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Thread: Flatting a No. 8 hand plane

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    All of my hand planes are shiny flat. Jim, try it out before you dismiss it.
    My intention is not to dismiss it.

    My intention is to dissuade folks from lapping the sole of a plane without a reason for performing said lapping.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  2. #17
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    Not trying to add gasoline to the fire but I agree with Steven and Jim.

    Sharpen the plane and get in the shop! It's not a finishing plane. As long as the toe, mouth, and heel are co-planer you are good to go. Feeler gauges are for machinists and mechanics, and I agree with Steven that they belong in the garage.

    If you are truly worried about getting your plane flat, take it to a machine shop and have it surface ground and checked for flatness on a gauge table. Then you will know it's flat.

    Just because it's shiny doesn't mean it's flat. It means you managed to remove enough material that you are referencing the surface of whatever you are "flattening" on. You could have a surface with a .005 hump in it and get the bottom completely shiny, and it would be concave.

    Please take your planer to the workbench and try it. If you run into issues, Jim and Steven and many others here know what they are talking about and can help you diagnose your problem

  3. #18
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    Jim, my reason was that I wanted the plane to be flat, initially so I could flatten my bench. As I started, I was, of course, taking off much more than 0.001" shavings, but once the real high spots were leveled, I did go over the entire bench with fine sets of shavings, just as we would flatten a tabletop. If I'm going to ask the plane to take a 0.001" shaving, it seems to me the sole needs to be flat to 0.001" along its length. I know the rule of thumb is flatten with the long plane and smooth with the smoother, but is it so wrong to want to take fine shavings with a long plane?

    Now that the plane is flat, I trust it to joint long edges for glue-up. The 607 gets results as good as or better than the power jointer.

    However, I resonate with your caution about rounding over everything. Yikes, that would stink. Yes, you have to maintain square sides, checking frequently that you're not leaning over to one side as you grind away metal. However, I actually think perfectly square sides are less important with a plane I will never use for shooting.

    And you need to use typical downward pressure and not jam the plane down while flattening. But if you take your time and keep marking the sole, it should turn out alright.

    Mind you, a year and a half ago, I would NEVER have dreamed of doing this without adult supervision in my shop. That was before I was carefully guided through the steps by an expert, using appropriate flat runways and grit choices for the task. Living through that hands-on training, I learned how to do it.

    Is all that flat truly necessary? Who knows. I don't claim to. It's probably the runaway zeal of a hobbyist.

  4. #19
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    I agree with you.

  5. #20
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    Jim, my reason was that I wanted the plane to be flat, initially so I could flatten my bench. As I started, I was, of course, taking off much more than 0.001" shavings, but once the real high spots were leveled, I did go over the entire bench with fine sets of shavings, just as we would flatten a tabletop. If I'm going to ask the plane to take a 0.001" shaving, it seems to me the sole needs to be flat to 0.001" along its length. I know the rule of thumb is flatten with the long plane and smooth with the smoother, but is it so wrong to want to take fine shavings with a long plane?
    My intention is to dissuade folks from lapping the sole of a plane without a reason for performing said lapping.
    Bob, you had a good reason.

    My point is a person should know what the plane can or can not do before trying to correct an unknown factor. For all we know Dolfo's plane may already be able to take a 0.001" shaving.

    At one time my advocacy of lapping was more enthusiastic. Now it tends to be for one to know what they are doing and why before proceeding.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #21
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    A badly lapped No. 8c....from long ago,,,it still worked...just wasn't "perfect". Not sure who did the work, wasn't me...
    Bailey #8c 004.JPG

    SDC15212.JPG
    Cleaned up nicely. Antique store find, $25 Long time ago...

    problem was these are VERY thin in the area where this one broke out...right under the front of the frog....iron was still supported by the frog. Was used for what it was...a Jointer. 100 yr. old barn wood Oak.
    Last edited by steven c newman; 04-04-2020 at 1:35 AM.

  7. #22
    Sharpen it and get on with your life.
    Tom

  8. #23
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    If you have a plane that is not flat, take to a shop and have it flattened.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolfo Picanco View Post
    Just got ahold of an old Stanley No. 8. Was looking into how to get it up to shape and I'm not sure what to do about flatting the sole. I know most situations can use a sheet of glass or a granite slab. But with the sole being 24 inches long, and the world on lockdown because of COVID I was wondering if anyone has any other easy to find flat surface solutions out there? I hear that a No. 8 doesn't have to be SUPER flat so I was thinking possibly a length of shelf melamine might be useable, but im afraid of there being any bend in it.

