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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Trying to tune up / sharpen some planes, and I have a couple of questions BEFORE I start to work on them:

Have a Stanley block plan (not low angle) and a couple of Stanley Bailey bench planes.

1) When I plane, it generally takes a LOT of effort to get shavings, even if I have the plane set for a very minor amount of cutting depth.

2) The shavings are very tight curls, and they are very narrow. Maybe about a 1/4 inch wide (even though the blades are all over an inch wide), and very tightly wound. No flowing ribbon shavings here.

3) I don't have a micrometer, but the shavings SEEM relatively thin

Are those JUST symptoms of having a dull blade? Or do they point to something else (these symptoms are the same for all four planes I own).

Also, regarding sharpening.

I am just sort of "practicing" sharpening with some 600 grit wet sandpaper. I have a Stanley handyman that is in a bit of rough shape that I am practicing on.

I can't seem to get a burr on the iron with the 600 grit wet / dry no matter what I do. I have tried using a homemade angle guide, and have tried free hand. I have used a black marker on the secondary bevel to make sure I was scraping the right area of the blade. Still, no burr.

Should I try using a coarser grit of paper first, and then move on to the 600 W/D (and then on to a 1,000 grit W/D followed by a 2,000 grit W/D), or is it just my angle / pressure / direction that is messed up?

And finally, that handyman iron seems to have a lot of gunk on it. It doesn't look so much like rust, but more like something like a varnish or shellac or ??? It is like really old coffee that has been baked on or something. (maybe somebody put some clear finish of some kind ON TOP OF the rusted areas???)

I have tried using some mild household detergents (like liquid hand soaps) and even goo gone* , but it doesn't seem to be cleaning up.

Any suggestions on something that I can use that might already be around the house? I would rather not spend more money on chemicals to clean the blade than the blade is actually worth.

BTW: I do have the John English Bench Planes book and I haven't found anything in there specific to my problem. I have also watched the youtube videos by paul Sellars and Bob Cosman and have tried following their examples before throwing in the towel.).



*The US Department of Health and Human services Lists ingredients for goo gone as naphtha, petroleum, heavy aliphatic, Terpenes and Terpenoids, type citrus oil
 

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For my cleaning needs, I use Permetex Fast Orange Hand Cleaner with Pumice. Use if for my hands and also on hand plane parts if I need to remove existing dirt/grime etc. Useful stuff to have around.

How about some pictures.

If you are not getting a burr, you likely have not got the abrasive to the edge of the blade.

Without a picture I cannot tell the present condition of the blade.

All of my restorations needed the blade to be sharpened. Most had been really badly sharpened, some really butchered with a grinding wheel and hand held. My latest one had a decent bevel, but the overall blade edge was slightly curved.

I know many people get good results with hand held sharpening. I prefer to use a jig. I have the Veritas Mk II honing guide and it allows me to easily get consistent results.

For a restoration I start with 220 grit, unless one of the butcher fixups and then I will start with 100 grit.

I use abrasive paper on a granite slab. I hold the paper with one hand and move the jig/blade with the other.

You need to get a burr with each grit or else the grit has not removed metal up to the edge.

For the other questions,
1) When I plane, it generally takes a LOT of effort to get shavings, even if I have the plane set for a very minor amount of cutting depth.

If you are planing hardwood, it may take a lot of effort. I use a test piece of straight grain 2x4 softwood likely spruce or pine. Using the same piece each time allows me to tell if the plane is not cutting.

A plane not cutting can be due to many potential issues :
a) The blade is dull.
b) The sole is not flat
c) The cap iron is not making contact across the entire width of the blade.
d) The cap iron is set too far back from the edge of the blade.
e) The blade is set too deep.

2) The shavings are very tight curls, and they are very narrow. Maybe about a 1/4 inch wide (even though the blades are all over an inch wide), and very tightly wound. No flowing ribbon shavings here.

I get this if my blade is set too deep. Narrow shaving may be due to the sole not being flat. It is common for older planes to have been worn in the middle, so the sole is curved. The blade protrudes more in the centre than the edge.

To set the the blade depth.

I saw this in a Rob Cosman video, and now this is the method I use to set the blade.

a) First turn the plane over and adjust the blade depth so that the blade sticks out about 1/16in. This step is to adjust the blade to be parallel. Adjust the lateral adjustment lever so the blade is parallel. Then keep an eye on the blade as you retract the blade into the casting. As the blade is being retracted, you can confirm if it is parallel to the sole.

b) After the blade is retracted into the sole, then start to adjust the blade in the opposite direction - but only enough to take out any backlash in the mechanism.

c) Get a test piece of wood, in the US I would say a piece of "2x4" construction lumber which in the US is 1 1/2in thick x 2 1/2in wide (long story). I select a piece with straight grain and no knots. I clamp this in my woodworking vise wide side down, so I am planing the 1 1/2in edge, just so it is easier.

I make a pass down the test piece. If I removed the backlash but have the blade still within the casting I should not have any shaving. I use a plane left handed, so while still holding the plane, I reach out with my left forefinger and move the adjustment wheel upward a fraction of a turn. If you are right handed you will use the right forefinger and move the adjustment wheel down a fraction of a turn.

Make another pass. You may start to get a shaving. If no shaving take another fraction of a turn. Continue until you are getting very thin but consistent shavings. You can either stop at this point or continue until you get the thickness of shaving desired.

This method is so much easier to have the wood provide the feedback than the traditional method of sighting down the sole of the plane.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your detailed answer.

I don't have my camera with me. I will try and take some photos tomorrow. I still haven't figured out how to attach photos though.

I will try to find the Permetex Fast Orange Hand Cleaner. Is that something they would have at most supermarkets? Or would one have to go to an auto supply store or something like that?

I will look into the honing guide by veritas as well, although at $65 it costs as much as all four of the planes I have... If using a scary sharp on plate glass and sharpening a double beveled iron, could one not make a guide out of wood or plastic with a 25-degree and a 29-degree slope on it?

Oh, I forgot to mention that I have tried with both hardwoods and softwoods. For both the shavings were the same.
 

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I don't have my camera with me. I will try and take some photos tomorrow. I still haven't figured out how to attach photos though.

I will try to find the Permetex Fast Orange Hand Cleaner. Is that something they would have at most supermarkets? Or would one have to go to an auto supply store or something like that?

I will look into the honing guide by veritas as well, although at $65 it costs as much as all four of the planes I have... If using a scary sharp on plate glass and sharpening a double beveled iron, could one not make a guide out of wood or plastic with a 25-degree and a 29-degree slope on it?

Oh, I forgot to mention that I have tried with both hardwoods and softwoods. For both the shavings were the same.
If the performance is the same with hardwood and softwood, then you have some issue(s) with the plane.

Once you get some pictures, take a look at this "sticky" thread in the site help forum.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f16/how-post-photos-1120/

I think you should find the hand cleaner at auto stores, big box stores like Home Depot, some hardware stores.

You can certainly make your own sharpening jig for use with e.g., abrasive paper. This is a thread by Firemedic for an example.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/shop-built-sharpening-jig-30241/

I just sharpen my blades to 30 deg. I do not use a microbevel. Many people do.

If you want to compare, send me one of your bench plane blades and I will sharpen for you.

Oh, I forgot to mention. Check that the blades are flat across the edge. Easier to check the back than the front.

My most recent restoration was not cutting as good as expected, even after sharpening. I then placed a steel rule across the back of the edge and found the steel was curved not flat. I needed to flatten this on my anvil and then re-sharpen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the links and for the note about flattening and for the suggestions on where to find the cleaner.

Can I ask why you use a single 30 degree bevel instead of a 25-degree / 29-degree main / secondary bevel?
 

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Can I ask why you use a single 30 degree bevel instead of a 25-degree / 29-degree main / secondary bevel?
You may ask, good question.

It takes the same time to sharpen to any given angle. So in a given time period I can sharpen to 25 deg, or 29 deg or 30 deg. It takes some extra time, although not much, to add a micro bevel.

The old Record plane company used to advocate grinding to 25 deg and honing to 30 deg.

I do not expect any noticeable difference in performance between 29 deg and the 30 deg which was commonly used in the Stanley planes.

A blade sharpened to 30 deg bevel all the way, or a micro bevel of 30 deg should perform the same. So I just feel sharpen to the desired bevel and save a little time.
 

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A couple more thoughts after quickly reading through the posts so far: (apologies if these have already been mentioned by Dave)

If it takes a lot of effort to get shavings, waxing the sole(s) will help with friction. I don't think this is the reason for your difficulty, just a helpful hint. Johnson's paste wax is an inexpensive one that works well.

If you haven't yet, make sure the backs of your blades are flattened before you work on the bevels.

For me, the Veritas honing guide is worth it's weight in gold. Before buying one about 3-4 months ago I had been using the cheap $10-15 ones you can find everywhere - they worked ok, but it was tough to get and maintain square between the blade and the guide. They also do not hold on to chisels very well. With the Veritas guide you can dial in any bevel angle you want as well as hone a micro bevel without removing the blade from the guide. You are also assured that the blade is square when sharpening - something that is difficult with many of the cheap guides.

