Corrugated bottom on plane?

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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 05-10-2012 08:14 PM 2950 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3104 posts in 2520 days

05-10-2012 08:14 PM

Can someone tell me the advantages or lack, for having a plane with a corrugated bottom?

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

23 replies so far

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2497 days

#1 posted 05-10-2012 08:21 PM

I just watched a video on hand planes where at the end the question was asked and he felt that it was a marketing ploy that serves no real purpose. Although I do not think he was an expert on the subject and I am not either.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2719 days

#2 posted 05-10-2012 08:22 PM

The grooves mean that there’s less material that’s contacting the board surface that the plane rides on. That means a little less friction, and it also means less time is spent flattening the sole since you don’t have remove so much metal. You see hollows and grooves cut into the backs of Japanese chisels and plane blades, too. For one thing, the steel they use is extremely hard so it makes sense to have less surface area to flatten while sharpening.

-- Brian Timmons -

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2526 days

#3 posted 05-10-2012 08:23 PM

The corrugated bottom reduces drag and is more beneficial in the larger planes, i.e. 5-1/2 and above.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Dwain's profile


582 posts in 4093 days

#4 posted 05-10-2012 08:28 PM

I would agree with the marketing idea. It seems that after building a pretty good plane, Stanley (Bailey) needed to find a reason for us to buy other planes. I agree with every said above, but I don’t think those reasons are really appreciable. I know all of my type 11’s are corrugated. I just like them more…

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3986 days

#5 posted 05-10-2012 08:33 PM

I have two “C” planes in the collection so far. They do smooth alot easier.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2520 days

#6 posted 05-10-2012 08:34 PM

So the C designation means corrugated.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5148 posts in 4194 days

#7 posted 05-10-2012 08:38 PM

Russell, I’ve got both. I can’t see any difference in performance. There might be an argument as to whether the “c” planes are easier to flatten (if needed), but I don’t know of anyone who has whined about not having “c” soles.
To me it is kinda like which pasta do ya like best.


View Don W's profile

Don W

19034 posts in 2801 days

#8 posted 05-10-2012 08:48 PM

A lot of experts agree its was a marketing stint. I agree with Bill, I’ve tried to tell the difference and can not.

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

View cabmaker's profile


1744 posts in 3042 days

#9 posted 05-10-2012 08:53 PM

For me, I prefer a smooth sole simply because it is easier for me to sight the iron alighnment. I do have a few C s however but that is not by desighn. A C sole will function with a bit less resistance but not enough to loose any sleep over. Jacob, your observation is accurate, there are many, many videos on the subject and some are conflicting. Best to talk to someone that have used the things professionally.

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Don W

19034 posts in 2801 days

#10 posted 05-10-2012 09:01 PM

I believe it was Paul Sellers that didn’t like the corrugated soles because he thought they would get clogged. I actually prefer a smooth sole on a jointer, although both my #8 and #608 are corrugated.

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15786 posts in 2852 days

#11 posted 05-10-2012 09:05 PM

In use, there is none.

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

View Brett's profile


665 posts in 2916 days

#12 posted 05-10-2012 09:50 PM

It may seem counter-intuitive, but grooves shouldn’t have any affect on the amount of friction that a plane experiences when it’s pushed across a board.

Friction force is equal to the downward force (due to gravity plus the force you are exerting on it) times a coefficient that depends only on two materials in contact. For cast iron and oak, that coefficient is 0.49. So, if your plane weighs 7 lbs (like a jointer) and you add 3 pounds of downward force to it, the friction force as the cast iron plane is pushed over an oak board is 4.9 lbs. It doesn’t matter how much or how little contact area there is between the cast iron and wood; the only things that are important are the downward force (10 lbs) and the coefficient of friction. If you put paraffin or a light oil on the sold of your plane, the coefficient will go down, perhaps to as little as 0.075, which means your friction force would be 0.75 lbs.

(Whew—that’s enough geek talk for one day.)

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3342 days

#13 posted 05-10-2012 10:25 PM

Personally, I would think the chief advantage would be in flattening the plane itself. Corrugation would translate to less material to be removed from the plane body.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18422 posts in 3909 days

#14 posted 05-10-2012 10:44 PM

A friend of mine hand planed a truck load of walnut stock blanks. He told me the corrugated was much easier to push.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3986 days

#15 posted 05-10-2012 11:07 PM

To be honest, I feel no difference in resistance/friction on the shaving stroke between the smooth and the corrugated.

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