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smoothing plane leaving scalloped surface

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Forum topic by Jeff82780 posted 747 days ago 1962 views 1 time favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jeff82780

182 posts in 1628 days


747 days ago

I just bought a woodriver no.4 yesterday and i love it. I sharpened the blade and put a slight camber on it. However, when preparing the board for finish, I am gettting a scalloped surface instead of a smooth one. It’s not noticeable to the eye, but you can feel them when you run your hand across the board. I baerely have the blade retracted. I/ getting really thin shavings. The blade is aligned perfectly. The only thing i can think of is that i put to much camber on it, but it doesn’t look like it to me. Am i missing something? Why is my smoother not leaving a surface ready for finish? Any thoughts?

Thanks, Jeff


23 replies so far

View jmos's profile

jmos

681 posts in 1004 days


#1 posted 747 days ago

I can’t think of any other reason for the scallop other than too cambered a blade and too deep a cut. Try taking a more shallow cut and see if that helps. I’ve always seen that a smoother should have a barely cambered blade.

-- John

View Loren's profile

Loren

7443 posts in 2282 days


#2 posted 747 days ago

A subtle scalloping of the surface is normal in smooth planing. It is
the mark of hand craftsmanship. If it bothers you, scrape and sand
lightly with a soft sanding block after planing and the surface can
be easily brought to a more uniform state.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1886 days


#3 posted 747 days ago

I disagree with Loren and John, sorry guys!
A fine smoothing plane should leave a surface ready for finish, or very near to it. And I’m guessing thats what your expecting. Here’s a reality that few people know about, but I have come to realize restoring many many planes of various qualities. Take this for what it is worth as I have never owned a Woodriver plane, and never used or fettled one. Besides too much camber sharpened into the blade, there is one other reason you can get scalloping. Your lever cap is too tight. Back the screw off a half a turn and try again. Depending on the surface of the frog, you could actually be bowing the blade slightly, exagerating your camber and giving you the scalloped surface. A good smoothing plane needs several factors to work as it should, and as your expecting, not the least of which is an uber sharp blade. It also needs a flat frog and the right amount of tension to hold it in place but not to add stress to it. Of course check the flatness of your sole as well. Your blade should have no camber, only a slight relieving of the backside of the corners of the blade. You want full width shavings, but you don’t want the edges of the blade to leave ridges, so slightly relieve them on the finest stone (only) that you use. On a bevel down blade, don’t bother with micro bevels or secondary bevels on the beveled edge. Change your cutting angle (if you must) with a back bevel only, and this back bevel is also where you relieve the edges. No camber. No scallops.
Try these things and I can pretty much gaurantee you’ll have better results, near perfect if done right.

Ryan

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

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Jeff82780

182 posts in 1628 days


#4 posted 747 days ago

thanks for all the advice! I backed off the frog a bit and still no luck. So I went to my sharpening stones to try to remove the camber a little and just relieve the edges . this is what the blade looks like now

After all of this I am still getting scallops! so frustrating! So i guess i can assume that i just need to straighten the blade a bit more on my stones?

View philip marcou's profile

philip marcou

262 posts in 1231 days


#5 posted 747 days ago

Jeff,
Your picture shows a blade with FAR too much camber for smoothing purposes. It needs to be very slight indeed , in the order of a few thous of an inch , which you get by pressing harder alternately on each side of the blade when honing. You also need to reduce the sharp corners a bit -you can use a stone for this.
Loren has it right when saying “a subtle scalloping …..”
I want to see a large surface , like a dining table top, that has been planed with a blade that is dead straight (plus corners reduced): there will be marks left of an unacceptable kind, for sure, and they will come to light when the polish goes on or the wife/ girl friend/client takes delivery…..
P.S: you still get a full width shaving when there is a camber as I describe, except that the edges taper to almost nothing.

View Don W's profile

Don W

14891 posts in 1202 days


#6 posted 747 days ago

I agree with Ryan and Philip. There is an easier way to approach it by sharpening flat and just rounding the corners. A smoother shouldn’t have a camber. I sharpen mine as Phil described. Just reduce (or round) the corners.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 898 days


#7 posted 746 days ago

In with Ryan, Philip, and Don, I think there’s way too much camber there. Enough that you’d experience what you’re feeling.

