I'm having a problem getting a plane iron to stay set.

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Forum topic by ErikF posted 08-02-2013 01:46 AM 1213 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ErikF's profile


615 posts in 2270 days

08-02-2013 01:46 AM

I’ve been working on my second wooden plane and have run into a problem. The plane iron will not stay set with the wedge seated in place. There seems to be a good fit with even pressure but once I start making passes over a board the iron slides back inside. I am out of the shop for the night but plan to continue trouble shooting tomorrow. Here is what I am going to check and am wondering if there is something else I might be doing wrong here?

-Wedge: it seems to have a good holding but maybe I should decrease the angle?

-Iron: I am using a brand new Hock iron. It is very smooth…is there a too smooth? Even with the chip breaker tightened fully it will slide back from the 1/32nd I had originally set.

Any help is appreciated.

-- Power to the people.

12 replies so far

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2209 days

#1 posted 08-02-2013 03:18 AM

How smooth is the bed on which the iron sits? You can try scuffing it up a bit with lower grit sandpaper if it’s too smooth.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2064 days

#2 posted 08-02-2013 03:20 AM

Is the Hock thicker than the original blade, or is the Hock your standard flat-blade and it replaced a tapered one? If the new is flat and the original is tapered, then your old wedge won’t be sitting flush in all spots anymore.
EDIT: My bad, looks like you’re rolling your own, so there wouldn’t be any old iron…..
I’ll still go with the wedge isn’t seating all the way.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2557 days

#3 posted 08-02-2013 04:17 AM

That is a bit weird with the chipbreaker sliding on the iron. Do you have oil on it?

What is the angle of your wedge? Much more than about 12° and it can back out easily.

Have you put any finish on the wedge, crosspin or bed?

What wood is the plane made from and how thick are the cheeks?

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#4 posted 08-02-2013 04:23 AM

I break a lot of wedges with wood bench planes.
I think I read you can shape a belly in the wedge
face and it will clamp a little better. Splitting is
an inevitable issue.

I hit ‘em real hard to seat the wedge. This
breaks the wedges sooner or later. If the
iron or iron/chipbreaker profile is tapered wedge
durability may be better.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3675 days

#5 posted 08-02-2013 04:45 AM

how do you know if there’s even pressure and good fit throughout ?

I’ve seen some wedges that had the center cut out so that the pressure was distributed among the outside “frame” of the wedge. if you have a high spot in the center, it could ‘feel’ like good pressure, but have very little holding power in effect.

I would hollow out a belly in the wedge before I would start scuffing blades with sandpaper… +1 to Loren on this one.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View realcowtown_eric's profile


609 posts in 1963 days

#6 posted 08-02-2013 04:52 AM

There must be an app for that eh?

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#7 posted 08-02-2013 05:09 AM

Purplelev, I was thinking the opposite, but what do I know?

I think you have to experiment a lot to figure out what
works for the woods you are using. It’s been a long
time since I read Krenov’s stuff on making planes…

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3675 days

#8 posted 08-02-2013 05:29 AM

I see what you mean Loren, I was thinking about it from a more mechanical point of view – but what do I know ;)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#9 posted 08-02-2013 05:46 AM

Ha. Yeah… I hit ‘em harder than I want to. I know it
will wreck the wedge but I haven’t figured a way around it.

“Real” planemakers used floats and shaped the ramps
in a particular way. Japan planes wedge the iron right
into the plane body – I suppose the iron is tapered
a little but I haven’t made a big study of it.

I will say that my naive understanding of plane geometry
is derived mostly from metal planes. I’ve made half
a dozen wood ones but never figured how to get
around pounding the wedge in hard to get the iron
to set. I use a ball pein hammer. It beats up the plane.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#10 posted 08-02-2013 05:54 AM

There’s a difference if you put a steel rod across or carve
ramps in the sides. I have done it both ways and had better
luck with the steel rod I think. Either way, I tend to make
do with what I’ve wrought.

View ErikF's profile


615 posts in 2270 days

#11 posted 08-02-2013 11:48 AM

Thanks for the help, gents. I think the first thing I’ll do is shape a belly into the wedge to ensure it has even pressure and then troubleshoot from there if need be.

I cleaned all of the oil from the blade and chipbreaker so I’m not sure why its movie around on me. I plan to lightly scuff both to see if they will hold a bit tighter.

-- Power to the people.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#12 posted 08-02-2013 12:03 PM

Maybe some pictures would help.

I’ve never had to do more then give everything a good scuff with 80 grit once every thing was fit correctly.

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

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