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Argh, flattening a plane fail.. Help

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Forum topic by woodtablet posted 03-13-2016 04:19 AM 956 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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woodtablet

30 posts in 702 days


03-13-2016 04:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane refurbishing sharpening

Today, I was very excited to buy my used first hand plane. I read a couple of blog posts to stay away from planes that have pitted soles or cracks in the mouth. At the tool swap meet I found a Bailey/Stanley No4 that fitted the description above, and the blade edge looked OK.

I brought it home and started to flatten the sole. On a glass plate with 250/100/60 grit wet sand paper I worked on the sole for almost 2 hours. I kept going down in grit because it was taking so long. I had lots of water added a couple of drops of dish soap ( at the end). At first my goal was to remove the surface discoloring, but after an hour and a half I drew lots of lines on the sole with a sharpy and worked the sole until the lines were gone. Phew, two hours of work and I am done.. I put things away and dried off all the parts; then reassembled it. For giggles I put a straight edge to sole width wise and found the middle of the sole higher than the edges all up and down the sole. Argh… I flatten the sole assembled and under tension, just like when I checked.

My back aches, what do I do quicken the process, or fix this? I can’t do 2 more hours, there must be a better way.

Sore,
Gary


21 replies so far

View Pezking7p's profile

Pezking7p

3097 posts in 1113 days


#1 posted 03-13-2016 04:28 AM

Yikes, I would think flattening a convex sole is about like trying to joint a convex board: you’re fighting an uphill battle. I would get a belt sander and carefully try to split the middle of the sole. Or find a friend with a mill who can flatten the bottom for me.

-- -Dan

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14559 posts in 2145 days


#2 posted 03-13-2016 04:38 AM

Heavy duty…

80 grit. keep the plane moving. Retract the cutter to avoid the belt. Hold the plane like you would use it.

Then replace with a 100-120 grit. rinse, repeat.

Only needed IF the sole IS out of flat. Sole can be a bit rounded around the edges, and the very front edge, and the rear edge. A #4 length plane will sand very nicely on a 3×21” beltsander. Then, check for flat, and then finish by hand as needed. Should only take 10-15minutes to finish up on the beltsander. Unless, you want to do all that work by hand. I don’t, I use the beltsander. A framing square can provide enough of a straight edge to check with. Leave the feeler gauges in the drawer. Strong light behind the straightedge, look for any light showing through.

Toe, front & back of the mouth opening, and the heel do need to be coplanar, the rest only needs to be close.

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

View TheTurtleCarpenter's profile

TheTurtleCarpenter

824 posts in 528 days


#3 posted 03-13-2016 04:54 AM

I think you have a couple more hours of sanding.! On a dead flat surface.. Thin glass will flex and sandpaper will roll up on the edge if not glued down. If its convex it has to be the surface you are sanding on. I also don’t believe you have to have the blade in and torqued down to flatten it. The flex when you put the blade in and lock down the cap is a non issue or Lie Nielsen would do the same when they manufacture their soles, I just don’t think it makes any difference personally unless it’s a lightweight block plane. Just think thru how this is happening and what is causing these results. Keep at it and you will overcome. And stay away from belt sanders.

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle",,,,,member MWTCA area K. Kentucky

View daddywoofdawg's profile

daddywoofdawg

1010 posts in 1037 days


#4 posted 03-13-2016 05:02 AM

you don’t need the blade and chip-breaker in to flatten the sole.loosen the frog and then check your sole,then remove the screws and check again.if still the same then put the frog back in a tight NOT torqued down,just need it not to move.and then flatten,or go to the bay and buy a donor body,and replace what’s missing.and bay the old body.

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Rick M

7910 posts in 1842 days


#5 posted 03-13-2016 05:08 AM

I start with 80 grit because I have a roll of it and it doesn’t take long. I spray glue the paper to my tablesaw and move the plan back forth as if I were planing the saw top. You don’t have to go beyond 80 grit if you don’t want to, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t; it’s just for looks.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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jeth

249 posts in 2300 days


#6 posted 03-13-2016 05:11 AM

I would say if you struggled with the hand sanding then the belt sander might come out worse…
Try using a narrow strip of abrasive and pushing the plane straight along so the strip abrades just the high area in the middle (if your sole is 2” then about an inch wide should do it), strong deliberate strokes, forward only, concentrating on even pressure down through the sole. Keep at at, doing the same as before with your sharpie a few times as things progress. Keep going until you have created a slight hollow along the middle of the sole, then carefully continue to remove the hollow leaving it flat.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14559 posts in 2145 days


#7 posted 03-13-2016 05:18 AM

Just going by what I have learned over the years of rehabbing these old planes. Maybe a little bit of watching paul Sellers do this very thing? Of course, Paul uses just the sanding belts. i just find the beltsander to take the drudgery out of the process.

You want things set up in the plane just the same as if you are using the plane.

Quick check I do to see IF a sole does need to be flattened: Set the plane on a flat surface. Place one finger on a corner of the plane’s body, plance another finger at the corner diagonally from the first. Try to “rock” the plane. Then move the finger across to the other two corners, and try again. Finally, have them deadcenter on the ends. Any rocking? IF there wasn’t any, put the plane to work.

Black sharpie lines across the sole: Merely a way to keep track of how you are doing. Right out on the edges? A little rounding over doesn’t hurt a thing. It does prevent those sharp edges from digging into the surface. Same with right at the ends. A little rounding up on the heel helps prevent the heel from digging in when you pull the plane back towards you. Sellers has been known to even take a file to do the rounding overs.

