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Is this plane bed worth using?

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Forum topic by Mark Shultz posted 734 days ago 932 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mark Shultz

62 posts in 1015 days


734 days ago

inspired by all the plane restoration stories here i came across a cheap Stanley 9 3/4” plane, which i assume is a #4.

unfortunately i don’t have any before photos, but I have put some effort into taking all the rust off the sides and bottom and sharpened the blade (scary).

when i got done with flattening the bottom, i noticed a low spot around the mouth (see photo). Since the rest of the bed is now flat, it would take a large amount of effort to get the mouth opening flat / coplaner with the rest of the bed.

Can some of you comment on if this area around the mouth will impact performance much?


13 replies so far

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1877 days


#1 posted 734 days ago

Which way is the front? The area in front of the mouth MUST be in contact with the wood, i.e flat, to get perfect results. Otherwise the wood fibers will not be held down as the blade begins to lift and shear them. Still a good plane to use as is, but not for the finest smoothing, which a Stanley #4 isn’t great for fo begin with.

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

View carguy460's profile

carguy460

781 posts in 961 days


#2 posted 734 days ago

If your low spot is in front of the mouth, you will have problems, just like RS mentioned. If thats the case and you don’t want to flatten it I guess you could always sharpen the blade with a heavy camber and use it like a scrub plane…Just a thought, but I’m no expert!

-- Jason K

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Mark Shultz

62 posts in 1015 days


#3 posted 734 days ago

thanks. both front/back sides are messed up. buying a new better smoother and making that a scrub plane sounds like a good plan.

View carguy460's profile

carguy460

781 posts in 961 days


#4 posted 734 days ago

I don’t know what you are after, but there are a few beautifully restored smoothers available for a very good price here. And no, I’m not affiliated with Don, I just think his tool restorations are amazing. Good luck!

-- Jason K

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1319 days


#5 posted 734 days ago

Still a good plane to use as is, but not for the finest smoothing, which a Stanley #4 isn’t great for fo begin with.
.
I was surprised to read this comment. I think you’ll find quite a bit of disagreement here. I’ve got all kinds of fancy expensive smoothers but none of them really blow a well tuned Stanley #4 out of the water.
.
I certainly respect your opinion. I’m just wondering what you consider the finest smoother. If you’re talking about a scraper plane as the last smoothing step, then we’re definitely in agreement.

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

View Loren's profile

Loren

7390 posts in 2273 days


#6 posted 734 days ago

Technically it will (affect performance) but don’t let that stop
you from using it.

I never flatten old iron planes and all of mine seem to work
fine. Sharpness and appropriate depthing of the iron
are more important in my opinion. Get that iron shaving
sharp and I think you’ll be pleased at what that plane
can do.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6798 posts in 1777 days


#7 posted 734 days ago

I would also disagree.

Mark I would try to keep flattening to see if that hollow goes away. I know it sucks but It’s kind of important to have that in contact with the wood. Either that or make that a scrub plane, Paul Sellers uses a #4 as a scrub plane for rough work with a cambered iron.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Dan's profile

Dan

3543 posts in 1506 days


#8 posted 734 days ago

My advice would be to get a sharp iron in it and see how it works. I have had planes with less then perfect soles perform at a premium level. The sole is important but not nearly as important as a truly sharp edge. You have to try it in order to know if its an issue or not. My bet is with a sharp iron that plane will work just fine.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Don W's profile

Don W

14829 posts in 1193 days


#9 posted 734 days ago

Proofs in the shavings. I’d try it. It hard to tell by the picture but I think it would work.

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

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6798 posts in 1777 days


#10 posted 734 days ago

Dan and Don know what they are talking about, I think the tight mouth is gravy, sharp iron and very closely set chip breaker are probably more important.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View pierce85's profile

pierce85

508 posts in 1188 days


#11 posted 734 days ago

It depends on the wood you’re planing as well. Hard Maple, for example, is less forgiving in this regard than Walnut. It’s hard to tell beforehand what effect the low spot will have on various wood types until you try it.

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

542 posts in 1125 days


#12 posted 734 days ago

Did you flatten the sole with the iron under tension? (with the iron just retracted enough of course)
See Paul Sellers blog about this.

or here
http://web3.escalatemedia.com/PaulSellers/blog/28306

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1877 days


#13 posted 733 days ago

I will clarify my above statement. I have absolutely no issue using a Stanley #4 for a general smoother. As Mauricio has kindly showed us with his photo, It can work almost perfectly on non tricky woods. But for the finest smoothing on all woods, I like a plane with an adjustable mouth, thicker iron, and higher cutting angle such as the Veritas BUS. Or, a nice heavy infill plane with a thick iron and tight mouth also makes a world of difference. So will a Stanley #4 do a great job, it sure will!! But it’s not the finest of smoothers, and I guess until you try a really well made infill, it’s hard to know what your missing!

-- 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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