    Thoughts?
    I fear that the fact that you're even considering doing this represents the tip of the iceberg. Please don't go down the literally bottomless tool fettling/tuning/restoration rabbit hole. There's not a thing on God's Green Earth that can't be 'improved.' Don't let better be the enemy of good enough.

    All that said, none of this was or is an issue with wooden planes that can be kept essentially perfectly flat by taking a shaving or two off at each change of the season until they finally settle down after a few years and require much less tidying up. Fettling up some cast iron plane made by the hundreds of thousands is nothing to crow about. Paying $30 for something and then losing three whole weekends if not more 'fixing' it is the epitome of false economy.

    Too many people these days should have set up a home based machine shop rather than a wood shop. Maintaining woodworking tools was never meant to be as hard as some make it out to be.
    Last edited by Charles Guest; 04-04-2020 at 9:45 AM.

  10. #25
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    Maintaining woodworking tools was never meant to be as hard as some make it out to be.
    Agreed, the hardest part about maintaining woodworking tools should be creating safe storage followed by keeping them sharp. When one learns to sharpen, keeping tools sharp should not be an overwhelming chore.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #26
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    Listen to Tom Bussey. He is the machinist who flattens plane soles. Other than that, clean the sole sharpen up and see how the plane preforms. If it doesnít work take it to a machinist that has the proper tooling. Unless you are a machinist and have the proper tooling. A straight edge and feeler gauges are not it. Surface grinders and proper measuring equipment are what it takes. Thatís how the plane was made originally.

  12. #27
    I am not trying to get work but not all machine shops and machinists are created equal. If you are going to take it, take it to a tool and Die shop. Die makers are usually the best at grinding. The problem with grinding long parts is even with coolant, the metal heats up in the middle and the part will be higher on the ends than in the middle, so I usually redress the wheel( sharpen it) and go back and regrind it no more than .0005 at a time until flat. One Can hear it go flat if you know what you are listening for and then a couple of spark out passes.

    The problem is the shop time in most shops is probably around $75 an hour if not more and you can plan on at least 4-5 hours.

    So in other words it is probably cheaper, in the long run, to just buy new than to go that machine shop route.
    Tom

  13. #28
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    The problem is the shop time in most shops is probably around $75 an hour if not more and you can plan on at least 4-5 hours.

    So in other words it is probably cheaper, in the long run, to just buy new than to go that machine shop route.
    That sounds like a good reason to me for making sure something needs to be corrected before just jumping in and trying to fix what may not be broken.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bussey View Post
    I am not trying to get work but not all machine shops and machinists are created equal. If you are going to take it, take it to a tool and Die shop. Die makers are usually the best at grinding. The problem with grinding long parts is even with coolant, the metal heats up in the middle and the part will be higher on the ends than in the middle, so I usually redress the wheel( sharpen it) and go back and regrind it no more than .0005 at a time until flat. One Can hear it go flat if you know what you are listening for and then a couple of spark out passes.

    The problem is the shop time in most shops is probably around $75 an hour if not more and you can plan on at least 4-5 hours.

    So in other words it is probably cheaper, in the long run, to just buy new than to go that machine shop route.
    Curious, what are your thoughts on hand scraping planes? I agree lapping with sandpaper is dubious and if paying a machinist to grind you may as well buy a Lie Nielsen or similar up front.

  15. #30
    I'm on the side of make your tools the best that they can be, in this case flat. As others have mentioned three co-planer points on the sole are really enough and in this instance I'll concede that this is flat enough. Different horses for different courses they say. I work in metal and wood and have full shops for both. Woodworkers say a lot of pretty funny stuff about flat, square, round and tolerances. A woodowrker's chosen medium is pretty lively to say the least. Dead nuts is likely off the tool and won't last for long.

    As for flattening your No. 8, unless you tighten down your blade to the same tension every time you are likely pulling it out of flat when you adjust your blade... So do your best and let us know how your job turned out.

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