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Thread: Hand plane features

  1. #1
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    Hand plane features

    As a well seasoned woodworker of all of 3 months, I can confidently say that there are some features I like in handplanes and some I don't quite get.

    sarcasm aside, my favorite 2 planes are my LN no.8 and no.4 (I wish I got the 4-1/2 but that is another issue)
    the Low Angle offers an adjustable mouth, which I find much more useful. question is - how come they never made bevel downs with adjustable mouths? seems like that way you could make the frog sit perfectly, you could make it swappable for angles if you wanted, but adjustability would no longer be a factor to contend with. also you would be able to adjust the mouth almost as readily as you adjust the depth of cut - on the fly.

    I was wondering what some of the folks with *real* experience think of this?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Assaf Oppenheimer View Post
    how come they never made bevel downs with adjustable mouths? seems like that way you could make the frog sit perfectly, you could make it swappable for angles if you wanted, but adjustability would no longer be a factor to contend with. also you would be able to adjust the mouth almost as readily as you adjust the depth of cut - on the fly.
    You can buy bevel-down planes with adjustable mouths and swappable frogs today-check out the Lee Valley/Veritas line of custom bench planes.

  3. #3
    The "Low Angle" plane was developed by people just like you. They had no *real* experience and had some plane features they did not quite get.

    We have used the double iron for controlling tear out for over 250 years. For myself I have not changed a mouth opening for 45 years.

  4. #4
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    question is - how come they never made bevel downs with adjustable mouths?
    Stanley did make one bevel down plane with an adjustable mouth, the #10-1/2. This feature was discontinued fairly early in the plane's production.

    Like Warren mentioned, none of my bevel down plane's have been changed once set. My time period on this is much shorter than Warren's.

    On my bevel up planes with adjustable mouths this is used mostly when working on curved areas to keep the blade from turning them flat.

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

  5. #5
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    There were several American companies, as early as the 1860s, that offered adjustable mouth bevel down double iron planes. Actually, the Metallic Plane Co. invented this feature, along with the corrugated sole feature, they offered them in metal and metal/wood transitionals. The Union Mfg. Co. also made adjustable mouth BD planes. In fact, the company has been restarted and it began manufacturing smoothers with this feature, see https://www.unionmfgco.com/products/...-no-4-14-dat4f.

    Metallic Plane Co. plane, the first picture is off of the internet, the second if of a jointer plane I have, after I disassembled the mouth pieces.
    metallicPlaneCo01.jpgmetallicPlaneCo02.jpg

    There was an attachment added to coffin smoothers and even jack planes to perhaps make their mouth adjustable, a metal plate at the front of the mouth. This one is mine, I think a Greenslade, from the UK.

    mouth_coffin.jpgmouth_coffin_2.jpgmouth_coffin_3.jpg

    In some circles it is emphasized the necessity of closing the mouth of a BD double iron plane to mitigate tearout, you'll have to make up your mind over time as to the value of that advise.

    Cheers,

    Rafael

  6. #6
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    I mean, I'm no expert, but once I've set a frog on a bevel down plane I've never adjusted it again.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Johnson View Post
    I mean, I'm no expert, but once I've set a frog on a bevel down plane I've never adjusted it again.
    Many people do, especially on Bedrock planes. Instead of adjusting the cap iron to adjust for tear-out, they will leave the cap iron at about 1/32” and close/open the mouth by adjusting the frog. Both methods work, but the thinking in the last few years is that adjusting the cap iron is the preferred method.

  8. #8
    Assaf, you are on your way to owning a full set of Lie-Nielsen bench planes. The mouth of your bevel down planes is adjusted from behind the frog. Loosen the two screws on either side. The screw in the middle adjusts the frog forward and back. The adjustments can be made with the blade, cap iron, and cam lever cap installed so you can see the effect of the adjustment. Lie-Nielsen planes are set at the factory for a fairly tight opening. If you are taking heavy cuts with thick shavings, you will have to open the mouth a bit. Otherwise the shaving will jam in the mouth. Tearout on fine finish cuts can be reduced by setting the mouth tight. The front of the mouth opening holds the wood down in front of the blade rather than to allow a chip to pull up as the blade pushes forward. As J. Greg points out, setting the cap iron close to the edge of the blade helps to reduce tearout. The cap iron forces the shaving upward at a steep angle cause it to sever cleanly.

