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Refurb Plane Sole Plate with Power Sander?

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Forum topic by mickeyw posted 09-21-2010 09:44 PM 1833 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mickeyw

13 posts in 2271 days


09-21-2010 09:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane refurbishing

I have two old planes to refurbish. One Stanley and one Dunlap. I have a stand mounted sander that has a belt and a wheel. What is your opinion of using the flat bed sander with fine grit to work on the soles of the planes?

-- Mickey W Atlanta, GA Metro


8 replies so far

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swirt

2118 posts in 2438 days


#1 posted 09-21-2010 09:50 PM

Works fine. Use wet-dry paper and spray it with a bit of water as it goes. Make sure the table is square to the sander and you’ll end up with at least one square side too. ;)

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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canadianchips

2360 posts in 2463 days


#2 posted 09-22-2010 04:12 AM

I would not be to worried about the sole of your plane having to be perfectly flat. If you have a digital micrometer….....throw it AWAY. We are working with wood !(That is like listening to people set the fence on table saw and the micro meter reading is 1/1000 different , from front to back of table!)
Some of the old planes actually came out of factory and the sole was not flat ! The old carpenters were still able to flatten the board or plane the edge.
As you said,they are old planes.
You do not want to take too much off, the mouth of your plane will get wider as you remove the thickness of sole.(Oh yeah ,my block plane has an adjustable mouth.) START sanding ! slowly

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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swirt

2118 posts in 2438 days


#3 posted 09-22-2010 05:57 PM

BoiseJoe brings up some good concerns. As with all tuning, care must be taken. And I didn’t give enought info in my answer to keep your plane “safe”. Additional care has to be taken with powertools because they are more aggressive and can make things go bad more quickly. You didn’t mention the sizes of the planes so that is a consideration. Don’t use the sander if its platen (the flat surface) is shorter than the length of the plane.

Most people recommend the abrasive on glass or granite method automatically. That really only works if the plane’s sole has two points of contact AND has little flex. If the sole is humped, then it rarely makes that better. In fact it can make it worse. So it pays to diagnose how your planes are out of flat. Are they concave or convex.

Even with the granite/glass method, the pressures needed to lap them, sometimes does little to remove a concave sole. Planes flex more than most people realize and if you press down firmly on the plane that is touching at heel and toe, the middle sometimes flexes down, so you lap until the scratch pattern looks like everything has been leveled, but then the straightedge reveals it is still out of flat … all that work with not much improvement.

The power sander offers the benefit of being able to remove material faster and without needing to apply a lot of pressure that might cause the sole to flex. Since the method is more stable (your aren’t rocking your weight into it as you push the plane across a flat surface) you can more readily remove a hump if the plane is convex.

You do have to check that the sides are square to the sole. Normally this is only important if you plan to use it for shooting, but in this case, as BoiseJoe pointed out, if the sides started off not being at 90 degrees to the sole, then you rest the side against the tool-rest, you will end up with an out of parallel mouth. So the safest course of action would be to check to see that the sides are square. If they aren’t, put the sole down on the tool rest (that you should already have made sure is square to the platten) and flatten one or both sides. Then rest it on the flattened-squared side and flatten the sole.

Go slowly, and after an initial touch to the sander, look at the sole and see what the scratched areas are telling you. If there is a lot being removed from one side or corner, it may indicate that the toolrest is not square….double check it.

Whether you use the sander or the granite/glass method, make sure you mount the blade in the plane (but retracted) with the frog and chipbreaker and cap all tightened and in place. The frog and blade can have a bit of a warping effect on the plane’s body so it is important to do the lapping with them in place. (Ron Hock has a nice photo of this happening in a plane that he cut away so you can see it.)

The sander does not have to be feared, as it can actually solve problems that can’t be solved on granite/glass. But care and consideration for the actual problem you are trying to solve does have to be taken.

I also echo CanadianChips caution that you may not have to get carried away with flattening them. Try them out with a sharp blade and see how they do. Only resort to additional flattening if they don’t seem to be doing what they are supposed to.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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mickeyw

13 posts in 2271 days


#4 posted 09-22-2010 07:47 PM

Thanks for the lengthy reponse Joe. I will most certainly try them out before tackling the sole. This will be my first try at hand planing so I don’t know exactly what to expect. My ultimate goal is to build a small simple piece of furniture without a single milli volt of electricity being used. That is except for my Work Sharp 3000 for sharpening. I love this machine.

-- Mickey W Atlanta, GA Metro

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swirt

2118 posts in 2438 days


#5 posted 09-22-2010 08:12 PM

What to expect depends on the plane. I think I remember you saying in another thread that the Dunlop was essentially a #3. You should expect it to take thin continuous width shavings from the surface of a flattened board. It should not be difficult to push. If the wood is even grained (not a lot of rising and falling) it should leave behind a nice smooth surface. Being a 3 I would be relatively surprised if it was all that far out of flat. Those small ones don’t seem to warp as bad in my limited experience with them. If indeed it is out of flat, it will not be all that hard to flatten. It is the longer planes that prove more difficult in that regard

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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mickeyw

13 posts in 2271 days


#6 posted 09-22-2010 08:25 PM

The Dunlap was my Pa in laws. The blade looks like he sharpened it with a file. I put it in the Work Sharp at 25 degrees bevel. The first bite at 80 grit picked up about 50% of the thick part of his bevel. Would that be about right, or should I use 20%, and then a 25% micro bevel? If a micro bevel is even needed on a plane iron? With this machine a micro bevel is done by raising the bevel angle by 5 degrees at the end. I am in love with it for chisels, and the 80 grit sure makes a pretty looking cutting edge so far.

-- Mickey W Atlanta, GA Metro

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swirt

2118 posts in 2438 days


#7 posted 09-22-2010 09:58 PM

I’m not sure I am following you on the percentages you are talking about. If he filed it with a file you may want to put a square across it and see if the beveled end is square to the end. If not, mark it and square it up on a grinder (not sure if that can be done on a worksharp or not) Then put on a new bevel followed by a microbevel if you want.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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mickeyw

13 posts in 2271 days


#8 posted 09-23-2010 02:22 PM

Yes I have the wide blade but haven’t installed it yet. I’m still playing with old misc chisels. I have a new set of 4 Marples, but I want to get my screwups out of the way first. LOL. I will surely try the chisels on the top. I have the chisel port set to square now, but I really have a tough time with the more narrow chisels sliding them up into the slot without lifting them or rocking them .

-- Mickey W Atlanta, GA Metro

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