I don't mean to sound like an advertisement for the guide, but it saves me a lot of time and has increased the speed and accuracy in sharpening my tools.

If you continue to have problems, I'd advise you to take Dave's generous offer of sharpening one of your blades. It will eliminate one of the potential problems and will also show you what a well sharpened blade should look like and how it performs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you very much for the responses.

Yes, the wood was pretty smooth already, but I also tried on some rough wood as well. I tried going both directions just to make sure that I was going with the grain.

I did seem to make a LITTLE progress in getting a burr on the handyman iron. I stuck with the 600 grit wet dry paper and then stroked in just One direction - from back to front of the blade (I.e. the opposite direction that the iron travels when planing).

I will double check
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
(Continued...) Tomorrow that the back of the blade is flat.

One or two more quick questions though:

1) If you have a single bevel, how long is the bevel. I read somewhere 2MM is good.

2) where do you line up the end of the cap iron with your iron? I read somewhere that the edge of the cap iron should align with the rear of the bevel. So if your bevel extends 2MM from the front end of the blade toward the back end of the blade, then the edge of the cap iron would also be 2mm from the edge of the blade.
 

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1) If you have a single bevel, how long is the bevel. I read somewhere 2MM is good.

2) where do you line up the end of the cap iron with your iron? I read somewhere that the edge of the cap iron should align with the rear of the bevel. So if your bevel extends 2MM from the front end of the blade toward the back end of the blade, then the edge of the cap iron would also be 2mm from the edge of the blade.
I'm assuming you're asking if 2mm is a good length for a secondary bevel, not the length of a single bevel.

That sounds about the right length for a secondary bevel, I've never measured. The big advantage of a secondary is faster honing so you don't want it too long.

Placement of the cap iron is something that is always up for debate and partially depends on how you are planing. If you are smoothing and taking very thin shavings the closer to the edge the better, probably closer to 1/32" or even 1/64" (~1mm or less). If you are hogging material, move the cap iron back a little.

Once you get your iron(s) sharpened, play around a little with cap iron placement and see what works for your situation.
 

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(Continued...)
One or two more quick questions though:

1) If you have a single bevel, how long is the bevel. I read somewhere 2MM is good.

2) where do you line up the end of the cap iron with your iron? I read somewhere that the edge of the cap iron should align with the rear of the bevel. So if your bevel extends 2MM from the front end of the blade toward the back end of the blade, then the edge of the cap iron would also be 2mm from the edge of the blade.
For question 1) I may be confusing you.
I sharpen to a 30 deg angle on the front of the blade. The length of this bevel is defined by the thickness of the blade. Just regular Pythagorus calculation. So the length of the bevel is whatever it is.

Secondary or micro bevels are short and start at the very edge of the blade.

For question 2) see my reply in post #2 of an earlier thread you started on sharpening.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f11/how-do-you-sharpen-your-plane-iron-52004/
 

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you got some really good responses here so I'll just add a few notes.

I hate secondary bevels. Simplify until you can experiment.

wax or oil the sole. Paul sellers uses 3 in 1 oil, I use fluid film or wax.

I've restored lots of hand planes. I'm talking in the hundreds or maybe more. I HATE handyman planes. I will leave a $3 handyman sitting at a flea market. SOME of them take way to much work to make work in reasonable fashion.

keep at it. When you reach that " ah ha" moment, you'll know you've got it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
"The length of this bevel is defined by the thickness of the blade. Just regular Pythagorus calculation. So the length of the bevel is whatever it is."
Ahh... I understand that now. i didn't have a plane iron in front of me so I wasn't actually making the connection between the thickness of the iron and the length of the bevel. But now that makes sense that it is basically a simple triangle (as long as the BACK of the blade is flat - more or less).

So some of the aftermarket plane irons that are THICKER than stock plane irons would have longer bevels, while the thinner plane irons would have shorter bevels, right?

Thanks also for the reference to the other thread regarding cap iron placement. For the sake of comprehensiveness, I am going to repost it here, so in case anyone else is wondering, they can see it in this single thread:

For rough work, cap iron 1/32in to 1/16in from edge of blade.

For finishing work, cap iron 1/64in from edge of blade.

For hard woods with irregular grain - as close as you can get it to the cutting edge.
@ timetestedtools

Thanks for the tips regarding the waxing / oiling and the preference of a single bevel. I like simple.

"I HATE handyman planes. I will leave a $3 handyman sitting at a flea market. SOME of them take way to much work to make work in reasonable fashion."
I understand that the Handyman planes don't compare in quality to the Bailey or Bedrock planes (or some of the better quality non-Stanley planes).

