Removing crown from a plane sole

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by groland posted 12-12-2011 05:21 AM 2150 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View groland's profile


149 posts in 2833 days

12-12-2011 05:21 AM

I am starting a new post for follow-up on an earlier posting about flattening the sole of a plane.

I am working on the sole of a No. 5 Bailey plane. This sole was significantly out of flat, front-to-back, when I started working on it and after getting it looking good front to back, I discovered, to my dismay, that my lapping method—aluminium oxide self-sticking roll paper on a table saw bed—has left a significant crown from side to side on the sole thus ensuring that it will not lie flat on anything. Woe is me!

What do I do now? One kindly respondent suggested rubbing using a figure-8 pattern but the roll abrasive paper isn’t wide enough for that. Another suggested reversing the plane while lapping, but I did that turning it and working each way about half the time.

I really do not know what to do to remove this crown. It seems that once it becomes rounded, it will be very difficult to flatten it.

Any suggestions? Different methods/tools, etc.?



9 replies so far

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 1908 days

#1 posted 12-12-2011 05:32 AM

Here’s a random thought…. build a sled or skiis that ride on either side of it to keep it level, but are not on your sanding medium.
If the plane is clamped between the two of them, and level, you should be able to remove the crown.

At least it seems like it to me, but then, I’m a diesel mechanic, only trying to learn about wood working after almost 60 years.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Dave Pearce's profile

Dave Pearce

108 posts in 3094 days

#2 posted 12-12-2011 06:05 AM

Couple things you can do.

1. See if there’s a machine shop nearby that can surface grind the sole. Could be pretty expensive, but it will be flat. And lighter.
2. Use a heavier removal method, like scraping the sole with an old chisel in the area it’s crowned then move back to lapping the sole on sandpaper (or you can use a metal file insead of a chisel). Both those methods take some steady hands. It’d be pretty easy to gouge it out so it’s worse.
3. Find another No. 5 and stick the bad one on a shelf and call it pretty. Unless it’s got sentimental value and you really really really want to put it to use, that’s probably the easiest solution.

Stanley manufactured alot of planes over the years, there are lots of good examples, and a some bad examples. Steel banana was one term I’ve heard for the bad ones.


View Brandon's profile


4151 posts in 2373 days

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

Can you stick another piece of sand paper adjacent to the first one so that you have a wider area to work with?

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View jmos's profile


716 posts in 1791 days

#4 posted 12-12-2011 03:58 PM

How square are the sides of the plane to the sole? (at this point, probably square enough, eh)

Perhaps you could try turning the plane on its side and putting the sandpaper vertically. Might take some jiggering to get set up, but you could then press down hard on the side of the plane while you work it against the sandpaper and reestablish a flat on the sole. Once you’ve got a flat, then go back to horizontal flattening

Just a thought. Good luck!

-- John

View Bertha's profile (online now)


12989 posts in 2114 days

#5 posted 12-12-2011 04:46 PM

You lapped with your iron backed out but clamped down tight, right? If you’ve got room to move the frog up, I’d consider the machine shop for surfacing. I’m also guessing you mean convex like Cr1 poses. If it were me, I might buy a piece of skinny marble windowsill from Lowes (about 1 3/4 wide), glue on sandpaper with spray adhesive, then hit the high spot down the middle. Then return to your normal lapping with some care not to tip it. I think that if it’s a bedrock, I’d probably go machine shop; if it’s a Bailey 5, I’d risk ruining it. Good luck!

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

View Byron's profile


92 posts in 1802 days

#6 posted 12-20-2011 02:50 AM

you can hand scrape it flat. This is also the most accurate way. If it is really crowned and you have to remove a lot of material you can grind it close with a Dremel. To make a scraper you take an old file, it has to be good enough quality to have hard enough steel, and grind the end to a slight convex with a slightly greater then 90 degree angle.

You will also need a blueing compound I cant remember the name but its a very thin oil based pigment that is blue. Put a small amount of this on a surface you trust as flat like a joiner bed, and “spot” the sole of your plane. This means just moving the plane very uniformly and slightly just to mark the high spots. It is hard to do this with a convex surface which is why you use the Dremel. Then you put your plane in a vice just tight enough to hold it and scrape the blue high spots in a crisscross patter. Repeat this until you have a bunch of dots on the sole of your plane, then wipe the pigment off. Just be careful near the throat and go parallel to it.

Hope this helps, it is time consuming though

-- Byron Conn, Woodworking/Furniture Design at Rochester Institute of Technology,

View Clouseau's profile


55 posts in 2454 days

#7 posted 12-20-2011 06:50 PM

Do you have an area vocational school nearby? That would be a bood project for a first year student. Might cost you a box od donuts.

-- Dan Coleman, retired Welding Inspector and past IA Teacher

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 1896 days

#8 posted 12-20-2011 07:19 PM

Put the plane on a vise, sole facing up. Tack or staple abrasive to a flat piece of wood or preferable a flat stone or metal and “grind” or sand the crown. Check with a straight edge.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View wingate_52's profile


221 posts in 1991 days

#9 posted 12-20-2011 09:08 PM

I scrape some of my planes.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics