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Discussion Starter #1
I remember now. Sharp tools work better.

I have an old Ward's Master No. 4 plane. It worked OK for a while, but then I had an opportunity to use a really well set up plane, and, well... now it drives me nuts. This morning I absolutely needed to smooth a board, and had a few minutes to pull it apart and see what was going wrong.

Ten minutes later, I'd smoothed out the chip breaker with a coarse DMT diamond plate, touched up the iron on all three followed by a strop, confirmed that the breaker made much better contact (still not perfect, but a LOT better), and put it back together.

Right. Now I remember... sharp tools work better!

So if you're having problems with your tools, and you're a beginner like me, try touching up the edges and making sure they're put together right... it'll make a big difference.




Wards Master No 4 by a_mckenzie_4, on Flickr

(And yes, I know it looks like the sole is wavy. It's not. that was my old bench, and it was about as far from flat as it was possible to get...)
 

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Had similar experience just the other day. A few swipes on a couple of stone and the wood was not "bad" anymore.
 

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Great minds think alike - when they remember to think:laughing::laughing:

I did exactly the same thing this afternoon. I was trying to edge plane a couple of thin pieces for glue-up and was having problems, remembered I had been planing a lot of tough white oak, spent a couple of minutes sharpening and all was well:smile:
 

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Yea thats the name of the game knowing when the edge has gone,couple of licks on the stone and its right back up there.
Slicker than snot on a door handle.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This was all complicated for me by the fact that this Ward's Master was not only the first plane I rehabbed, but also the first one I used. So I didn't really know what I was doing. What I discovered when I took it apart was that the chip breaker basically made contact with the blade at two points: one corner, and a bulge in the middle. Almost all the time I spent working was spent trying to smooth that out. It could still use a little more, but it works a LOT better now.
 

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What I discovered when I took it apart was that the chip breaker basically made contact with the blade at two points: one corner, and a bulge in the middle. Almost all the time I spent working was spent trying to smooth that out. It could still use a little more, but it works a LOT better now.
Lack of intimate contact between cap iron and blade is common in the planes I have restored. Many people work on the blade, but overlook that the cap iron is an integral part of the Bailey design. Close contact across the front edge of the cap iron is very important to prevent chips from pushing themselves underneath. One chip caught and the plane will skip.

I have found the Lee Valley cap irons are a good performance improvement to the plane with the existing blade. Thicker, less chatter and sharp leading edge.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=66868&cat=1,41182
 

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I have become proficient at sharpening wood carving tools, gouges and so forth.
I do that for other people, also. Nice compliments, too.
This year is the start of my exposure to long straight edges (spokeshaves).
Yup. No difference at all. Sharpening proficiency is the source of at least
1/2 the pleasure in the wood work.

Just in case, my pair of spokeshaves have 28 degree bevels.
Cleaned up on 600 grit paper. Sharpened on 1500 grit paper.
Hones with chrome green on box card.
For both birch and western red cedar, this appears to be a satisfactory process.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah... learning to sharpen has been an interesting process. I think I've got it down enough that I can now make a tool better, and it's now a matter of fractional improvements rather than dramatic leaps. Getting a set of diamond plates (I just posted a review about them) helped too, since they cut a lot faster than my oilstone. I still like that old oilstone, but it's going to be kept as a spare, not a standard sharpening tool now.
 
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