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Plane iron won't reach front of mouth

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Forum topic by MuseumGuy posted 09-19-2015 02:34 PM 1588 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MuseumGuy

8 posts in 468 days


09-19-2015 02:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane iron frog plane

Hi Everyone:

I’m a beginning woodworker with a handplane problem that I can’t find an answer to, no matter how much I scour the internet. I’m guessing the answer must either be really obscure, or really obvious. Here goes.

I can’t get the cutting edge of my plane iron close enough to the leading edge of the mouth.

Necessary details:

1. This is an old smoothing plane. Sole is a little over 10” long. There are no “Stanleys,” SW heart logos, patent dates, size numbers, or anything else on it that tells me it’s a Stanley. The stamp on the iron says “Hercules,” but I don’t know if it’s the original iron (garage sale find).

2. I have lapped, hollow-ground, and honed the iron. I have flattened the face of the frog.

3. There is no frog-adjusting screw, but as you can see from the pictures, the frog is adjusted as far forward as it will go. Its front edge is just shy (maybe 1/64”?) of the back edge of the mouth.

4. With the plane assembled, I have to adjust the iron all the way down to the limit of its depth (just before the depth adjustment wheel falls off of the threads) just to get it to protrude from the mouth.

And when it does, it is nowhere near the front edge of the mouth—the opening is nearly 1/8”.

5. Length of the plane iron is 7 5/16”.

I want to say that the plane iron is just too short (it’s probably seen its share of re-grinding), but I can’t wrap my head around the geometry of that. As I’m picturing it, a longer iron would need less depth adjustment to protrude from the mouth, but it doesn’t seem like a longer blade would be more likely to reach the front of the mouth.

Or is the mouth just too large?

Or is the frog sitting too low on its rails? Maybe it’s been ground down too, and I need to put washers or something underneath it?

Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide.


35 replies so far

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1148 days


#1 posted 09-19-2015 02:41 PM

A thicker iron like one of the Hock or Lie Nielsen ones would close up the gap but yea the mouth is to large given the frog adjustments. Does it look like the mouth was widened with a file? Or maybe someone mix and matched parts to build a plane? Or it never was a very tight fit. I have a Buck Bothers plane I bought before I knew better that has a huge mouth that will never be a smoother plane. I could turn it into a rough work plane like a Scrub pretty easily but other than that it’s never going to be a good finish work plane.

A longer iron won’t help you here as it sounds like you can get the iron cutting there is just to much of a gap in front of it right?

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

296 posts in 3436 days


#2 posted 09-19-2015 03:03 PM

I would check the chip breaker. It make be incorrect for the plane, preventing the blade moving forward enough.

Regards from Perth

Derek

-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at http://www.inthewoodshop.com

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

404 posts in 2425 days


#3 posted 09-19-2015 03:03 PM

Hard to tell, but previous ownet having opened the mouth with a file is possible. Try to shim things as you describe.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View bearkatwood's profile

bearkatwood

1215 posts in 480 days


#4 posted 09-19-2015 03:25 PM

Sounds like you got a Frank-n-plane.

-- Brian Noel

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 954 days


#5 posted 09-19-2015 03:30 PM

Sounds like a chip breaker prob if the iron still had some length to it.

Me personally, I worry about the angle of the chipbreaker (80deg) and proper mating of the chip breaker to the iron. I don’t worry about the mouth being closed. I just line up the edge of the frog with the Edge of the mouth to fully support the iron.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Johnny7's profile

Johnny7

208 posts in 558 days


#6 posted 09-19-2015 03:41 PM

.

View Clarkie's profile

Clarkie

380 posts in 1309 days


#7 posted 09-19-2015 04:28 PM

Hercules was manufactured by Sargent plane. Go on the web and find the measurements and see if everything you have there is for that particular plane.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16244 posts in 3686 days


#8 posted 09-19-2015 05:08 PM

My first thought was that it’s not the original frog, but it could be any number of things that have been mentioned.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Deycart's profile

Deycart

444 posts in 1726 days


#9 posted 09-19-2015 05:43 PM

Hercules planes like Clarkie said were made by Sargent in the 50s-60s right before they stopped making them. These were the lowest quality planes they made akin to the Handyman series from Stanley. The Hercules is a bit nicer than a standard handyman though. I deal in hand planes all the time and I can tell you that you have all the correct parts.

This plane was never meant to be anything other than a door stop. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tune it to be an ok plane.

