Adjusting a plane iron with a hammer instead of the adjustment lever?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 07-25-2011 07:48 PM 1740 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2645 days

07-25-2011 07:48 PM

I’ve read several comments on the web by people who recommend using a little brass hammer to adjust the plane iron of a Stanley-type metal plane instead of using the lateral adjustment lever. Does anyone on LJ do this? Why?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

8 replies so far

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2842 days

#1 posted 07-25-2011 07:55 PM

The only reason I can think of would be if the lateral adjustment lever was broke or not working well. I have had some that don’t seem to work anymore. I usually can just adjust the blade by hand I don’t see how a hammer works any better.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Loren's profile


10241 posts in 3610 days

#2 posted 07-25-2011 08:58 PM

I don’t do it but I can see how it might work well with certain
old planes where the lever is absent or just doesn’t work smoothly.

View Bertha's profile


13517 posts in 2655 days

#3 posted 07-25-2011 09:06 PM

Wow, I replied to this and it got deleted. Weird. I said that I don’t bother on bench planes unless it’s broken (see avatar). I use it all the time to advance woodbodies and expecially on router planes. I just scrape, scrape scrape, tap, tap, tap, scrape, scrape, scrape. Much quicker.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2602 days

#4 posted 07-25-2011 09:08 PM

I can see on some of my planes where the previous owner(s) have added tell tale signs of this chapter to their character.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Bertha's profile


13517 posts in 2655 days

#5 posted 07-25-2011 09:18 PM

^me too, David. Some of my historical owners were quite aggressive, so put it kindly.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2512 days

#6 posted 07-25-2011 09:18 PM

It’s easier and faster to do very, very slight adjust with a small hammer. When you have it almost perfect, and really just could leave it, the hammer won’t overshoot you as easy as the lever.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View WayneC's profile


13751 posts in 4059 days

#7 posted 07-26-2011 01:15 AM

Yes. Finer level of control of the adjustment. If you get/have the book making and mastering wood planes, there are plans for making a brass adjusting hammer from round brass stock and wood…

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

View lenpam's profile


7 posts in 2487 days

#8 posted 08-18-2011 04:01 AM

Lots of guys use brass hammers which is why many old metal bodied planes and infill planes have hammer marks on the toe and heals,this was the usual way to adjust plane irons for a long time before Norris made his adjusters and Stanley made their style. I’d say the best hammers are those with leather covered tips or even wooden hammers because you still get the result but not the damage. I’ll use a piece of scrap wood before a any metal hammers ,that includes brass made hammers as well. Wooden planes and infill planes with strike buttons help this but the strike buttons often fail and break after repeated use. Len


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