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Thread: any advice for setting a LN No. 60-1/2 Rabbet Block Plane?

  1. #1

    any advice for setting a LN No. 60-1/2 Rabbet Block Plane?

    In short, I am having continued difficulty in setting the blade on the LN No. 60-1/2 - I can't seem to get the left-to-right of the blade adjusted correctly, while still having the blade slightly project from the side of the plane body. If one is correct, the other is not.


    I usually lay the plane on its side, push the blade down into my workbench to get it flush with the side of the plane (or slightly protruding by shimming with a piece of paper). However, this always results in the blade being out of alignment left-to-right. So then I go through the process of aligning the blade left-to-right, starting with coarse hand adjustments, then moving to light hammer taps on the blade. The left-to-right adjustment is usually difficult and time-consuming as the blade iron does not seem to want to center (even when loosening the flywheel). And by the time the left-to-right adjustment is done, the blade is no longer where I want it relative to the side of the plane (usually sticking too far out).


    In terms of instructions for this plane, LN's website says: "Align the edge of the blade with the side of the body that you want it flush with. Laying the tool on its side can help you do this quickly and accurately."


    I contacted Lie-Nielsen. They were extremely helpful and encouraged me to give them a call. I did and we chatted for a good 10 or so minutes. The take-home message I got was to use the pein side of a ball-pein hammer to strike the blade near the spinwheel. This will SHIFT the blade over, as opposed to striking the blade near the back of the iron, which causes the blade to PIVOT (I'm pretty sure I got all this correct from our phone call). Whomever I spoke to did indicate it does take them some time finagling to get the blade in the correct position.


    Despite the great help from LN, I'm still struggling. I'm sure this is user error (me!) and not the plane. Does anyone have suggestions?

    IMG_9579.jpg

  2. #2
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    Yes - learned this first-hand from Deneb at a trade show decades ago:

    Make a piece of wood that is about 1/4" thick and 5 - 6" long. Maybe 1 - 2" wide. Create a way to hold it upright on edge and fixed in place.

    Now set the plane for light shavings, and run it down the edge of the wood twice - one of the far left edge of the iron, once down the right. If the shavings are not even/equal, then lightly tap the iron on the "heavy" side and try again.

    For a block plane, its easy to do this holding the wood in one hand and the plane upside down in the other. For a larger plane, securing the wood is easier for me.

    EDIT: I have that exact same plane. You have to take VERY light taps. I use a short chunk of brass rod, not a hammer.

    Deneb was very clear: "You must do this every time you pick up the plane, so you know what you're going to get. They come out adjustment very easily." I confess I don't always do that, but it's a good idea in "money" situations.

    EDIT:
    Last edited by Kent A Bathurst; 04-03-2024 at 4:29 PM.
    When I started woodworking, I didn't know squat. I have progressed in 30 years - now I do know squat.

  3. #3
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    You will never get the blade to project on both sides at the same time. This blade is wider at the cutting end than the rest of the blade. Make sure it is not hitting somewhere else on the frame. Take the lever cap off and look at the blade to body clearance. With everything loose, can you get the blade where you want it?

  4. #4
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    A few questions David:

    Have you checked everything to be square? (blade, front & back of mouth)

    Is there a visible misalignment of the blade with the front or back of the mouth?

    I've also seen this problem with the blade bed being higher on one side than the other.

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

  5. #5
    If by 'left to right adjusted correctly' you mean that an even shaving is made,

    perhaps the iron has been sharpened out of square. I have that plane & there is little lateral adjustment possible, so the cutting edge has to be very square to the length of the iron.

  6. #6
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    It's not uncommon for rabbet planes to have irons just slightly wider than the plane body. The cutter needs to be aligned with the body on the side that runs along the shoulder of the rabbet being cut. If it's shy of the side of the plane body, you will get a stepped shoulder as the plane body rides in the previous cut.

    I don't know about Deneb's procedure, but I have that plane, and I just set it on the bench on its side (the one that will ride the shoulder) and bear my weight on it. I have my thumb on the middle of the edge of the iron and press down so that it will remain parallel to the plane body, then tighten fully. Only takes a second. I do this with my 78 and any other rabbet or fillister plane, even woodies. Of course, the iron has to be ground and honed with a square edge. If it isn't, or if it's a skewed blade, then do what Deneb has suggested.

    DC

  7. #7
    I have experimented a bit with my LN60 1/2 rabbet. Found that the depth adjuster acted like a hinge point that would not let the top end of the blade shift left and right without causing trouble. Basically the trough of the blade to catch the depth adjuster nut is not that wide so the blade tends to rotate about that point. You can test this the way I did by unscrewing your depth adjuster nut and seeing if you can easily set the blade right where you want it. Iím not sure the best solution for this. What I did to use the plane without the depth adjuster nut was tighten the crap out of the spin adjuster to hold the blade steady. Of course that meant I had to use some 220 grit sandpaper on surface plate to reflatten the sole (with the blade installed under high spin wheel load but the blade retracted to not hit the sandpaper). It also means I can only send the blade on one way trips: in other words I have no way to retract it so I set it light and use little tippey taps to get it set to take a fine fine shaving. Of course the blade must be supersharp because it is so wide and has no camber and I donít want it to take that much force pushing it back in. Itís been a while so this is the best I can recall at the moment. I canít claim that I ever really got satisfied with it. What stuck with me was that I spent a lot of time fettling. I still love the plane but Iíll have to keep trying to get smarter about it. Let me know if you have any similar results if you remove your depth adjuster nut.