    I use my 4 and 8 for finish cuts and the mouths are set close. The 5 and 5 1/2 are for flattening and dimensioning. Their mouths are pretty much wide open.
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson; 05-20-2021 at 2:27 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson View Post
    Assaf, you are on your way to owning a full set of Lie-Nielsen bench planes.
    LOL you are probably right about that

  10. #10
    A tight mouth is a poor substitute for a close set cap iron if elimination of tearout is of concern.
    Having a tight mouth and a close set cap iron together won't work.
    The plane will refuse to cut if you've got the cap set to say 1/64", and takes real effort to push when set at 1/32"
    so much so that the plane will get very warm.

    Might be worth getting your no.4 and doing a test on the toughest example of timber you've got.
    You might find the no.4 is just about the perfect width.

    A lot easier to justify buying a few old planes for various cambers/associated cap distance, than having one smoother, one jack, and one jointer plane,
    if your work is varied, i.e having two jacks like Follansbee.

    Money aside, I'd buy a Lie Nielsen if I wanted a ductile iron plane.
    That's about the only advantage I see in them.
    Well that, and the square sides if one wanted to do some long grain shooting.

    If those things weren't the biggest factor in the decision, then it would seem that one is still in the dark about how the double iron
    works in a plane.

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Trees; 05-21-2021 at 9:59 AM.

  11. #11
    Hi Assaf -

    From a manufacturing stand point - it's a heck of lot easier to make an adjustable frog, than an adjustable mouth. Putting both on a plane would really add cost - and 100 years ago, hand tools were relatively price sensitive.

    The movable frog was an ideal solution - the milling of the frog bed was straightforward, and the frog itself was all exterior milling (which means no clearance issues). keeping the blade square to the mouth opening is easy - by skewing the frog slightly. Milling a perfect tapered blade bed is much more difficult (for LA planes) - and there is no adjustability for squaring the blade to the mouth opening - aside from filing the edge of the moveable toe. (squareness to the mouth is much more a visual issue than a functional one in most cases).

    Cheers -

    Rob

  12. #12
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    wait, I need to understand - are you telling me that I need to chose between the mouth opening and the set of the chipbreaker? that its an either or situation?
    could someone please elaborate?

    what I have done on all the planes is to set the chipbreaker as close to the edge as possible, I shine a bright light and move it forward until I can just barely see the blade reflect past the chipbreaker edge. I mean barely.

    if I do that how should I set the mouth?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Johnson View Post
    I mean, I'm no expert, but once I've set a frog on a bevel down plane I've never adjusted it again.
    This.

    Move the frog to adjust the effective mouth opening.

    Most of the anti-tearout is managed by the cap-iron as well as a properly sharp blade.
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Assaf Oppenheimer View Post
    wait, I need to understand - are you telling me that I need to chose between the mouth opening and the set of the chipbreaker? that its an either or situation?
    could someone please elaborate?

    what I have done on all the planes is to set the chipbreaker as close to the edge as possible, I shine a bright light and move it forward until I can just barely see the blade reflect past the chipbreaker edge. I mean barely.

    if I do that how should I set the mouth?

    The position of the chipbreaker changes with the use of the plane as well as the material to be planed.

    Adjust the mouth large enough so it doesn't clog. Then get on with the work.
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Assaf Oppenheimer View Post
    wait, I need to understand - are you telling me that I need to chose between the mouth opening and the set of the chipbreaker? that its an either or situation?
    could someone please elaborate?

    what I have done on all the planes is to set the chipbreaker as close to the edge as possible, I shine a bright light and move it forward until I can just barely see the blade reflect past the chipbreaker edge. I mean barely.

    if I do that how should I set the mouth?
    With the chip breaker set as you describe the mouth doesn't factor in to the equation. The best would be to set it so the back of the mouth is inline with the frog's face to add support for the blade.

    If the frog is too far forward, the cap iron action against the shaving will cause it to clog the mouth.

    Rob Lee mentioned the cost of manufacturing various features into a plane. It would likely be beyond reason to design and make a chip breaker with an adjustment feature to be done without disassembly.

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

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