Really Dumb Plane Question

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 12-02-2011 05:33 AM 1700 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14940 posts in 2691 days

12-02-2011 05:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hand plane blade plane

I wish I could post this anonymously to save the embarassment but here goes. I recently purchased a HF plane, took it home, sharpened it super sharp, and then tried to use it. No joy. It just grabbed and wouldn’t produce shavings. A buddy came over (also a power tool guy) and we fooled with it to no avail. I was about to dumpsterize it when I decided to turn the blade over (bevel down). It then planed everything I tried, producing long, thin, beautiful shavings. How do you know which way the blade should go? Be nice! This is my first try with hand plane>

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

21 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


6929 posts in 2599 days

#1 posted 12-02-2011 05:39 AM

Went right to the top of the market huh? ; ) most planes the bevel will be down, the chip breaker will mate with the flate side. BTW, I did that too.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2676 days

#2 posted 12-02-2011 05:41 AM

Well, I think it always goes as you installed it the second time. It cannot not be properly assembled and adjust any other way. Go to ** and look at this. Is this the way you finally got it done. Personally I love it when a plan falls together. LOL Glad I am not the only one that does this kind of thing.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15353 posts in 2619 days

#3 posted 12-02-2011 06:01 AM

Which way should the iron go? The way that allows it to cut!


Bevel up planes have beds that allow the iron to sit at a very low angle. Without that low angle of the iron low, the geometry doesn’t work… Not the most scientific explanation, but it’s a decent rule of thumb…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3161 days

#4 posted 12-02-2011 06:04 AM

Andy, I LAUGH in your general direction(because I know you can take it). Also because that could have just as well been me. I actually laughed out loud. Thanks for making my day. :)

My guess as to problems you found(or may in the future find) is that you might be able to adjust it to get proper shaving, but keeping it adjusted to that pristine setting might cause consternation. I experienced the same thing with a WoodRiver #5 I bought 2 years ago. I took it back. You might consider taking yours back too. I say all this to encourage to check out the new V3 WoodRiver planes. Rob Cosman worked with WC to redesign these. They might be worth the trade up without breaking the bank. Oh, and you won’t have quite as bad of a stigma with these as with a HF handplane.

Hey, whatever route you take, I hope it works out for you.

PS: I bought a $15 HVLP sprayer last week. I have BIG aspirations for it. I can’t get too disappointed with it for only $15. :)

PSS: Thank you also for putting yourself out there for potential ribbing. You ask the questions others(of US) are too chicken to ask.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3079 days

#5 posted 12-02-2011 06:19 AM

Andy, thanks for asking for help. I had the same problem when I recenty bought one of those high tech shaving makers. I took the whole thing apart, flattened the sole – now looks beautiful, sharpened the blade and put it back together and tried using it. It grabbed, just like you described! I then flipped the blade over to change the angle of attack and it worked better. I haven’t been able to get a long ribbon yet . . . working on that! Best regards. Littlelpaw

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3649 days

#6 posted 12-02-2011 06:48 AM

unless it’s called a ‘bevel up plane’ or a ‘low angle plane’ the bevel goes down

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3304 days

#7 posted 12-02-2011 07:10 AM

LOL…LOL..LOL…LOL…LOL…LOL…..LOL….OH WAIT…I WAS JUST LOOKING INTO A MIRROR….LOL…...shoot andy, ive done that once before too…i think…no that was your article…my memory is so very bad…lol…....dont feel bad buddy, we all do stuff like live and learn… off to bed…loooooooong day at the va hospital…...after i feel like getting out of bed…maybe 10 or 11 am…ill fix a mushroom omlet…with some bacon…and then decide if im getting up…or going bnack to bed…wakw up..go over to my favorite mexican foog place…and load up on taco salad///with lots of chips and salsa…..yep…....then…try not to think about this post, as i will be in public…lol….......yea just blow it off andy….unless you do the same thing over again…if you do… better get ready to move….something like laughed out of the state…if you do..ill show up and help you setle in….see ya come morning/////grizzz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2691 days

#8 posted 12-02-2011 07:47 AM

Well! I feel a LOT better now. I was sure I was the only person on the planet who had ever done this but it appears that this is a commom error when power tool guys venture onto ‘the dark side’. I’m glad I could lighten up everyone’s night. Thanks for the comments and advice as always. Rance- I knew you were going to say that’s what I get for buying a hand plane but I have learned that you too have crossed over to the ‘dark side’. Mine works fine now and I only paid $10 for it! I may buy a hammer and hand saw next so be looking for more entertaining questions in the future.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2502 days

#9 posted 12-02-2011 12:56 PM


I may buy a hammer and hand saw next

Can I get in with some early advice? If you buy a saw with a hole at one end, well that’s a handle and your fingers go throughthe hole. Then to use it, you put the side with the jagged edge against the wood. I know that sounds counter-intuitive when what you really want is a nice smooth cut, but that’s just the way you do it unless you have lots of time.

As for the hammer, it should be T-shaped, and the top part of the T should be metal. That’s the head, which is what you actually hit the nail with. No, I wouldn’t like to hit a nail with my head either, but it’s a hammer, it was made to do that. Then the “upright” of the T is the handle, and that’s what you hold. Hold it right down near the bottom, not up at the top of the handle near the head. If you do hold it near the head, you’ll choke it and then it’s pretty well useless.

Above all though, enjoy your trip to the far, I mean dark side!

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3527 days

#10 posted 12-02-2011 02:18 PM

gfadvm, Try someones high end plane that is tuned up for business and the HF plane WILL find the dumpster!
I struggled for years with what I thought was a nice plane and could not figure out why anyone would buy one of those pricey ones. I bought a pricey one and found out in one second what the difference was. Be good to yourself…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Don W's profile

Don W

18718 posts in 2568 days

#11 posted 12-02-2011 02:54 PM

I’d be willing to bet 50% of the planes I pick up in antique shops and flea markets have the blade upside down. I often wonder if they are there because the previous owner didn’t know enough to try turning it over and couldn’t get it to work. The fact you got that HF plane to take nice shaving gained a little respect. They are not known for their high quality. Imagine what you’d do with a nice vintage stanley.

I agree with Smitty, the blade goes the way you can make it cut. I’ve had planes annoy me so bad I’ve tried them backward. I don’t recall it ever actually working but…....

Welcome to the slippery slope of hand tool disfunctionality

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

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2881 days

#12 posted 12-02-2011 07:38 PM

Don brings up an interesting point. I have purchased many antique planes and its not uncommon to take an old rusty plane apart to find the iron placed bevel up.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2961 days

#13 posted 12-03-2011 01:14 AM

The only dumb question is the one not asked- Dad

View darinS's profile


709 posts in 2868 days

#14 posted 12-03-2011 01:49 AM

Hey Knothead…my Dad told me the same thing.

Two weeks later, I asked him a question. His respone?
That’s a dumb question.

Decided I better learn to ask more intelligent questions after that.

-- They say many people die because of alcohol. They never realized how many of them are born because of it.

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 2481 days

#15 posted 12-03-2011 02:03 AM

If there is a chip breaker then the plane the plane was designed to be operated bevel down. See the video referenced by Grandpa. No chip breaker, then install bevel up. Having said that, if it works better the other way, I wouldn’t argue with it :)

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

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