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489 posts in 1224 days
#1 posted 06-16-2016 02:49 PM
I recently took a class from a traditionally trained woodworker who learned in England and his views on cambered irons was interesting if not unexpected if you read some of the older textbooks on the subject. Cambering a iron does several things for you and is critical to the “proper” operation of the plane. Not only does it prevent the edges from digging in creating plane tracks but it makes it possible to fine tune the shavings to the center of the iron with the lateral adjuster. There is just to much wiggle room in that adjustment be it by mechanical means or manually adjusting to get and keep it perfect with a straight iron so you will always be digging one corner in more than the other. The last reason to camber a iron was it allows you to control how much material you take off a board edge when squaring it up. If the left side of the edge is high just center the plane on the left side and it takes slightly more off bringing the edge square. Without a camber making a edge square is a lot harder as you have no way to control how much material is removed across the surface.
The camber on a smoothing plane is so small and you are taking such light shavings that flatness isn’t really a issue in my experience and it’s a benefit to you having the shaving taper off at the two edges as it creates a much cleaner surface.
Because of this he generally regraded low angle bevel up planes pretty poorly calling them special purpose tools with little use beyond smoothing cutting boards. The amount of camber you need on a low angle jack plane for instance to get the same effective camber at the cutting edge compared to a bevel down plane is pretty extreme.
I’m not saying I agree 100% with everything he said but his view was interesting never the less.
4005 posts in 2708 days
#2 posted 06-16-2016 03:11 PM
OK, I had even forgot there was such a thing as camber, so I am in reading mode only….........(-:
-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska
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