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post #1 of 40 Old 04-11-2015, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Sharpening Hand Plane

I bought a cheap Kobalt hand plane from Lowes, and I'm trying to get it sharp enough to do some work on birch. I watched a number of videos online, and I've been working on getting it sharp with a wet stone. However, whenever I try to do some planing, it just ends up gouging the wood instead of getting strips. When I adjust the depth lower, it sorta ends up gouging saw dust chunks out of the wood, still no strips.

What am I doing wrong here? Does it all boil down to brand quality? I knew the Kobalt isn't great, but I figured I'd still be able to sharpen it up enough for a simple job.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 40 Old 04-11-2015, 03:53 PM
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Sounds like you may have too much open throat (open space from iron to shoe)

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post #3 of 40 Old 04-11-2015, 04:49 PM
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It does take IMO (a lot of) practice to get a sharp blade, even using a sharpening jig! Tried sharpening blades/chisels for a while and decided to have all my sharpening done by a pro. May spend a few $, but eases my mind to know it was done right! Be safe.
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post #4 of 40 Old 04-11-2015, 07:57 PM
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It takes a huge amount of practice to get a hand plane working properly, so dont get discouraged that it isnt working perfectly at first. First thing you need to do it make sure the blade is razor sharp. Sharpening can be done with nearly anything that can abrade the steel, but personally i like using silicon carbide sandpaper (400-2000 grit) on a piece of granite. You can do the sharpening freehand, but a honing guide makes the process a lot more painless. An oft overlooked part of sharpening, though, it that you need to make sure the back of the iron is flat as well, and on cheaper irons they nearly never are by default. Flatten the back the same way you sharpen the bevel.

You also need to make sure the base of the plane is perfectly flat as well. If the sole isnt flat, the plane wont work properly. You can check flatness with whatever straightedge you have around. ust retract the blade, set the straightedge on the sole and see if you can see any light passing through gaps. If you can, you need to flatten the sole. This can be done with nothing more than a flat surface and some sandpaper. Find a way to affix the sandpaper to the flat surface and scrub the sole of the plane across, same as you would flattening the back of the iron. Keep at it until you can see any more gaps when held up to a straight edge.

Planes are pretty simple tools, and the biggest differences between the fancy ones and less fancy ones is usually it and finish. Take a few minutes to tune one up and you can get that Kobalt plane working every bit as well as a Veritas

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post #5 of 40 Old 04-14-2015, 09:05 PM
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Hand planing

I don't mean to insult you but, I'd like to ask a more basic question about your planing technique. From the sounds of the results your getting are your sure your planing down grain?

If so, then the edge on the blade and the chip breaker interface could be the issue. First if you don't have a shape edge at low grit (stone or sandpaper) where you can feel the burr at the back of the edge keep sharpening at that grit until you do. Too many begineers jump too quickly to higher grits that give you a very polished look but not a sharp edge. Second, the chip breaker need to be dead flat across the back of the blade without any gaps (where you can see light) or you will just clog up very quickly.

Hand pressure on the plane is also important when you have the rest taken care of; pressure on the front at the start of the stroke switching to even pressure and then at the back of the plane at the end of the stroke.

I apologize if you already know all of this and are just looking for sharpening tips.

Jack
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post #6 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 01:12 AM
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I, for one, have never mastered the plane. If anyone knows of a good online resource - even a good YouTube video explaining how to properly set up a plane, I'd love to see it. I am able to get my blade to easily slice through paper, but it's always hit or miss when I try to make shavings.
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post #7 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
It takes a huge amount of practice to get a hand plane working properly, so dont get discouraged that it isnt working perfectly at first. First thing you need to do it make sure the blade is razor sharp. Sharpening can be done with nearly anything that can abrade the steel, but personally i like using silicon carbide sandpaper (400-2000 grit) on a piece of granite. You can do the sharpening freehand, but a honing guide makes the process a lot more painless. An oft overlooked part of sharpening, though, it that you need to make sure the back of the iron is flat as well, and on cheaper irons they nearly never are by default. Flatten the back the same way you sharpen the bevel.

You also need to make sure the base of the plane is perfectly flat as well. If the sole isnt flat, the plane wont work properly. You can check flatness with whatever straightedge you have around. ust retract the blade, set the straightedge on the sole and see if you can see any light passing through gaps. If you can, you need to flatten the sole. This can be done with nothing more than a flat surface and some sandpaper. Find a way to affix the sandpaper to the flat surface and scrub the sole of the plane across, same as you would flattening the back of the iron. Keep at it until you can see any more gaps when held up to a straight edge.

