch how close you keep them together as the breed like rabbits!

Joe

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1485 posts in 1030 days


#14 posted 1012 days ago

Ha Ha Ha and craigs list is one of the main places where they breed, I looked on top of the shelf and found six more of them… what can I do…

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1295 days


#15 posted 1012 days ago

Those are some good looking soles! I must admit, I’ve never taken mine to that level of fineness but I use the same method. Those are some handsom knuckle joints you have there.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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