  8. #8
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    I have experimented a bit with my LN60 1/2 rabbet. Found that the depth adjuster acted like a hinge point that would not let the top end of the blade shift left and right without causing trouble. Basically the trough of the blade to catch the depth adjuster nut is not that wide so the blade tends to rotate about that point.
    Would it be possible to widen the adjusting trough on the blade to allow more side to side movement?

    That and a little lubrication in the trough might allow more movement.

    This isn't so much lateral movement problem as it is a problem of keeping the blade parallel to the sides of the plane when adjusting it.

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

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Would it be possible to widen the adjusting trough on the blade to allow more side to side movement?

    That and a little lubrication in the trough might allow more movement.

    This isn't so much lateral movement problem as it is a problem of keeping the blade parallel to the sides of the plane when adjusting it.

    jtk
    I thought a lot about buying a flex shaft grinder to widen the trough but havenít followed through with it. I donít own any other machines that would work. Any suggestions on tooling?

    I did clean out the trough and lubricate it with 3 in 1 but no luck.

    I do think it is a ďparallelĒ problem.

    My final thought was to have a left blade and a right blade. Each to be ground at the cutting edge to suit a sheet of paper overhang as the OP suggested. I think this will be a better solution than my initial response but I havenít put it in practice yet. Bought the spare blade but not ground it yet. (For the OP: Larry Williams has a great video on the LN website on regrinding the edge of a blade that makes the process quite accessible.)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Would it be possible to widen the adjusting trough on the blade to allow more side to side movement?

    That and a little lubrication in the trough might allow more movement.

    This isn't so much lateral movement problem as it is a problem of keeping the blade parallel to the sides of the plane when adjusting it.

    jtk
    Yes, you can open it up. Edward Preston had a patent for just this situation. Instead of a rectangular slot he made it like a sideways hourglass. This kept the blade snug on the adjuster while allowing some lateral movement.

  11. #11
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    Here is a picture of how Preston did it. (From Joe Stankus spokeshave book).

    Preston Patent.jpg

  12. #12
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    This may complicate the picture. Sorry.

    The use I have for the LN Rabbet Block Plane varies. Firstly, the plane is used to fit drawers into drawer cases, such as this chest ...



    The problem here is that the sides of the case have bowed a little, and this will affect the running of a drawer, especially when the aim is a piston fit ...



    In this case, the plane is run along the drawer blade to level it out ...



    Here, the blade needs to be flush with the outside of the plane body.

    A second task is when the Rabbet Block Plane is used to create or tune wide rebates, such with breadboard ends. My preferred plane here is a skew rabbet plane, and then any tuning of the rebates is done with a Rabbet Block Plane. For narrow rebates I would use a shoulder plane. In both cases I want the blade to project a smidgeon past the body of the plane (not be flush with it). The purpose here is to have the blade cut into the corners of the rebate, which helps prevent a sloping cut, which is more likely with a flush blade.

    In all cases, the blade need to be sharpened square to the sides. A low cutting angle is fine since these situations involve cross-grain planing.

    Regards from Auckland

    Derek

  13. #13
    Thanks everyone for responding and helping out - there is some good info in the above posts for sure.

    And just to be crystal clear on the issue I'm facing, I can't seem to get the iron to cut evenly across it's width (i.e. cut evenly from left-to-right) while having the iron project out from the side of the plane body just right (and not too far), so that is can properly cut into a corner.

    As pointed out, I didn't mention that the blade is manufactured to be slightly wider than the width of the block-plane, by 0.005" for this plane (according to LN).

    Everything with the plane looks ok as far as I can tell - the iron side is square to the sharpened end, etc.

    David G., I think you and I are on the same page - you definitely are feeling my pain!

    I'm sure most here have seen this by now, but Chris Schwarz is apparently not a fan of this plane: https://neversponsored.substack.com/...plane-to-avoid

    Too bad he didn't have any tips on how to set it up properly!

  14. #14
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    If I were you, I'd adjust the plane so that I can take even shavings, regardless of whether the iron is perfectly aligned to the sides. Just treat it like a regular block plane to get you comfortable setting it up.

    I may be wrong, I don't have one of these planes, but from looking at the pictures, this being a bevel up plane. This plane does not seem to be designed to cut rabbets, but to clean them. A conventional rabbet plane, or at least the wooden bevel down ones I have and groove cutting planes (like my Stanley #50 and plough planes), have a slight relief on the side of the cutter that contacts the rabbet wall. This is necessary for the plane to cut a clean the rabbet wall.

    Your plane does not seem to work under that principle. It's bevel up. Making sure the side of the iron is aligned to the side of the plane you're placing against the rabbet wall just ensures you're planing close to the corner. This plane could even be viewed as a very wide shoulder plane, both are bevel up and their iron is the width of the body. One wouldn't use a shoulder plane to sink a rabbet, though.

    Do you have a shoulder plane? If you can get that to work, you can use the same process on your 60-1/2.

    As I write this, this plane seems as useful as my shoulder plane, not very much.

  15. #15
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    Too bad he didn't have any tips on how to set it up properly!
    From reading the article, it seems Mr. Schwarz didn't find a way to set it up as a proper rabbet plane.

    My thought is if the blade can not move side to side parallel to the mouth, whatever is preventing that movement needs to be corrected. From the description of this plane it sounds like the easiest may be finding a way to extend the depth adjuster slot to allow it to move side to side instead of pivot.

    Another solution may be to hone the side of the blade so it sits flush (or close enough) to each side without being moved.

    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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