THIS POST IS PROMPTED BY MY NEW PLANES
I just took delivery on some relatively good quality planes (Lie Nielsen Clones), a #4 smoother, a #5 Jack and a #6 foreplane. I thought that these would cover just about all my personal planing needs aside from my block plane. I might not really need the foreplane for the mostly small work that I do, but I couldn’t resist the temptation, and it is handy as a jointer for longer pieces or for preliminary flattening of larger panels. Here is what I bought. I think they are the same as the Wood River brand sold in the US, but the tote and knobs are of Beech designed by the company I bought them from (Dictum).
WHAT I’VE LEARNED SO FAR
Before honing any edges and/or relieving any corners or putting a radius on any blades, I decided to do some research. I read some, watched some videos by recognized experts and also comments and videos from other lesser known, but skilled handplane users.
The one main learning point I came away with was that there are many different views on how edges should be prepared for the different planes and what they should be used for. The strange thing about it is that even though they may differ in opinion, they are all right and they all get sterling results!
MY OWN EXPERIENCE
Personally, I have been using my 30-40 year old Stanley Jack which I bought new, and various cheap #4 smoothers for the last few years (my jack lay dormant for many years). I can’t claim to be very knowledgeable about hand planes or their use, but I have improved my skills over the years to a certain level of mediocrity. I am pretty up on the theory, though that is a far cry from practice.
MY PRELIMINARY PLANS FOR MY NEW PLANES
I am currently thinking that my wisest move would be to camber my Jackplane blade with maybe 1/32” down at the corners. I could then use it for rough planing sawn surfaces. In cases where I wanted to use the Jack as a jointer or to finish smooth a surface I could just put my smoother blade into the jack as they are interchangeable. My thinking is that my smoother should be straight edged with 1/64” taken off the corners, or maybe a very slight almost indiscernible camber along the entire edge. I am also thinking that my forplane should have a straight edge or be cambered very little similar to the smoother since it will also be used for jointing. I am thinking that the corners should be relieved enough, maybe 1/16” or more to allow for deeper cuts for flattening large boards and panels prior to final smoothing.
ALL OPINIONS AND/OR ADVICE WELCOME
I am pretty open minded at this point. I should add that I plan to sharpen my planes using Peter Sellers method with a rounded bevel and no secondary bevel instead of a hollow grind, as I have already had great success with it on my other planes. I realize this may be heresy to many of you, but my mind is made up on this point. I am more concerned here with the camber and corner relief than the sharpening method itself. Thanks for reading this.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.