Stanley #4 meets the machine shop

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Forum topic by Mainiac Matt posted 06-09-2017 03:24 AM 1646 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mainiac Matt

7795 posts in 2260 days

06-09-2017 03:24 AM

I bought this plane on Fleebay years back and it has always been a source of frustration as the sole is pretty far from flat. I attempted to flatten the sole on a granite surface plate with sand paper. But after an hour of elbow grease I realized that the sole needed two much metal to be removed to fart around this way.

I work with a 70 year old part time machinist and today I got schooled on how to indicate a surface and how to do precision work on a surface grinder.

We mounted the plane body into a tool maker’s vice and the set that on the milling machine vise. Then we mounted the test indicator and adjusted the plane body till it was level. Then we identified and marked the high and low spots.

Then we put the toolmakers wise on the magnetic chuck on the surface grinder. I only took off 0.001” at a time to minimize heat buildup and thermal expansion.

Here’s the surface after removing 0.006”. Just a few mo passes and I’ll be done

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

15 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13751 posts in 4029 days

#1 posted 06-09-2017 03:36 AM

Awesome to have access to machinery like that. It’s going to be nice.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View bandit571's profile


19488 posts in 2615 days

#2 posted 06-09-2017 03:42 AM

Be sure to recheck the flatness AFTER you have the plane back together, and all tightened down.

Just a heads up….

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

View Woodwrecker's profile


4128 posts in 3507 days

#3 posted 06-09-2017 03:53 AM

Very cool indeed.
Tell that old machinist that one of your woodworking buddies thinks he’s awesome!
(And let’s see some shaving when you have that thing whistling).

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View unbob's profile


804 posts in 1835 days

#4 posted 06-09-2017 04:42 AM

Be sure to recheck the flatness AFTER you have the plane back together, and all tightened down.

Just a heads up….

- bandit571

Yes, there will be some distortion. I have taken some pretty badly warped planes, and milled or surface ground the soles. The main problem being the thin and often brittle castings distort on their own.

View Jerry's profile


2573 posts in 1579 days

#5 posted 06-09-2017 07:41 AM

You’ve done what we all wish we had. Great job!

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View lightcs1776's profile


4190 posts in 1585 days

#6 posted 06-09-2017 02:45 PM

Pretty cool, Matt. Sure saved yourself a lot of work.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View JRsgarage's profile


236 posts in 441 days

#7 posted 06-09-2017 03:20 PM

be nice to do a #7 like that…just wonder what it would do to the integrity of the plane w/o assembled pressure..

-- Two is One, One is None

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Mainiac Matt

7795 posts in 2260 days

#8 posted 06-09-2017 04:00 PM

Today I did the leading edge of the lever cap as it was very rough. Nice and smooth now.

I debated about the frog, which had very course grinding on it but was a tricky geometry to clamp and grind (the lateral adjustment lever is riveted and I didn’t want to mess with it). Ultimately, I decided to do it for the challenge. I had to swing the lever to one side for one half and then switch at the mid point. I managed to level the surface to within 0.001” by taking light passes (and only nicked the washer on the lever once :^o )

I thought about flexure from tightening up the frog and lever cap… which given my propensity to over-tighten everything I touch, was a real risk. I managed to restrain myself, but can’t check for mechanically induced warp as the plane doesn’t fit into either the machinist vise or the Kurt mill vise when assembled.

I could do the sand paper trick on my granite surface plate at home, but maybe ignorance is bliss :^)

Can’t wait to touch up the blade and give it a whirl.

I have a vintage 6C that I’d like to take a crack at on the surface grinder, but I’m pretty sure it is longer than the range of motion on the table.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Markmh1's profile


69 posts in 375 days

#9 posted 06-09-2017 07:18 PM

Nice pictures!

The issue I have here is clamping the sides of the plane in a vise. The clamping pressure of the vise jaws is bound to push the sides toward parallel with one another. If the plane was twisted, the clamping pressure will untwist it to some degree. When clamped the sides will be parallel, the sole ground 90 degrees to the sides.
When unclamped, the twist will come back.

Now the sides are not parallel, nor is the sole at 90 degrees to the sides, nor is the sole flat.

I’m seven days of rain concerning stuff like this. My advice would be to assemble and adjust the plane to see how it works. If it works, don’t fix it!


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Mainiac Matt

7795 posts in 2260 days

#10 posted 06-09-2017 07:40 PM

Hey Mark,

I was also concerned about the vise…. but my concern was that it would fracture the brittle cast iron. However:

1. The support structure for the frog is actually in the vise, so we weren’t just clamping the wings.
2. The vise was not clamped down hard. While tramming the sole and finding the high spots, we were able to adjust it’s position with a firm tap of my middle finger. And even in the grinder, as long as one takes light passes (<0>ll see how it turns out this weekend. Fingers are crossed.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Markmh1's profile


69 posts in 375 days

#11 posted 06-09-2017 10:14 PM

Hi Matt,

As long as it was lightly clamped, you should be OK. That surface grinder is sure the fastest way to flatten that out.
I wouldn’t check it unless it didn’t work. The old saying is, “Don’t ask the question unless you want to know the answer.”

Maybe your 6C would fit turned at an angle on the magnet.


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Don W

18661 posts in 2499 days

#12 posted 06-11-2017 04:45 PM

Don’t forget the frog seat to frog legs height​.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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Mainiac Matt

7795 posts in 2260 days

#13 posted 06-12-2017 01:36 PM

I dressed up the finished surfaces on the under side of the frog with a file. Fortunately, the machining on the top of the sole, where it mates to the frog, was pretty decent, so I just cleaned them up.

I re-sharpened the iron using a Work Sharp and then did Scary Sharp on a granite surface plate with 2,000 grit wet dry paper. Put it all back together again and tested.

I’m smiling from ear to ear. This plane has never cut so well. I think it’s now a keeper.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View CFrye's profile


10067 posts in 1771 days

#14 posted 06-12-2017 02:06 PM

Where’s the shavings pictures, Matt?

-- God bless, Candy

View TheFridge's profile (online now)


9069 posts in 1417 days

#15 posted 06-12-2017 03:15 PM

Yeah bro. Shavings or it didn’t happen bro. :)

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

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