You may want to look at the holes in the frog that the screws pass through to attach it to the base. There might be a bit of flashing from the casting that wasn’t cleaned up and prevents the frog from moving up forward. You can also lengthen the slot if there isn’t anything to remove.

That being said, 1/64” of an opening is fine for smoothing in most woods. Your edge quality and they way you set the chipbreaker is going to determine the quality of the surface well before the mouth size will. A tight mouth is only needed when you are working with something with really twisted grain.

A sharp edge is the most important factor!

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

693 posts in 1266 days


#10 posted 09-19-2015 06:00 PM

Maybe the iron is past it’s usable length.If it is then that’s good the tool is a good user.An old tool with a original new iron or long iron hasn’t eared it’s strips!

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1844 days


#11 posted 09-20-2015 01:39 PM

If I read your question correctly, the iron will extend and make shavings but you are worried because with the frog full forward and co-planer with back of the mouth the gap between the front edge of the iron and the front of the mouth is greater than you would like. Is that a correct reading of your question?

If it is, it is for the most part a non problem as far as the plane’s ability to take fine shavings even in difficult wood. The biggest factors for controlling tear out are sharpness of the iron and the setting of the cap iron (chip breaker).

Here is a video from the English Woodworker demonstrating setting the cap iron to control tear out: http://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/cap-irons-tear-out-video/

ken

View MuseumGuy's profile

MuseumGuy

8 posts in 468 days


#12 posted 09-20-2015 02:10 PM

Thank you all very much for your help.

After I read through everyone’s responses, I went back to my workbench and tried the experiment that Johnny 7 mentioned. With two washers beneath the frog, and the iron slid down so far that the chip breaker rests a full 1/4” back from the edge, the cutting edge could be made to reach the front of the mouth (which does appear to have been filed out). As noted, you can’t actually use the plane this way, but it did provide diagnostic info.

It looks like my best bet is to shim the frog (with something more substantial than washers) and get a new (longer) iron. I’ll check the original specs and shop around.

Thanks again to all of you for your help.

Incidentally, when I went back to look at your post, Johnny 7, all that’s left of it is a singe period. Weird. I had to go back to my email notifications to find your message.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1148 days


#13 posted 09-20-2015 02:50 PM

I’m not sure how a longer iron is going to help you unless it’s not long enough to engage the cut today or you are trying to create a very aggressive cutting plane? You are not going to be able to advance the iron past a certain point anyways unless you are trying to make a scrub plane in which case the mouth opening doesn’t matter. If you get a new iron what you want is a thicker iron that will push the tip forward in the body more and close up the mouth without needing to advance the iron a ton. The difference a thicker iron can make is pretty significant. I have a Stanley #6 where after replacing the iron with a Hock model I had to not only push the frog as far back as it will go but also file out the mouth a bit. The Hock was probably twice the thickness of the original Stanley iron and my Lie-Nielsen’s irons are about the same so I know both those brands would at least help. If it will be enough I don’t know but it might be worth giving it a try and worst case you have a good solid iron when you start to work on shimming the frog.

View SignWave's profile

SignWave

324 posts in 2503 days


#14 posted 09-20-2015 03:29 PM

The WoodRiver V3 plane blades are .0125” thick and will fill the gap and also extend further. It’s decent steel and a fair price.

-- Barry, http://BarrysWorkshop.com/

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 954 days


#15 posted 09-20-2015 04:11 PM

I wouldn’t do that. Probably gonna get a bunch of chatter if you put washers underneath the frog. I’d suggest taking deycarts advice.

You’re trying to turn a pinto into a mustang and it isn’t gonna happen.


Hercules planes like Clarkie said were made by Sargent in the 50s-60s right before they stopped making them. These were the lowest quality planes they made akin to the Handyman series from Stanley. The Hercules is a bit nicer than a standard handyman though. I deal in hand planes all the time and I can tell you that you have all the correct parts.

This plane was never meant to be anything other than a door stop. But that doesn t mean you can t tune it to be an ok plane.

You may want to look at the holes in the frog that the screws pass through to attach it to the base. There might be a bit of flashing from the casting that wasn t cleaned up and prevents the frog from moving up forward. You can also lengthen the slot if there isn t anything to remove.

That being said, 1/64” of an opening is fine for smoothing in most woods. Your edge quality and they way you set the chipbreaker is going to determine the quality of the surface well before the mouth size will. A tight mouth is only needed when you are working with something with really twisted grain.

A sharp edge is the most important factor!

- Deycart


-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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