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Smoothing plane lapping question

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Forum topic by woodenwarrior posted 03-07-2015 02:46 AM 883 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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woodenwarrior

203 posts in 1654 days


03-07-2015 02:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane lapping sole recondition

I picked up a Stanley #4 1/2 smoother ( circa 1890ish according to Patrick’s Blood and Gore) about a year and half ago for $5. The handle was busted in half and irreparable and it was a serious contender for the golden plane award (rust) but I really wanted a #4 1/2 to add to my fledgling collection. Other than those two issues the plane is in fairly good shape. I made a new rear handle in walnut using the free download plans from Lee Valley ( I love those guys!) and with a healthy amount of sweat and elbow grease have brought it from a junk pile special back to a fine looking and (hopefully) working specimen. The one question I’m having is lapping of the sole. I have it dead flat front to rear except for a 1/4 inch border all the way around the sole’s edge which still bear scratch patterns from lapping. It tells me the sole was convex but the major working areas are dead flat. Will that affect the plane’s performance?

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda


14 replies so far

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6564 posts in 1609 days


#1 posted 03-07-2015 03:46 AM

If it’s flat everywhere else, it’s probably good enough. I might continue till it’s gone or about 1/16” remaining, but that’s me. Test it out. If you can get full width/length shavings, it’s good enough.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View lateralus819's profile

lateralus819

2236 posts in 1349 days


#2 posted 03-07-2015 03:53 AM

Sounds to me like it was done on purpose which was typical to avoid the edges from catching on the work piece.

Paul sellers has a video explaining the process and the reasoning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQyjLV92224

Starts at about 3:40 mark. Hope this helps.

View woodenwarrior's profile

woodenwarrior

203 posts in 1654 days


#3 posted 03-07-2015 04:38 AM

Thanks for the tips. I have a Hock iron for the plane but I want to make sure that I’ve taken the sole lapping far enough to use.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View DocBailey's profile

DocBailey

584 posts in 1819 days


#4 posted 03-07-2015 06:08 AM

The proof is in the pudding—there is no reason to mess any further with the sole if the plane can take thin, full-width shavings.

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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1394 days


#5 posted 03-07-2015 03:49 PM

I bet you are good to go. I actually slightly slope my plane edges up like yours is to keep them from digging into wood that isn’t flat. I’d bet $10 yours is ready to work.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 796 days


#6 posted 03-07-2015 04:01 PM

+1 what Kevin and Oyster said. Probably done on purpose a la Paul Sellers to prevent banging the plane into the wood being planed. My first plane rehab I dutifully lapped or fettled the bottom of a no.4 perfectly flat. Then I got smarter (or lazier) and on a second no. 4 I simply waxed the sole and tried it with a freshly sharpened iron and gosh darned if it didn’t cut just as nice as the fettled plane. I now check for flatness at toe and in front of mouth and at rear. If decently flat in those three areas it is good to go.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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woodenwarrior

203 posts in 1654 days


#7 posted 03-07-2015 07:14 PM

Having the edges relieved to preclude catching the wood makes sense. I’ll do some final touch ups on the plane and give her a test run this evening.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13712 posts in 2078 days


#8 posted 03-07-2015 07:30 PM

Good luck, sounds like you are ready to go. Love me some #4 1/2 action, so pics are a must!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Don W's profile

Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#9 posted 03-08-2015 01:35 AM

Pictures or it didn’t happen.

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

View woodenwarrior's profile

woodenwarrior

203 posts in 1654 days


#10 posted 03-08-2015 01:11 PM

Like a dummy I didn’t take any before photos…but trust me, it was in poor shape. Here are the results from my work.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View woodenwarrior's profile

woodenwarrior

203 posts in 1654 days


#11 posted 03-08-2015 01:31 PM

First test run on maple…...success!!!! Thanks to everyone for their input on this.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View Don W's profile

Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#12 posted 03-08-2015 02:06 PM

Excellent!

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

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7143 posts in 2373 days


#13 posted 03-08-2015 02:24 PM

WOW! Now THAT is almost to get me to start collecting Stanleys… Well almost, I love Sargent planes to much… ;-) You did an excellent job restoring this! Congrats and welcome to the club! Well done.

RE: flattening the sole 100%... As others have said/implied above, if you have 80-90% of the sole flat then you are good to go. FWIW, while not a metal handplane, I have an old 1850-ish 22” Wooden Jointer that had developed a twist in the past +160yr. I ended up running the sole of this Beech plane over my jointer and managed to flatten the sole 90% or so, but still had of aft corner that was still shy. I stopped in order to keep the throat/mouth width as tight as I could. It works great!
http://www.horizontalheavens.com/auburn_tool_co_22in_Jointer.htm

You’ll be fine with the extent that you have flattened it. Isn’t this fun!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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sikrap

1121 posts in 2818 days


#14 posted 03-08-2015 02:32 PM

Nice save!!

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

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