Planes are pretty simple tools, and the biggest differences between the fancy ones and less fancy ones is usually it and finish. Take a few minutes to tune one up and you can get that Kobalt plane working every bit as well as a Veritas

Not all entirely true. The Kobalt plane will NEVER perform as well as a Veritas plane, or even a vintage stanley for that matter. They are mass-manufactured in China with zero attention to detail, made from cheap materials. Tons of slop in the adjustments and if you can get it to produce a nice thin shaving, good luck getting it to hold its tuning for more than 5 strokes.

Also, a plane's sole does not need to be perfectly flat to work properly. I lap them only until the area from the front edge to the mouth is dead flat & coplanar with a couple inches of the heel. I also check that the perimeter of the sole is all in the same plane. A twisted sole is useless, but contrary to popular belief they do not have to be perfectly flat.
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post #8 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 08:57 AM
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That's for one, assuming that anything made in China is of such low quality it can't be used precisely. I've got a table saw, jointer, drill press and a bunch of routers (among other things) that beg to differ.

2nd, that's assuming that if it's built cheaply, someone can't spend the time to make it perfect. Things like polished castings and perfect paint don't have an impact on usability, but do impact overall costs on high end products.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #9 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 09:13 AM
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Sharpening Hand Plane

Things like precisely machined adjustments and bearing surfaces are very important to the functionality of a hand plane. I'm not talking about polished castings. Do you even do any hand planing? We're not talking about table saws and routers here...

Edit: I should mention that I have held in my hand and attempted to use a Kobalt, a cheap Chinese Stanley, and the Horrible Freight plane. All are junk, and not even heavy enough to use as boat anchors.

Last edited by BZawat; 04-15-2015 at 09:20 AM.
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post #10 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 09:25 AM
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To be fair id hate to ever use a plane that was heavy enough to use as a boat anchor :)
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post #11 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Parabola View Post
To be fair id hate to ever use a plane that was heavy enough to use as a boat anchor :)

Lol me neither. A heavy plane is great for smoothing figured grain, but it will wear you out.
The "boat anchor" thing is just a figure of speech; a totally rusted and un-restorable vintage plane is called a boat anchor, cuz that's all it's good for ;-)
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post #12 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 10:42 AM
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Sharpening Hand Plane

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Originally Posted by ryan50hrl View Post
That's for one, assuming that anything made in China is of such low quality it can't be used precisely. I've got a table saw, jointer, drill press and a bunch of routers (among other things) that beg to differ.

2nd, that's assuming that if it's built cheaply, someone can't spend the time to make it perfect. Things like polished castings and perfect paint don't have an impact on usability, but do impact overall costs on high end products.

A China plane is garbage. They don't hold their adjustment, their adjustments have way too much slop, they are hard to adjust, and it takes a lot of work to get the blade and sole ready to use. Some China tools good, but garbage hand planes aren't one of those tools.

Last edited by hwebb99; 04-15-2015 at 11:34 AM.
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post #13 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 01:26 PM
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It's a blanket statement about tools made in a particular country....just saying...

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #14 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan50hrl View Post
It's a blanket statement about tools made in a particular country....just saying...
Have you ever found a china plane that is not junk?
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post #15 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterjer View Post
I, for one, have never mastered the plane. If anyone knows of a good online resource - even a good YouTube video explaining how to properly set up a plane, I'd love to see it. I am able to get my blade to easily slice through paper, but it's always hit or miss when I try to make shavings.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYCGQz0wqTk

There are tons of videos on youtube about hand planes.

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post #16 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by hwebb99 View Post
Have you ever found a china plane that is not junk?
Yeah, I use a cheapie craftsman block plane, complete with the mystery steel blade it came with. No fancy Norris adjuster or adjustable mouth or magnesium bronze casting, but you know what? It makes shavings just fine. Makes it just as good as a Veritas.

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post #17 of 40 Old 04-15-2015, 03:16 PM
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Sharpening Hand Plane

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Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Yeah, I use a cheapie craftsman block plane, complete with the mystery steel blade it came with. No fancy Norris adjuster or adjustable mouth or magnesium bronze casting, but you know what? It makes shavings just fine. Makes it just as good as a Veritas.

How old is the plane? The old craftsman planes were made in the USA.
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post #18 of 40 Old 04-16-2015, 01:23 AM
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How old is the plane? The old craftsman planes were made in the USA.
Bought it new 2 years ago. Definitely China made, definitely works great. China made != crap. China made == made in china

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post #19 of 40 Old 04-16-2015, 06:19 AM
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Sharpening Hand Plane

No, it's a blanket statement about hand planes made in a particular country. And it's 100% true.
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post #20 of 40 Old 04-16-2015, 08:55 AM
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Epicfail has one and appears to dispute that "fact".

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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