I’m not a handtool or planing expert, but that profile seems to be producing exactly what you think it would… scallops.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View carguy460's profile

carguy460

782 posts in 969 days


#8 posted 746 days ago

My smoother was sharpened initially before I knew what a camber on an iron was, so its straight across and I haven’t had any issues with scalloping…I’m guessing that’s your problem, I’d be interested to know the results if you take the camber out.

-- Jason K

View Jeff82780's profile

Jeff82780

182 posts in 1628 days


#9 posted 746 days ago

is there a special technique in rounding the edges?

View jmos's profile

jmos

681 posts in 1004 days


#10 posted 746 days ago

I’m rather curious too if there’s a trick. What kind of radius?

I tried a straight blade with rounded corners on a jointer plane; worked great on edges, but left some subtle, but serious lines/ruts on a flat panel. I didn’t see them at first, so I did a bunch of parts for a project, but when I saw them in raking light my heart sank. Took a lot of rework to get all those lines/ruts out.

-- John

View Don W's profile

Don W

14891 posts in 1202 days


#11 posted 746 days ago

There are a lot of different ways, here is what I do. I typically sharpen with an eclipse type jig. On each succession of stone I hold the blade and jig tipped as far as I can for about 10 strokes on each side. This give a “camber” on each side or a rounded corner. Its just enough to not leave a line. The deeper you typically plane (or the thicker your shavings) the more prominent you need the camber to be (I might be using the word camber wrong here). Because the camber is only for the first 1/8” or so of blade.

Some stroke the blade as they tip, so its a stroke, tip a little, stroke tip a little more until its at full tip. This is probably a better technique if your going for a thicker shaving. And by thicker shaving I don’t mean thick, its still a thin smoother type shaving. What kind of wood you work is also a factor.

If you free hand, just set the blade on the stone and spin it to create the same effect.

There are other ways as well. The idea is to get the blade to slightly taper off in the cut. How you get that taper isn’t nearly as important as making sure its there.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View jmos's profile

jmos

681 posts in 1004 days


#12 posted 746 days ago

Thanks Don. The cambering I’m good at, it’s the rounded corner concept that burnt me. I free-handed the blade on the stone to just round the corner, and apparently didn’t do it correctly as it left the ruts/lines I mentioned above.

Anyone advocating the rounded corners up for sharing their technique?

-- John

View Don W's profile

Don W

14891 posts in 1202 days


#13 posted 746 days ago

the other thing that will leave the rut lines is the blade isn’t perpendicular to the sides, so one side cuts lower than the other. If you don’t skew the plane, do you get even thin shavings full width. A perfectly straight iron will leave tracks on both side. One that is off on the lateral adjustment will leave a deeper one on the thick side

See how this shaving is thin on the right side and thicker on the left. It may have left a track on the left side.

thin isn’t as important as consistent, more like this

I site down the sole to get it right, but you can also use a thin piece of wood. Run it along both sides of the sole to cut with the iron and make sure even contact is being made with the wood.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

14891 posts in 1202 days


#14 posted 746 days ago

On more suggestion. If you are good at cambering (I could freehand a camber a lot quicker than a straight edge to) sharpen your blade straight, then just camber the last 1/8” of the blade. (on each side of course)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Johnnyblot's profile

Johnnyblot

318 posts in 910 days


#15 posted 746 days ago

It may also be technique. I plane from the left hand side into the middle, then from the right hand side into thr middle. I camber all my blades, ( including my block planes)- but I generally use a #5 1/2. Even for smoothing.
As shown below.
Woodwork, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

And-
Woodwork, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
I see no problem with Don & Ryan’s technique, but I say some camber is required, usually approx 0.2- 0.3mm
I don’t expect everyone to agree with me but this was exactly how I was taught by David Charlesworth himself, from honing the blade to planing the board. This is also explained in his first book (if you have it?)

Good luck.
Cheers,
John.
Edit- Don has beaten me to post- the point he’s making about uneven shavings, taking a thicker cut on one side would give you marks/ scallops. As he said, turn over the plane and with a thin Shim of wood stroke it down the sole, across the blade to check the blade is protruding evenly across the mouth, taking off the same thin shaving from the shim. Hope this makes sense. :-)

-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

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