Wooden handplane with large mouth

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Forum topic by Blaz posted 03-28-2014 03:21 PM 1596 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Blaz's profile


6 posts in 1720 days

03-28-2014 03:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: handplane

Hi there,

I received a wooden handplane as a gift. It has 48 mm wide blade (a bit less than 2 inches) with a chipbraker. The plane is about 20 cm long (around 8 inches). I had to do some work to flatten and sharpen the blade and than I tried it. It seems I cannot make thin shavings with it. I digs thick shavings. I suspect this is due to a big mouth opening. The gap in front of the blade is around 1 cm (7/16 of an inch) or maybe even more.

Now here is my question. Can I use this plane for anything useful. Can I caber the blade and make some kind of a jack plane or scrub plane out of it? Will it be effective? What do you think?


9 replies so far

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 2088 days

#1 posted 03-28-2014 03:25 PM

Wooden planes are difficult to set up, for me at least. I made a jointer plane, with a relatively small mouth, and i still cant get it right lol. Good luck.

View TechTeacher04's profile


392 posts in 1730 days

#2 posted 03-28-2014 03:33 PM

You could try putting a full length wedge behind the iron to close the throat. You could laminate a new bottom to the plane to allow you to create a new throat or rout or chisel a section in front of the blade and insert a dutchman to tighten the throat. I have seen the latter on several old coffin smoother planes.

View JayT's profile


5960 posts in 2410 days

#3 posted 03-28-2014 03:38 PM

Pics would help.

I have an Ohio tool wooden smoother with a very large mouth that can take just as good of shavings as my iron planes on straight grained wood. It’s when the grain gets challenging that the smaller mouth helps.

Are you familiar with setting up and using wooden planes? As lateralus said, it can be a bit of a challenge, but once you get the hang of it, can be done quickly and very precisely with a decent plane hammer.

If you want to use it as a smoother, you could tighten it up by adding a patch in front of the mouth. There are a few tutorials out there if you do a search.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Wolfdaddy's profile


300 posts in 2033 days

#4 posted 03-28-2014 03:46 PM

Setting the chip breaker real close to the edge, within 1mm or even less, is helpful too, for smoothing cuts.

-- "MOM! I think there's something under our house! I'm gonna need a jackhammer, a fish bowl, some air tanks, and maybe a few pipes."

View Jeff Heath's profile

Jeff Heath

67 posts in 3268 days

#5 posted 03-28-2014 08:22 PM

As stated, the learning curve for setting up a woodie exists, but it’s not a long curve. Place the iron in the plane, and feeling with your 2 fingers over the mouth, install the wedge with the iron short of protruding out of the mouth.

Tap the wedge in lightly…..not enough to make it super tight, but enough to hold the iron from easily slipping.

Now, with your plane hammer (any smallish hammer will do to start) make light taps on the plane, until you’re just barely protruding the iron out the mouth…....I mean just a smidge. Take a trial pass on some wood in your bench vise. If you can’t take a shaving, tap the iron again…..lightly. Once you get the light shaving you’re after, tap the wedge in firmly and now you’re ready.

If you tap it out too far, just removed the wedge and iron, and start over. Otherwise, you’ll be wacking on your plane, leaving tracks all over it. Removing an iron is easy if you have a strike button on the front of the plane. A nice, firm rap down on the toe of the plane, or on the heel of the plane gets it done. Don’t do this unless you have a strike button.

Once you get the hang of it, you will really enjoy planing wood with a wooden plane. It’s a different, enjoyable experience, and a lot less work than using a metal plane.

I can usually teach someone this technique in less than 10 minutes in my shop, so give it a try… won’t be sorry.

-- Jeff Heath

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2730 days

#6 posted 03-29-2014 03:25 AM

The other thing you can do is flatten the sole of the plane. Wood moves, and wooden planes need regular TLC in that regard. Use some spray adhesive to affix a sheet of sandpaper (100-150 grit) to a flat surface. Use a pencil to draw a crosshatch on the planes sole and then sand it until all the pencil marks are gone.

As others have said, a large mouth isn’t going to stand in the way of taking shavings unless the wood is gnarly. And if you use a closely-set chipbreaker (around 0.1 mm), the mouth won’t matter regardless of the wood.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1302 posts in 1833 days

#7 posted 03-29-2014 03:39 AM

A picture would help. Could this have been a scrub plane which normally has a wide opening?
Usually they don’t have chip breakers and they have highly cambered blades.

-- Jeff NJ

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3866 days

#8 posted 03-29-2014 12:44 PM

The mouth opening is irrelevant to the performance of a handplane, if your blade has a chipbreaker, evident by watching the Kiwai/Kato video.

If your digging to one side, check to see if your plane bottom and your blade are coplanar, meaning that if you protrude the blade through the mouth of the sole, the cutting edge should be parallel with sole. Hold the plane upside down to a light and look for a thin black line (blade). This line should look consistent across the width of the planes sole.

Your blade may be ground at a light skew or your plane may be flattened too much on one side.

If your blade and sole are correct and you still are getting poor results, check the sole for flatness with a straight edge.

Expect it to take some practice getting used to setting. The feedback provided and the overall joy of use, offered by a wooden plane, is well worth the learning curve .

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Blaz's profile


6 posts in 1720 days

#9 posted 03-31-2014 09:25 AM

Chipbraker is not an issue. I set it within 1mm of the blade or even less. I will try flattening the sole and see if this might be the problem. Maybe I’m just not able to set a very small blade projection.

Thanks for all the answers. Will try your suggestions.

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