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What is a 60 1/2 low angle plane used for?

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Forum topic by ppg677 posted 02-11-2016 04:31 AM 1087 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ppg677

78 posts in 324 days


02-11-2016 04:31 AM

I have an old Bailey No. 4 hand plane (got it from my grandpa) that I’ve used with mixed success.

In comparison to the No. 4, what is the “Stanley 12-139 Bailey No.60-1/2 Low Angle Block Plane” used for?

I hate sanding and am interested in a plane for final finishing. Using the No. 4 has been somewhat of a struggle. I get tear out more often than not! I’ve read articles on adjustment…I’ve tried sharpening the blade, etc. Maybe I’ll get the hang of it. But is that suitable for final finishing?

A local woodworker once demonstrated the beauty of a hand-planed final finish. It seemed smoother than 400-grit sandpaper! I have no idea what plane he was using other than that it was a Lie Nielsen. I’d love to get similar results. Preferably with a $100 plane rather than a $300 plane, but if the latter is what it takes, I’d spring for it.


31 replies so far

View Masontel's profile

Masontel

5 posts in 304 days


#1 posted 02-11-2016 04:40 AM

I would not use the 60 1/2 for final finishing. It’s more used for end grain and chamfering corners. You don’t need a $300 plane just a very well sharpened smoother and some practice. A #4 can work. Also know the grain pattern and direction is important.
A 60 1/2 also needs to have a good sharp iron to work correctly.

-- Time makes more converts than reason - Thomas Paine

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6579 posts in 1618 days


#2 posted 02-11-2016 04:48 AM

Your #4 will give you super smooth finishes as well. Keep it sharp, take thin shavings, and set the chipbreaker super close to the edge. Like, less than 1/32” away.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2086 days


#3 posted 02-11-2016 05:14 AM

Block planes aren’t for final smoothing of faces of boards. Depending on the work you do, what you seek could be more like the #4 1/2 smoother, set the way jmart described, supplemented with scrapers and smaller smoothers like a #3 or even a #2.

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

View Andre's profile

Andre

1023 posts in 1274 days


#4 posted 02-11-2016 06:05 AM

Another option is to build a wooden smoothing plane, the cost of an iron and a chunk of some hard wood and away you go! Well maybe a good sharpening system and a few hours/days practice of fine tuning.
A real fine smoothing plane would be the Veritas Low Angle.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 954 days


#5 posted 02-11-2016 06:33 AM

I got a 60-1/2 thinking the same a while back. Not the right tool for the job.

With a plane. You have to learn the ins and outs. Flattening the iron, chipbreaker setup and mating, sharpening the iron, cambering the iron, relieving the edges to prevent tracks, and many other things that come to together to achieve what you are trying to do.

YouTube is your friend.

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

View JayT's profile

JayT

4788 posts in 1679 days


#6 posted 02-11-2016 12:44 PM

A well tuned #4 will give you the results you’re looking for. Doesn’t matter that it’s not a LN, there are many of us here that use vintage planes for smoothing. Block planes, like the 60-1/2, are great for small touch ups and tuning joinery but not for large areas or extended use. There’s a learning curve to getting a plane tuned and truly sharp. Keep working on the #4 and when everything starts to come together, you’ll be amazed as the results.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#7 posted 02-11-2016 12:50 PM

Can’t add anything to what has been said; but to repeat: get the #4 tuned up and razor sharp and it will do a great job!

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1063 posts in 1457 days


#8 posted 02-11-2016 01:14 PM

Depending on the wood and grain, the #4 will do just fine, and perform very closely to the bevel down LV & LN versions. As others said sharpening (my method), setting up the chip breaker (my method), and very light cuts can help a lot. Even tuned properly, bevel down planes can only do so much with reversing, swirly, burly grain. In these situations I use either bevel up planes (Veritas Bevel Up Smoother) with a high bevel angle or a scraper plane (Veritas). Card scrapers work almost as well, just harder on the hands and can introduce dips in the surface – they are perfect for tight areas the others won’t fit in. And yes, planes and scrapers can get a finish that doesn’t need sandpaper. It does take some practice.

