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Tuning up a Groz smoothing plane--why is it hard?

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 01-31-2014 06:29 PM 1222 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CharlesA

3021 posts in 1260 days


01-31-2014 06:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane sharpening

I bought a Groz smoothing plane/block plane set from Woodcraft a couple of years ago before I really knew what I was doing. The block plane works pretty well. Since then I have purchased older Stanley jointer and fore planes. On all four planes I have lapped the soles and sharpened the blades and done basic tune-ups. All of them work quite well other than the Groz. I’m particularly pleased with the two Stanleys.

I’ve read that the Groz can be hard to get tuned up correctly. I wouldn’t buy the Groz if I had to do it over again, but I had assumed that by doing a pretty thorough tune up it would work decently. What makes a plane like this hard to get tuned correctly?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson


13 replies so far

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3358 days


#1 posted 01-31-2014 06:35 PM

I’m not sure how to answer your question, but I can say that when I was actually able to use planes I had bought a couple of Groz planes and they nearly spoiled the fun of planes for me. They became big paperweights until I finally decided to chuck them – nothing I did could get them right enough to use.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3111 days


#2 posted 01-31-2014 06:40 PM

what exactly did you have trouble with tuning them specifically?

I don’t own a groz, but some of the key elements that might make it more difficult is the type of metal used for the casting (could be harder to flatten, or have more low spots than other companies requiring you to flatten more), the mouth could be open too large so you might get difficulties getting fine shavings or set it up for such. materials used for components could be from less then ideal (less vibration absorption and the likes) just to name a few. on this they say -buying cheap can be expensive.

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

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CharlesA

3021 posts in 1260 days


#3 posted 01-31-2014 06:42 PM

I didn’t have trouble tuning them up, per se, just after tuning it up as I did the others, it doesn’t work very well. I didn’t go in and file down castings or things like that, I just flattened the sole, sharpened the blade, was careful about placement of the chip-breaker, etc.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 3205 days


#4 posted 01-31-2014 06:47 PM

What specifically are the symptoms you are seeing. Different things not working well point to different parts of the assembly to tweak.

-- Mark

View Arminius's profile

Arminius

304 posts in 3266 days


#5 posted 01-31-2014 07:00 PM

They require more extensive work, because they are poorly made. An older Stanley might have accumulated wear and tear, but there was a good plane in there once. Just not so for a Groz.

For example, the frogs are routinely not bedded flat, such that when loosened, you can rock them. No matter how much you tighten, that will produce chatter. Tuning that means flattening both the frog bed and where it sits, both fairly tedious operations with other elements in the way.

At some point, you are no longer tuning, but finishing the manufacturing process. It can be done, but it is not the same project that a rehab of a classic is.

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CharlesA

3021 posts in 1260 days


#6 posted 02-01-2014 12:40 AM

Thanks for all the responses. I found an old Stanley #4 on eBay today for a pretty good price. I’m going to tune it up and see if it works better to find out if it is the plane or me. If it is the plane, then I’ll sell you a Groz smoothing plane for a good price!

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Don W's profile

Don W

17960 posts in 2030 days


#7 posted 02-01-2014 12:45 AM

I’ve had similar luck with Handyman planes. Its all in the manufacturing.

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

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 3205 days


#8 posted 02-01-2014 12:55 AM

It’s hard to beat the old Stanley, Sargent, Millers Falls planes for the prices you pay for them. To buy a new plane for the same price you do have to settle for the low end brands. With those there is a lot more work to do to get them working properly. As Arminius said, you are paying less but having to finish the manufacturing process yourself. In most cases, I think, you end up with an inferior tool. Some things just can’t be ‘tuned up’

There are some very well made new planes available from Lee-Valley, Lie-Nielsen, etc. but they are premium planes at a premium price. If you are willing and able to pay those prices, you will get a near perfect, lifetime tool, no doubt.

-- Mark

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CharlesA

3021 posts in 1260 days


#9 posted 02-03-2014 11:47 PM

Got a 1920’s Stanley #4 from eBay today. I don’t know if this was for shipping purposes or not, but the blade was upside down and short of the end of the chip breaker. The blade was dull. After a little time with the Mk II, it planes like it was going through butta. Maybe I’ll give away the Groz on CL.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

550 posts in 2460 days


#10 posted 02-04-2014 12:01 AM

Charles, I can’t help you other than commiserate. I absolutely hate Groz planes.

Greg

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

403 posts in 2420 days


#11 posted 02-04-2014 02:04 AM

On the topic of cheapee planes, my loc sears blew out their Indian Footprint planes a few years ago. At ten bcks I couldn’t resist. Flattening the soles took a few evenings, but once done they’ve beaten the pants off of almost every ten dollar fixer-upper that I’ve brought home from the junk stores. They’re not what I grab first, but i don’t regret the (minimal) investment.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

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SuburbanDon

487 posts in 2456 days


#12 posted 02-04-2014 04:55 AM

I have a little-used Groz #4 plane. When I got around to sharpening it I found there were flaws in the metal (like small pits in a crack).

I got a new Pinnacle iron for it which is very nice. But with either blade I am not able to retract them back far enough to take a thin shaving.

I remember from my musician days – it’s better to spend good money once on a good item rather than waste money buying inferior items before you finally buy the good one.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

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CharlesA

3021 posts in 1260 days


#13 posted 02-10-2014 02:15 AM

I sharpened the blade on my new Stanley smoother a little more carefully this week, and when I tried it on some cherry today, it was the first time I can say I have a “smoothing” plane where the surface was truly smooth without need for sanding to clean up. Stunning.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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