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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got a plane off craigslist (my first) but have been unable to use it because I can't seem to get it to shave right.

I've tuned everything up how I think it ought to be, based on what I've researched. I think the main issue is that I only have 1200 paper and can't get a good enough edge because of it. But at the same time, I was once able to get a borrowed little stanley block plane to take shavings only at 1000 grit. Maybe it's just because the iron is that much smaller.

So do you think I just need to get it sharper or is it more likely I've faltered in my technique in setting up the plane?
 

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What is the plane? What wood are you using it on? Face, edge, end grain cut?

Could very easily be the sharpness (or lack thereof) but other factors could be at play.

Try taking a scrap of a 2x4 or other SPF wood and see if you can get shavings working the edge of the board. You should be able to even if only sharpened with 1200x paper. If you can't, it could very well be something in the setup of the plane.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Haha ya I guess I did leave out some info, eh?

Wood: anything. can't even git it to do much to pine even on a 1-2" edge grain pass. I hope to use it on rock maple.:huh:
Type: Stanley 5 1/4
Sharpening: No jig yet (since it's my first) but the bevel measures at about 35 degrees. I've had no issues with chisels, but I guess they can be more forgiving.

The iron was in decent shape when I got it but it did need some leveling on the back. I also leveled the sole. Not sure if one issue could be too much opening in the mouth (1/8th)? If I advance the frog to close the opening, then I can't seem to retract the iron far enough back. Then again, maybe I was setting the chip breaker too far back too which was causing that issue.

I messed with it at the start of my project but haven't picked it up since. Now that I am taking a break from it I am revisiting my errors.

I wish I had taken some pictures when I was in town. I have an odd situation where I live across state from "my" shop.
 

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As the others mentioned, 1200 grit should be more than sharp enough to get shavings, especially in pine.

Very difficult for us to give a remote diagnosis. If you are willing to send me the plane I will see if I can get it working for you. I expect whatever is wrong is easy to fix if I had the plane.

Without seeing the plane, my best guess is that the blade edge is not sharp.

You mentioned not having a jig so sharpened by hand.

I use a jig, but in one of my restorations, I did not pay attention to getting a burr. I went through all the grits up to 2400.

The plane did not want to make shavings. I looked at the edge under a 10x lope and could see light being reflected off the edge - it was not sharp.

I put this back in the jig, went through the grits, this time ensuring I had a burr before going to the next grit. This time the plane made nice fluffy shavings.
 

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The sharper the plane iron the better.

When planing figured or problem grained woods I'll use a variety of planes but as I move to the smoothers I might re-tune the iron several times during the smoothing of one board.

Bret
 

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I can use mine at 220 grit, but after asking here what the point of going higher was, I've found it is easier if I go higher, particularly if there is figure. I'm not as expert at this as Jean and Dave but here are my tips from the lower end of the experience spectrum:

If you hold the blade perpendicular to your thumbnail does it stick or slide? If it sticks you are sharp enough. If it slides you're not sharpening the tip when you're trying to hone it. Rub the bevel with a sharpie, take some swipes on your paper and look at where you're taking off the ink. Many people love jigs, I have better luck by hand.

On my planes setting the frog so the blade is supported seems more important than worrying about the mouth opening. Set the chipbreaker so that the iron is entirely retracted when the wheel is spun up. Slowly advance the blade and take a swipe on your board until it starts to bite. Continue advancing until you're taking as thick a cutting as desired. If you're seeing grooves check the lateral adjustment.
 

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I am guessing, but it sounds like both technique and set up.

1.) Make sure the iron is bevel down, even at 320 grit it should be OK, although most prefer higher.
2.) The chip breaker (Cap iron) is not that important, I adjust for 1/16" behind cutting edge.
3.) The iron should not protrude beyond the sole more than 0.003".
4.) Ideally the frog should be adjusted to allow about 1/16" gap between iron and throat, but again not that important.
5.) Adjust the lateral adjustment lever so the 0.003" iron protrudes parallel equally across the sole.

With the above adjustments, when you start planing, if the board is not perfectly flat, you will be removing only small shavings on the crests of the board, or only on a few spots of the board. Just keep at it and as the board gets flatter you will end up with nice long shavings.
 
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