I use a block plane for situations where a #4 is too big or unwieldy, where a smaller one handed plane balances or just fits/feels better. They do get used as smoothers, but only for narrow or small surfaces. I have multiple blades for the 60-1/2 sharpened at different angles depending on the grain and what I want.

A test you could do is put a 50° bevel on your block plane blade (63° cut angle) and try it in those tearout areas. Very light cuts – it will be hard to push – but will show you what a high cutting angle can do.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1812 posts in 606 days


#9 posted 02-11-2016 04:05 PM

I love my 60-1/2 block plane. I work with oak a lot and it is great for trimming up end grain and chamfering edges. However, it is not at all suited for finishing the face of boards. As others have said, and IMHO, the #4 you have is the best tool for that, or at least one of the best.

Others have hit the key points to setting the plane up but I’ll add a couple of things. First, make sure your chipbreaker mates perfectly to your cutting iron. When screw them together before putting them in the plane, hold them up to the light and make sure you can’t see any light between the two. If you can, first make sure the iron is perfectly flat and polished on the back. If it is and there’s still a gap, you’ll need to flatten the mating edge of the chipbreaker with a slight undercut so only the front edge makes contact. It’s also a good idea to polish the front edge of the chipbreaker to make sure there’s nowhere for shavings to hang up.

Second, break the corners of your cutting edge on the iron. You don’t need camber and you don’t need a big break, just enough to make sure you don’t leave tracks in the wood from the edges of the iron.

Finally, make sure your frog is flat and mates tightly with the cutter. Remove the lever cap and see if there’s any “rock” in the iron when it’s sitting loose on the frog. If so, use a file (sparingly) and remove the high spots.

Last thing to add is that if you do decide to get a 60-1/2 for other uses, I’d buy a vintage one instead of a new one. This is true for all Stanley planes, IMHO. If you want new planes, go with a high-end one like the Veritas or LN.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4459 posts in 3428 days


#10 posted 02-11-2016 05:21 PM

Check out Paul Sellers on the Tube. He’s a BIG fan of the #4 (me too), and has great info about set up and sharpening.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View thirdrail's profile

thirdrail

54 posts in 2132 days


#11 posted 02-11-2016 05:31 PM

Sharpening, along with proper alignment of the blade is what will make the difference. Another vote for taking a look at the Paul Sellers video.

-- Third rail

View ppg677's profile

ppg677

78 posts in 324 days


#12 posted 02-11-2016 06:36 PM

Thanks for the tips! I guess sharpening isn’t as straightforward as running the blade through the “Stanley 16-050 sharpening system” set for 30 degrees. That’s all I’ve done. Did it on one side of the block for a few minutes followed by the other side of the block for a few minutes.

http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-16-050-Sharpening-System/dp/B000KFTDSK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455215727&sr=8-1&keywords=Stanley+sharpening+kit

I’ll check out the Paul Sellers videos.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2086 days


#13 posted 02-11-2016 06:39 PM

Oh my yes, it’s not impossible to learn quickly, but there’s much more insight to know to get consistent, quality results.

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

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6579 posts in 1618 days


#14 posted 02-11-2016 06:43 PM

Yikes. You’d be having the same problems with any blade based off of sharpening with that. That won’t get you anywhere near sharp enough.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1812 posts in 606 days


#15 posted 02-11-2016 07:49 PM



Thanks for the tips! I guess sharpening isn t as straightforward as running the blade through the “Stanley 16-050 sharpening system” set for 30 degrees. That s all I ve done. Did it on one side of the block for a few minutes followed by the other side of the block for a few minutes.

http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-16-050-Sharpening-System/dp/B000KFTDSK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455215727&sr=8-1&keywords=Stanley+sharpening+kit

I ll check out the Paul Sellers videos.

- ppg677

Oh no. It’s definitely not that simple. That may work for a scrub plane but definitely not for a smoother. You’re going to want an extremely sharp edge that’s polished like a mirror. And IMO you’re going to want a shallower angle more like 25 degrees or even a little less. A 30 degree angle is more durable but not as sharp and won’t cut as clean. I’d look into scary sharp if that’s the only stone you have.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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