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  1. #41
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    Here's yet another voice from a professional woodworker / self taught machinist.

    First, to do any sort of fine or accurate woodworking it IS important to have a flat sole on the plane. Not to tenths, maybe within .005. If my plane looks good checked 6 ways with a straight edge held up tp the light, then it's just fine. For a #4 a 12" straight edge as found in Starrett adjustable square. Ya gotta have something you trust to be straight!

    Most of the iron planes I've seen, old or new, have not been flat enuf. Lie Nielsen, yes, but you pay for it. And you may still have to flatten them later in life, they wear at the throat or just plain move, so it's useful to have this skill

    Lapping with abrasive paper only works if the sole is concave, convex soles stay convex. Even flat soles will become convex if you lap them long enuf. Not sure why, maybe the paper cuts more aggressively at the edge, maybe swarf accumulates under the center of the sole, whatever…

    I started with old files too, but my edges lasted longer than yours seem to. I wonder if all files are case hardened, I thought they were solid high carbon steel. I just used them straight form the grinder - worked, not as nice as a polished edge and probably didn't last as long, but it got me started. Gotta be careful not to get them too hot, or just re-harden them as advised above.

    I had an old cast iron surface plate, but if you have a machine with ground table that checks out with your straight edge (gotta have one you trust), you can use that to spot your plane. Light is pretty damn thin, if you can't see any between the straight edge and the table, it's flat enuf for spotting a hand plane. If you insist on using you tile, check it carefully with that straight edge, and if it's really flat rough it up a bit with abrasives so it holds blue better.

    I began by identifying the high areas, and then taking some heavy cuts to get rid of them and get the plane to not rock. Then get more subtle. If your just trying to get your plane to function, it doesn't have to have zillions of bearing points. Some deep gouges won't hurt at all. If want a thing of beauty, then you have to do it like the book and everyone says. I found once I got comfortable with the technique it was hard not to make it look great too. Sigh…

    So, I would just invest in a good straight edge if you don't have one, and then find some better files or heat treat yours and go at it. If you kie doing thi, then you can invest in better tools. Just my opinion, from 45 years struggling on the learning curve. Some here will think I'm dumb and don't know shit. I'd agree with them, but my planes are flat and work great

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    I wonder if all files are case hardened, I thought they were solid high carbon steel. I just used them straight form the grinder - worked, not as nice as a polished edge and probably didn't last as long, but it got me started. Gotta be careful not to get them too hot,
    they are solid carbon steel, more or less W1 (if not actually W1). It is correct to call something case hardened that is hardened on the outside and soft in the centre - contrary to the common way case hardening is used which is usually taken to mean the outside chemistry is changed. The distinction is important as they are W1 (or close) but are soft(er) in the centre. By the time you grind the teeth off and forge the fantail your edge is likely in the softer part

    So, to make it work you need to re-harden it and to reharden it you actually have to anneal/stress relieve as well - else you wil get cracking along stress risers where the teeth were cut.

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    Thanks everyone for the help. I really appreciate it. I'm going to try some of these out when I get a chance.

    Question about scraping method. I've watched a bunch of Japanese videos (one seen here) and they make a series of individual scrapes with spaces between them. They then work across the other diagonal doing the same thing. Am I missing something? I know they do that "oranging", or whatever that's called - the opposite of bluing - but it seems to be they don't care much for the gaps. Then I watched a training video and the man never lifted the scraper. He just did back and fourth and sometimes circular scrapes (here). I feel doing individual short scrapes about 1/4" will give the most accurate/controlled results, but I also find this way a lot difficult. The back and fourth method seems a lot easier. Either way their tools make it look so darn easy and I'm quite jealous.

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    interest video - also that the the scraper ends seem flat, ie not rounded.