That is why I am using the handyman to practice on. If I am going to mess something up, I would prefer to mess up the handyman. Then once I figure out what I am doing wrong, I will get to work on the Bailey planes.

On the other hand, the Handyman it is a hand-me-down so I would prefer to keep it around and on the bench for sentimental reasons at least.

Stan.
 

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That is why I am using the handyman to practice on. If I am going to mess something up, I would prefer to mess up the handyman
Yea, that's a good idea, and I was just making sure you didn't give up because it was to much work.

I also did a study and some testing with cap iron placement. I'm on my phone or I'd post a link to it. I can post it later if you're interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the worss of encouragement, and yes, would love to see the report on cap iron placement, so if you get a chance later, please do post a link to it.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Ahh... I understand that now. i didn't have a plane iron in front of me so I wasn't actually making the connection between the thickness of the iron and the length of the bevel. But now that makes sense that it is basically a simple triangle (as long as the BACK of the blade is flat - more or less).

So some of the aftermarket plane irons that are THICKER than stock plane irons would have longer bevels, while the thinner plane irons would have shorter bevels, right?
I do not think about the length of the bevel, only the angle.

Typical Stanley bench blade is normally stated to be 0.080in. I just measured by vintage Stanley blades. The thickness varies from 0.070in in my oldest circa 1880-1890, up to 0.090in in a No. 5 which has seen better days. No idea why the difference. The average is 0.080in.

Some replacement bench blades are thicker. This can be useful, such as for less chatter.

Just need to ensure that any replacement blade is not too thick so that the Y adjustment lever can still engage with the cap iron.
 

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I've restored lots of hand planes. I'm talking in the hundreds or maybe more. I HATE handyman planes. I will leave a $3 handyman sitting at a flea market. SOME of them take way to much work to make work in reasonable fashion.
.
T^3 (hope you don't mind the nickname), since you mentioned it in this thread, do you mind providing a little more insight to the issues you experienced with SOME handymans? I got a few I got off CL as a "lot" offer and you got me a little nervous to deal with them now lol.

GS, hope you don't mind me posting this here. Figured we both can benefit from his input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
"GS, hope you don't mind me posting this here. Figured we both can benefit from his input."
Of course I don't mind. I am very much interested in learning about the Handyman planes as well.
 

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Since you mentioned it in this thread, do you mind providing a little more insight to the issues you experienced with SOME handymans? I got a few I got off CL as a "lot" offer and you got me a little nervous to deal with them now lol.
I expect we will hear more from TimeTestedTools (Don) later.

Don has restored a lot more hand planes than I have. I happen to have purchased a group of planes last July, which started my slippery slope into restoring. One of the planes was a Handyman. I initially was going to pass this one in the rusty condition, but I hate handling rusty equipment so I cleaned it up.

It was passed on to another forum member.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f11/stanley-handyman-plane-looking-second-life-43390/

The lower end lines of planes, Handyman, Defiance, Craftsman, etc. were manufacturer to be priced less than other lines of planes, like the Stanley-Bailey, Stanley-Bedrock, etc.

In order to reduce manufacturing costs, some cost saving decisions have to be made. Some are lower cost materials, some are elimination of features, some are just quality of manufacturing.

Since I do not have the Handyman plane, I cannot take more pictures, and at the time I took very few.

I expect these do not have a frog adjustment screw. A nice to have, but should not be needed often.

The blade will likely not have the tempered cutting edge steel insert found in the typical Stanley-Bailey blade. This means it will get dull quicker.

There may be more "slop" in the depth adjustment mechanism. These planes normally have a two piece stamped steel Y lever instead of the Stanley-Baliey cast iron single piece Y adjustment lever.

The lateral adjustment lever may have less movement. I just checked a Craftsman No. 3 which has 0.5in width of opening for the slot end of the lateral adjustment level. A Stanley-Bailey No. 3 I got at the same time has 0.75in width. Wider will allow more potential for adjustment if needed.

The overall casting may be lower quality, less machining of the surfaces. Sole may not be flat. Sides may not be 90 deg to the sole. The mouth opening may not be right angle to the sides.

If the mouth opening is off, and if the lateral adjustment lever has less movement, it may be a challenge to get the blade to be right angles to the side of the casting. Can be fixed by putting a skew on the blade, but more work.

There are cosmetic differences, like the inexpensive wood used for the knob and tote, the tote having no toe, steel screws instead of brass, etc. These do not affect performance.

I think the biggest issue is how well the plane will keep its tuning. I recall Don mentioning this as his biggest headache in some earlier thread.

I like to pick up a plane and be able to use it. I would be frustrated if I had to tweak some settings each time.
 
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