Have the slightst idea how a “NEW’’ plane will wear…...over the 100 years most of the good, old planes were used. I doubt if I will be around that long to even care. I deal with the old, vintage planes.

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

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OSU55

1056 posts in 1451 days


#8 posted 03-13-2016 06:38 PM

Torqueing frog screws and clamping the blade with the lever cap didn’t cause a perfect convex shape side to side of the sole, I’m afraid you may have accomplished that when trying to flatten. I regularly use 50-60 grit paper or belts on 1/4” plate glass placed on a flat surface and get flat soles. Use spray adhesive (lightly) to hold paper/belt down. Just as good as 12” thick granite gauging slabs I’ve used for the same thing. Frog should be torqued and blade clamped and retracted. Where and how much pressure is applied will effect where material gets removed. Start with a straight edge, and use it some during to check progress, not after 2 hrs. Use rough grit till flat enough, then 100 -120 to smooth it up some, smear on candle wax and go. A super polished sole just gets scratched up.

I’ve had plane soles surface ground flat, without the frog and handles installed, due to fixturing. I had to finish them by hand due to the stresses from handles, frogs and clamped blades.

So, using your sharpie, straight edge, and 60 grit, go back to work. I don’t bother with water, I keep the shop vac handy to clean up the dust often. Pay attention to how you apply force to the plane effects the sharpie marks on the sole. Don’t stroke the plane sideways (did you do that before?), always front to back. I will reverse the plane in my hands every so often, and change the position of my hands, to focus on high areas – where and how much pressure effects the end result.

Doesn’t have to be perfectly flat. Slightly convex front to rear is ok, concave is not. Here is a description. I slightly round all edges. 1st with a file, then on the sanding bed. A sole has to be probably .010” out before I go to a belt sander – my little 3×21 does not have a big enough flat area for this to end well unless the sole is really out.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 948 days


#9 posted 03-13-2016 06:42 PM

Beware of rocking it. I rarely touch the bottom unless I’m getting funny shavings.

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

View JayT's profile

JayT

4773 posts in 1673 days


#10 posted 03-13-2016 07:20 PM



Beware of rocking it. I rarely touch the bottom unless I m getting funny shavings.

- TheFridge

This.

I’m also guessing that you inadvertantly caused the convex surface. Easy to do with little experience and a short plane, like your #4. Mark the high spots, take them down a little, check for flat. Lather rinse and repeat until flat.

For future planes, don’t worry about flattening unless it’s really out and won’t work correctly.

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

View unbob's profile

unbob

718 posts in 1365 days


#11 posted 03-13-2016 07:50 PM



I would say if you struggled with the hand sanding then the belt sander might come out worse…
Try using a narrow strip of abrasive and pushing the plane straight along so the strip abrades just the high area in the middle (if your sole is 2” then about an inch wide should do it), strong deliberate strokes, forward only, concentrating on even pressure down through the sole. Keep at at, doing the same as before with your sharpie a few times as things progress. Keep going until you have created a slight hollow along the middle of the sole, then carefully continue to remove the hollow leaving it flat.

- jeth

This is good advice, most of the time its better to selectively remove material. I use this method to start to get a sole flat. Then finish off by hand scraping. But, that’s going a bit far for the non metal workers.

View woodtablet's profile

woodtablet

30 posts in 702 days


#12 posted 03-14-2016 12:15 AM

Wow, thanks everyone. I am watching the Paul Sellers video on restoring an old plane. I am using a piece of plate glass that I got from a Rockler kit. I think you guys are right, I must be causing the convex. I don’t know how I am doing it, I am just going back and forth ( front to back ).. Just switched to trying to be like Paul. Two fingers in the front, and one hand on the handle. I’ll let you know tonight after I get a chance to get back in the shop.

View JayT's profile

JayT

4773 posts in 1673 days


#13 posted 03-14-2016 12:21 AM

I don t know how I am doing it, I am just going back and forth ( front to back )..

- woodtablet

When someone pushes forward, there tends to be more pressure on the toe of the plane and less on the heel, so a bit more metal is taken off the front. When you pull, that is reversed. That starts the convex shape. Then, as you continue to work, it gets worse and worse because you end up with only part of the plane touching and the metal removal on the toe and heel is only accentuated.

Only going one direction will help solve the issue.

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

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3663 posts in 1727 days


#14 posted 03-14-2016 04:41 AM

Find a granite countertop shop and get a long thick piece, several. I’ve got 6 different ones. They will have lots of cutoff scraps and will more than likely give them to you. The thicker the better they won’t flex. Do what your doing and make sure the granite lays flat. It will work. It just takes time.

View woodtablet's profile

woodtablet

30 posts in 702 days


#15 posted 03-14-2016 08:20 PM

I took the plane to the belt sander, got it pretty much flat. Since the grit was really low on the belt sander ( I only have 1 grit) I decided to clean it up on the plate glass again, and bam. I am causing the convex shaping. I stopped quickly and went back to the belt sander and left it.

I will try the strokes only in one direction, that will make my technique quite a bit different. I just hope it helps. I havent even touched the blade yet. With the two fingers on the toe method, I thought it would be diffferent, but its not.

So, how should I be stroking this ? I am just pushing along the plate like I would across wood.

I ll see if I can find a nice countertop shop.

Thanks everyone!

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