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Forum topic by Kennethjg posted 02-03-2016 01:40 AM 988 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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49 posts in 1137 days

02-03-2016 01:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane hand plane stanley sweetheart stanley

I’m fairly new to hand planes, so I’ve been trying to take in as much information as I can on planes and how to use them. And my first planes I bought were the revamped Stanley sweetheart smoother and low angle jack plane.
At first I liked them, but the more I use them, and the more I use other brands, the less I like them. I’ve heard that the ideal shaving from a smoothing plane is ont that spans the width of the blade. Try as I might, I can only get (thin) shavings that are about half the width of the blade.
And the low angle jack will only get a shaving across the width of the blade if I shift the lateral adjustment all the way to the right. In fact, if you look at the blade in relation to the mouth, there’s a very visible skew.
In the future, I plan to replace both of them with something else. I really like the feel and operation of the wood river planes I have.
In the mean time, are these blade issues or sole issues, or something else?
Any help would be appreciated

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.

18 replies so far

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1354 days

#1 posted 02-03-2016 01:45 AM

I bet the blade is not flat but a slight curve to it.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 1289 days

#2 posted 02-03-2016 02:54 AM

Like conifur says, make sure your blades are square. You do want the corners very slightly curved so as to not leave tracks in your work, but other than the very corners, yes, you should be getting a shaving nearly the width of your blade.

Also, make sure that your sharpening medium, be it stones or the scary sharp method, is also very flat I had an issue once upon a time where my stone was dished out, and it transferred to my blade.

To check the sole for flatness, color it all over with a sharpie and then run it over some sandpaper that is stuck down to a very flat surface – a piece of thick glass, really flat tile, or even one of those $30 granite surface plates you can get at woodcraft. As the sandpaper makes the sharpie go away, you’ll be able to tell if your sole is flat.

As in so many things woodworking related, flat and square is very important And, sharp, really, truly sharp, fixes everything!

-- Learn Relentlessly

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15701 posts in 2821 days

#3 posted 02-03-2016 03:12 AM

What brand low angle jack has a lateral adjuster?

EDIT: we talking about both SW re-issues?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Kennethjg's profile


49 posts in 1137 days

#4 posted 02-03-2016 03:16 AM

Correct, both are sweetheart re-issues. I’m not sure if it’s called a lateral adjustment on that plane, but it’s what tilts the blade.
and as far as the stone goes, I don’t have any issues on my other planes. I have some wood river planes, and they cut beautifully.

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.

View 8iowa's profile


1587 posts in 3963 days

#5 posted 02-03-2016 03:24 AM

The sharpening suggestions above are vital to success. Remember, an edge has two surfaces, the back and the bevel. Flatten the back first.

When I place the sharpened blade back in the plane and secure it, I first place the lateral adjustment lever in the middle. and then I don’t fool with it anymore as it’s adjustment is too coarse.

Hold the plane upside down and look down the sole. lower the blade until it appears as a slight “line” above the sole’s surface. If it is “cocked” to one side, take a small hammer and tap the top edge of the blade until the line is even with the plane’s sole. This will give you a shaving across the whole blade. Start with a very thin cut and adjust the blade depth as needed.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Kennethjg's profile


49 posts in 1137 days

#6 posted 02-03-2016 03:54 AM

Here’s a picture of the blade at the angle necessary for it to cut evenly.

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15701 posts in 2821 days

#7 posted 02-03-2016 05:37 AM

Is the edge actually square to the sides of the cutter? It actually isn’t a dealbreaker if it ain’t, but it’s easier to fettle that way. And, is the sharpened edge not cambered at all?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View OSU55's profile


1971 posts in 2192 days

#8 posted 02-03-2016 12:50 PM

Only 2 things will create the need to skew the blade – either the blade bed is skewed to the sole, or the blade edge is not perpendicular to the blade side, which is the more likely culprit. In either case, blade edge vs blade side angle will correct it. Doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s the purpose of the lateral adjustment, but your’s does need to be “squared up” a bit. If the blade bed is out of kilter with the sole that much, return the plane if possible.

Those are pretty good planes once properly fettled. You might find some help here. I’m guessing the Woodriver planes are all Stanley bench plane designs, with a 45° cut angle. The advantage of a LA Jack is the ability to have any cut angle you want by changing the bevel angle – ~25° for end grain/shooting board, up to ~60° for wild grain to prevent tearout. I have several blades sharpened to different angles for different tasks – 28°, 37°, & 50°.

View Kennethjg's profile


49 posts in 1137 days

#9 posted 02-03-2016 01:09 PM

As far as I can tell, the cutting edge is square to the sides of the blade. I put it up to a square and there’s nowhere near a gap like you see in the picture. I contacted Stanley to see what they can do for me. As far as I can tell, the problem with the LA jack is the bed for the blade.
The smoothing plane, however, I haven’t checked for camber, but it shouldn’t have one. I knocked the very corners off when I sharpened it to try to keep track marks away, but I never intentionally put a camber on in. My stones are fairly new.
To me, it sounds like the sole may not be true (unless I just haven’t set it up right). I put a straight edge across it and looked for light between the two, and it looked like there were some inconsistencies.
I’ll try flattening it out.

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.

View TheFridge's profile


10744 posts in 1688 days

#10 posted 02-03-2016 01:17 PM

All bets are off with the new ones bud.

Typically when someone says sweetheart they’re speaking of vintage (1920s-1930s-ish).

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

View JayT's profile


5961 posts in 2413 days

#11 posted 02-03-2016 01:41 PM

I concur with the above comments, especially Fridge.

The new Stanley Sweethearts are pretty hit and miss on quality, as far as I’ve seen and heard from others. If you take the time to really tune them up, they seem to perform well. It just might take quite a bit of work, or having Stanley replace the plane multiple times, until you get one that works correctly.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Kennethjg's profile


49 posts in 1137 days

#12 posted 02-03-2016 01:53 PM

I’m starting to find that out. But I was looking for something mid-range so I could have some decent planes without spending $1000

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3154 days

#13 posted 02-03-2016 03:28 PM

Ken, if you want to have good planes but stay within a financial limit, seek out used stuff. Old planes can be made to out perform the ones you are using now and cost about the same or even less. In my entire plane assortment, only two were purchased new (they are specialty planes). I sought out specific time frames for Stanley models and pre-Marples Record planes, properly tuned them and and put them to work. They are excellent users and the money spent would be comparable to purchasing new Wood River or Stanley planes (which also require tuning to even come close to the same performance as the old guys).

Best of luck in whatever route you go.

-- Mike

View bandit571's profile


21775 posts in 2885 days

#14 posted 02-03-2016 03:37 PM

One other thing to try…check the mouth opening, as sometimes they are not square to the sides of the plane. Simple fix, mark a line to make the opening square to the sides, then use a file to fix. Sole also may be a tad convex in the middle, see how a flattenning will do.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View rwe2156's profile


3171 posts in 1683 days

#15 posted 02-03-2016 05:10 PM

You found out why the term “Stanley downgrade” is true. It started in the 50’s.

WoodRiver far superior to new Stanleys. IMO they are a the best value out there for a new plane.

I have a WR 4, 6 a couple block planes and a side rabbet plane. I’m very satisfied with all of them. As far as performance, other than some blade tuning they were perfect out of the box.

They have a better lever, tighter adj screw, and thicker blade/cap iron, and heftier casting then the vintage Stanleys but they will both do the job better than what you have.

I also have a LN 4 1/2 and LAJack. I think the WR can compete with them.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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