Opening Up a Plane Mouth (Iron body)

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Forum topic by andy6601 posted 09-06-2011 04:48 PM 3024 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View andy6601's profile


91 posts in 2666 days

09-06-2011 04:48 PM

I have a Stanley #7 that is not is the best shape to say the least. It has rust, cob webs and the black paint on the inside of the body where the tote and the handle attach is chipping away. But I got it for $20.00 on CL so not to bad. However I want to tune it up, because I want the experience and to have a functional plane. However I can tell already that this guy is going to need the mouth enlarged to except a thick iron and cap iron. The one that is with it is paper thin compared to the newer plane irons.

I know that this is going to be work, and really I am not that worried about it and if I screw up I am out $20.00 and time but hey well worth it.

So my question is what is the best way to tackle this project (the opening of the mouth) and get a good end result. I am not trying to make this a fine tuned smoother, but I do not want it to be a scrub plane either. So any comments I welcome. BTW it is not a Bailey or bedrock, just a plane old Stanley. (Purdin the Pun)

8 replies so far

View Alster's profile


101 posts in 3411 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 04:59 PM

Before you start filing away at things, be sure that you’ve moved the frog as far back as you can get. It’s a much easier way to give yourself some wiggle room. Couple of screws, takes about thirty seconds. And then consider getting replacement irons from Veritas—great steel, thicker than original, but not quite as thick as Hock irons. Should drop right in, no filing required. I’ve got an old Stanley #5 with the Veritas iron that takes shavings every bit as nice as my Lie-Nielsen smoother.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2978 days

#2 posted 09-06-2011 05:09 PM

Definately have your irons before doing any modifying !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View wingate_52's profile


226 posts in 2767 days

#3 posted 09-06-2011 06:19 PM

The Japanese laminated Smoothcut blades are really good and the plane needs no modifications. I have a Rob Cosman blade and chipbreaker that needed the frog lowering, rather than the mouth widening. Otherwise the blade adjuster did not work, same with my Stanley No.3 and the Quangsheng blade combo. All great blades, but the Smoothcut needs no modifications to the plane.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3393 days

#4 posted 09-06-2011 06:32 PM

I had to do the exact same thing with my No. 7 once I got a hock blade and chipbreaker. Here is the e-mail Christopher Schwarz sent me a while back when I asked him this question….


The solution here is pretty simple: File the front opening of the mouth. I do this all the time and it works like a charm.

The best way to do this is to first estimate how much metal you need to remove from the front of the mouth, then mark a straight line on the sole of the plane indicating where you want the mouth to be.

Clamp the plane in a vise with its toe pointing toward the floor. Then use a smooth file to open the mouth down to the line.

Cast iron files easily, so this should be a five-minute job.

Then see if the mouth is open enough and repeat the process if necessary. Filing the mouth can produce a metal burr on the front edge of the mouth. You can remove that with a little fine sandpaper or a small file.

Hope this helps.

Christopher Schwarz

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View WayneC's profile


13783 posts in 4295 days

#5 posted 09-06-2011 06:44 PM

Eric has the right answer. I would second the other recommendations to wait until you have your blade/breaker. I have installed 5-6 Hock blades/breakers in my planes and have yet to need to file the mouth.

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

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2891 days

#6 posted 09-06-2011 06:46 PM

I have a #7 with a hock set and I’ve never opened the mouth in any of my planes. Do so with great trepidation.

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

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3393 days

#7 posted 09-06-2011 06:52 PM

I have 3 Stanleys from different eras. I replaced all 3 blades and chipbreakers with hock ones last year. The Stanley 4 and 5 from the 50’s and 70’s did not require opening, but the #7 from late 1880’s did.

It was very easy to do, I was hesitant to do it though but I’m not trying to sell these so I don’t mind modifying them. It was very simple to do and took 5 minutes like Chris said it would. Cast iron does file very easily. Just do it in small amounts.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View andy6601's profile


91 posts in 2666 days

#8 posted 09-06-2011 07:18 PM

Thanks everyone for all of the advice! This is great! I will get the iron and cap iron in hand before I do anything, just in case I don’t need to do anything!

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