Plane gurus in Central Maryland?

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Forum topic by JasonZahn posted 01-27-2015 09:23 PM 1146 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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56 posts in 1221 days

01-27-2015 09:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hand plane help hand plane restoration

Hi All,

Well, I dove into the world of vintage hand planes head first a couple weeks ago when I bought my first one, a Millers Falls No. 9 off of EBay.

I’ve researched the forums ad nauseam, soaking up as much info from all of the experts on the site, as well as FWW and others, too.

I’ve done a fairly good job of cleaning things up, adequately flattening the sole (as far as I can tell, at least), checking over the chip breaker and frog, etc., and honing the iron. I’ve basically tried to go step by step and cover everything, but I just can’t seem to get it up and running

Not having any hand plane experience, aside from the Veritas Apron plane that I bought a couple months ago (which came ready to roll right out of the box) is greatly limiting my abilities to get this thing going.

I’m hoping there might be somebody with experience in the Central Maryland area who might not mind lending a hand in helping me out, and showing me the ropes. I know everyone’s time is valuable, so I certainly don’t expect anyone to jump out of their shoes here, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyhow…



38 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17305 posts in 2970 days

#1 posted 01-27-2015 09:53 PM

Throw up some pics and explain what ya got goin on and without a doubt the members here will get ya squared up in short order.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View JasonZahn's profile


56 posts in 1221 days

#2 posted 01-27-2015 10:42 PM

I’ll try to post some pics later this evening.

Basically, I just can’t get any consistency at all. I was getting a decent shaving, but only on one side of a scrap piece. In trying to adjust things, I noticed the iron was skewed, so I ground it to correct that, re-honed, and now I’m not even getting a decent partial shaving.

I don’t know if I don’t have the frog set right, or if the sole isn’t flat enough or what. I’m kind of spinning in circles.

View chrisstef's profile


17305 posts in 2970 days

#3 posted 01-27-2015 10:55 PM

Id rule out the sole being flat for now snd start with the frog set up and your iron. The iron should be square to its sides. Any adjustments will be made with the lateral Adjuster once reinstalled into the plane. Try edging your frog to the back side of the mouth opening. Check the chip breaker as well. It should reveal about 1/16-1/8” of the irons edge.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View JasonZahn's profile


56 posts in 1221 days

#4 posted 01-27-2015 11:04 PM

When you say edge the frog to the back side of the mouth, do you want it to be as close to the back of the mouth as possible? When I tried this it seemed to close the mouth up all the way.

View chrisstef's profile


17305 posts in 2970 days

#5 posted 01-27-2015 11:22 PM

If its closing up the mouth too much dial it back a little bit. For a light cut youd like the mouth to be as closed as possible, for a heavier cut youd back tge frog off a bit to open the mouth up to allow for a thicker shaving to pass through.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Slyy's profile


2839 posts in 1619 days

#6 posted 01-27-2015 11:33 PM

I’ll add to what Stef has said in that also make sure the chip breaker is flush to the surface (not the edge) of the iron as well. if there is space in there it will give a place for the shavings to go and wedge themselves in between the back of the iron and the face of the chip breaker which will quickly stop the action of the plane.

And pics ALWAYS help!

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View Hammerthumb's profile (online now)


2836 posts in 1939 days

#7 posted 01-27-2015 11:36 PM

As Slyy said, pictures of the plane would help. Picture of the iron and chip breaker while removed from the plane, and a picture of the bottom of the plane with the iron installed would be a good place to start.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View duckmilk's profile


2771 posts in 1288 days

#8 posted 01-27-2015 11:38 PM

How far is Maryland from DonW?

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View Don W's profile

Don W

18685 posts in 2531 days

#9 posted 01-27-2015 11:46 PM

ditto on the pictures.

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

View RobS888's profile


2406 posts in 1809 days

#10 posted 01-27-2015 11:49 PM

If central MD is the Balto area, then I believe the renaissance woodworker lives in Central MD.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1756 posts in 1858 days

#11 posted 01-27-2015 11:55 PM

When you re-sharpened, are you sure you sharpened it well enough? My first plane was an ebay MF 9 and I love it, but for a while I had trouble figuring out what was sharp enough. I was not getting it anywhere near sharp enough first few times I tried.

Adding to what chrisstef mentioned about the mouth, that was probably the area that took me the longest to figure out. It may seem frustrating but just keep adjusting and you’ll figure out the sweet spot. Wish I could find a diagram that showed also how the blade looses support and you won’t get a good shaving if the frog isn’t in the right spot, which compounds the problem of the mouth being too open or closed.

About the chip breaker, make sure it clamps on the iron well and that there are absolutely no gaps. Had to replace mine. Might not be your problem, just something on the checklist, though.

View JasonZahn's profile


56 posts in 1221 days

#12 posted 01-28-2015 02:42 AM

Thanks all…I adjusted the frog to make sure it was seated properly and that seemed to help some.
I’ll try to get a few pics up tomorrow; maybe there’s a glaring error someone will point out.

As for sharpening, I’ve been doing so on sandpaper affixed to granite, and honing up through 2000 grit. Is this inadequate? I was able to shave hairs off of the back of my hand, but I’m not even sure if that’s a legitimate indicator!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18685 posts in 2531 days

#13 posted 01-28-2015 12:11 PM

There’s a lot of things at play. You’ll get it. Picture will help. It will be a sudden “ahhhh” moment worth working toward.

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

View OSU55's profile


1630 posts in 1953 days

#14 posted 01-28-2015 01:08 PM

You are correct that “shaving hair” is not exact – not all hair shaving events are the same – but, it should be sharp enough to get some shavings. Were you able to shave hair after the last honing? My test is to see if I can slice a very thin shaving off the back of my thumb nail (I’m not recommending this). If you are honing the entire bevel, it is hard to get a sharp edge since finer grits don’t remove much material. Micro bevels make this go much faster. Here is my sharpening method That Veritas apron plane blade was not really “sharp” out of the box.

The edge does not have to be perfectly perpendicular to the side of the blade, that’s what the skew lever is for. To set initial blade depth/position, I use a popsicle stick on edge and drag across the mouth opening until I get the slightest contact on both sides of the blade edge. Any little flat sliver of wood will do. Minute adjustments of depth and skew should then have you making nice shavings.

At this point don’t worry how tight the mouth is – wider is better until you get the thing to work. Set the frog surface inline with the bevel on the back of the mouth or slightly ahead of it. Make sure the breaker is ground right – see here Set the breaker at least 1/16” from the blade edge for now. Put the blade/breaker back in. Test depth and skew adjustment. It should be relatively easy to adjust depth and skew with the lever cap snapped down. If not, it’s too tight. Release the lever, raise the lever, back of the screw, snap the lever down. Turn the screw until it resists. Back off and tighten to resistance a few times. After you feel resistance, tighten a 1/4 turn. Adjust to taste.

My test for sole flatness is 220 grit on a flat surface at least a little longer than the plane. With blade in position and clamped but retracted, just move the plane side to side using the sides of the main casting, and then look at the scratch pattern left. Magic marker lines down and across the sole help when flattening. The sole does not have to be perfectly flat to work, but the flatter the better.

There is definitely some skill building required to use hand planes, but it’s worth it. They can be frustrating, but once figured out you start to understand why some folks make a big deal out of them.

View bandit571's profile


19718 posts in 2647 days

#15 posted 01-28-2015 01:13 PM

I posted a few photos over at the Handplane epic thread….

Frog mated to the base casting, and a look at the iron and chip breaker. More over at the ”..of your dreams” thread

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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