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The Original Steiner hand plane -- Can you help me tune it up, or is it just bunk?

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Forum topic by MackTheSaw posted 08-29-2008 05:14 AM 4938 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MackTheSaw

38 posts in 3587 days


08-29-2008 05:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hand plane plane steiner wood question help tuning

Hi all,

I’ve had a wooden-bodied hand plane for over 10 years that I’ve never really used. I got it from the sculpture department in my university because they had six of them that had never really worked too well. Here’s a description: It looks to me like beech, with a lighter-colored wood joined on the bottom for the sole. It’s 8 3/4 long, 2 1/2 wide. Iron is 1 7/8 wide, and quite thick, tapering from almost 3/16 at leading edge to 1/8 at the back. Looks like iron has a laminated harder steel for the cutting edge, like a japanese chisel. It’s marked “ORIGINAL STEINER 1859” behind the tote, “48” on the back, above the adjustment button, and “48 m/m CHROME VANADIUM” on the iron. It’s clearly not very old, maybe 20 years. It looks almost identical to the Ulmia scrub plane in the following eBay listing, except the angle of the frog and iron are much more inclined.

Ulmia plane on eBay for comparison

It seems like, when the chip breaker is attached 1/32 from the end of the iron, and the iron is projecting just a bit from the mouth, there’s almost no room left for shavings to pass through the mouth. The mouth is tight. I’m guessing this plane is a smoothing plane, and so should not have much space in the mouth, but I can’t seem to cut anything without clogging it up.

Can anyone help me make a useful tool out of this doorstop?
Thanks,
Todd

-- http://www.mccollister.com/todd


8 replies so far

View gusthehonky's profile

gusthehonky

130 posts in 3737 days


#1 posted 08-29-2008 05:50 AM

It’s tough to say w/o a picture, maybe grind the irons edge down, or very carefully open the mouth w/a rasp or float then file smooth. Climate or humidity could be a cause, but sometimes despite the best efforts by all, an unruly plane just doesn’t want to work and that is just inherent. Good luck, and I wish you success.

-- Ciao, gth.

View kenn's profile

kenn

810 posts in 3715 days


#2 posted 08-29-2008 06:23 AM

If the angle of your plane’s blade is as steep as the picture you sent us to, it is a scraping plane. These are not designed to cut off a shaving but to instead scrape the surface smooth. They work best on a flat surface and with a burr on the blade. Good luck.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

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MackTheSaw

38 posts in 3587 days


#3 posted 08-29-2008 02:50 PM

Thanks Gus and Kenn.

The iron is much steeper than the one in the auction I linked to. That’s really the only difference between my plane and that one. It’s about 45-50 degrees. So it’s not a scraper plane.

I’m prepared to open up the mouth if I need to, but I want to use that as a last resort because it’s irreversible. Is there something I can do that’s less severe, such as setting the chip-breaker differently? Gus, when you say grind the iron, do you mean change the angle of it? I can do that, but do you think I should try steeper or shallower? It fits bevel down.

Does anyone know if this is meant to be a smoother plane? Is that the function I should be shooting for, and the physical characteristics I should model?

I’m in the market for a Stanley #3 smoother, but I won’t need to buy that if I can get the Original Steiner running.

Thanks.

-- http://www.mccollister.com/todd

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jcees

1058 posts in 3794 days


#4 posted 08-29-2008 03:10 PM

How about a swap? I have several #3s. But as to your Steiner, it is indeed a smoother and do NOT open that mouth up! The tool is meant as a “finishing” tool and not for hogging off material. If you grind, chop, sand or otherwise modify the mouth you will not only RUIN its intrinsic value but also its usefulness. So, please don’t do it. Rather, I would welcome a trade for a tuned #3 and if you didn’t like it, I will take it back and return your Steiner.

What do you say?

always,
J.C.

P.S. I have several #3s as it’s my favorite size and the one I learned on. I can also send you pics.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

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MackTheSaw

38 posts in 3587 days


#5 posted 08-30-2008 03:09 AM

That’s an interesting idea, JC. I started to tune it the best I can today. I lapped the blade and sharpened it. Tomorrow I’ll try everything I can think of to make it work—I know a lot more about planes than I knew last time I tried to make it work, though it still isn’t much. Don’t worry though: I won’t do anything to the mouth, or anything else drastic. (I’m thinking that, if I put the chip breaker farther back, there might be the space in the mouth that I need, and the very thick blade might be rigid enough to make that possible. Also, since it’s a smoother, and will only be removing very thin shavings, maybe I don’t need as much space as I thought.)

Thanks for your input, and I’ll let you know what happens. If I can get a good result, I might decide to hang onto it, or maybe not. It’s nice to have your offer.

Thanks.

-- http://www.mccollister.com/todd

View gusthehonky's profile

gusthehonky

130 posts in 3737 days


#6 posted 08-30-2008 04:35 AM

I agree with J.C. 100% after rethinking my first post, I apologiese for bad advice, that would a viable solution only as a last ditch adjustment, after all adjustments had be attempted and produced no improvements. It would be permanent and un-reversable. Try every adjustment to blade and wedge possible. Run a search on various decriptions of wooden hand plane tuning, there are tons of how-to’s on that topic. Good Luck.

-- Ciao, gth.

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1789 posts in 3985 days


#7 posted 08-30-2008 04:22 PM

I accidentally put one of my blades in “upside down” and noticed it closed the mouth of the plane up tight. This could be your prob…but I also like the offer from Jcee’s and might suggest you consider that as well.

The wooden planes of yesterday make great collectors pieces.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

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jcees

1058 posts in 3794 days


#8 posted 08-30-2008 08:26 PM

As an addendum, the iron ought to be sharpened with a slight camber [crown or curve] and 1/16” is close enough to the edge for the chipbreaker. You should be able to just feel the edge protruding with your finger passed lightly over or holding the plane sole up so that it reflects light into your eyes, you should just barely see the blade protruding. Make a pass on a board then adjust accordingly.

All this is assuming that you know how to adjust the set of an iron in a wooden body plane with a small mallet?

always,
J.C.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

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