Reply by Loren

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Posted on Hand Planes...Low Angle Vs. Standard

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10477 posts in 3882 days

#1 posted 04-16-2018 07:07 PM

With a standard bench plane the thin shavings
are produced by a sole that’s flat enough for a
minimal blade protrusion to cut consistently.
Mass helps as well, though the Japanese smoothers
are not really that heavy and the experts get
amazing shavings with those. With metal planes
the mass helps keep the iron in that shallow
cut I think.

I’ve never set irons visually for fine cuts. I use
my fingers to feel. If you have the right kind of
light sighting may work but I haven’t always had
that kind of light.

If your plane sole is out of flat this can have an
effect if you’re chasing the most gossamer shavings.
You can get prussian blue machinest dye, apply
it to the sole and then rub it on a sheet of flat
glass. I messed around with this once with a block
plane and never did it again. For everything but
fine smoothing I don’t feel a plane sole needs to
be perfect. In any case, having had a taste of the
labor required to flatten that block plane a little
better I just went with a Lie-Nielson #4. It worked
pretty well out of the box.

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