    My take is they are roughing - wholesale removal of material in large 'zones' until you get the entire surface with some bearing spots. removing material from zones means you take several passes, alternating diagonals. You might do several passes between spotting if the zone is identified and you know its out several thou say. So in this roughing stage, you're removing lots of material from zones and if a spot is missed it gets hit on the next diagonal pass. One of the principals is the depth of cut is so small, its a overall average effect that brings the surface flat. Once you move from roughing to have bearing all over the surface, attention becomes more localized.

    that is bigger stuff than I'll ever scrape (thank god lol) so its a big of speculation on my part based on principles

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    Those Japanese scrapers are famous for scraping surface plates in Asia. There are several ways to scrape ...that's their method.
    I just wrote some rules I have teach...take a peek. http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...urface-294233/

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    Smile

    Zen and the art of scraping.

    I've heard there is a monastery in Japan where monks scrape to millionths without using any bluing...

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    Zen and the art of scraping.

    I've heard there is a monastery in Japan where monks scrape to millionths without using any bluing...
    You must be confusing that with Zen Purgatory!

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    My computer has been in & out of the shop for the past month, gone more than here & I have not had 'net access. Wife took pity on me & wired up an ancient notepad that is slower than watching hi-spot blue dry, and does screwy things every time I blink or hold my tongue wrong.

    That said (in case this post goes haywire) I probably did more than most to popularize the scraping process for handplanes starting back on the old Badger Pond Forum during the pleistocene era. Including a couple "Home Shop Machinist" articles in print before that.

    It is true that flat plane soles work better. Those of us that use them professionally know so. The rest of you don't count.

    Moving forward, and here all naysayers need to read carefully: My entire point about scraping plane soles for the past 20 yrs is that it is _faster_ than any other method, assuming tools and skills. But every other method requires tools and skills as well, so that is really out of the equation.

    So called "lapping" on glass plates with sandpaper will work, more or less. It is just slow and expensive compared to hand scraping; and the soles will _always_ be more or less convex across both width and length. The process compells this. But acceptable results are attainable, with some skill, knowlege, and a lot of sweat.

    Surface grinding plane soles works, sort of, with a ton of set up time and time comsuming attention druing the grinding phase. I have a couple surface grinders and have tried it from time to time. It is a good bit slower than handscraping and _never quite as flat_ as handscraping can be though it is often good enough if the mouth does not go hollow.

    I sometimes plane the soles on a shaper as a roughing op for scraping. A good shaper or planer can get very, very close with good (time consuming) set up and very careful work with very intelligently ground and honed cutting tools.

    The whole point of scraping is that it gets you to the end result faster, with less effort and generally less material removed. The biggest point of handscraping is that you always (assuming a good reference) know exactly where the surface is, and immediately know if something is diverging. Every other process is guess work, until you take it off the machine and check on a surface plate anyway. Then how do you set it back up? How do you correct if it is not flat in the areas that matter? Or on the "lapping" methods, it can improve/degrade/imporve/degrade, etc iteration by iteration but you never know it.

    I say make planes falt enough for your personal preference by any means that works. For those that understand the process, scraping is faster, less mentally stressful, cheaper, & by far the most predictable.

    the biggest problem with a tile that I see is that it could be convex, leading to a concave sole. The worst possible condition for a hand plane. If you are sure that won't happen and have other means to check, go for it. Though the ambiguity will cause a loss of time and confidence for the process. A plane sole does not need to be flat "all over" in the sense that it can have holes in the trailing edge. What is critical for best performance is that the front edge of the throat always contact first and has the best bearing density. IOW, a plane that is very faintly convex (less than .001" lengthwise for say a #6) will work quite well. One that is .001 hollow at the throat will always work with some problems that you might not be able to identify, it just won't work as sweetly as it could. In front of the lip should be very flat. Behind the blade needs to be flat to the front, but again, after the back of the throat area, it can have a few holes. I would not intentionally scrape a 3 point wave like the Japanese do because it makes it slightly more difficult to use a long plane as a jointer. On a short (metal) plane it does not save any time or offer any performance improvement.

    Again, scraping lets you understand exactly where the plane sole contacts, and exactly how flat it is where it needs to be, is easy to correct the proess and for many of us is just dead faster for the final result.

    I may be able to put up some pictures later, but am afraid running out of luck on this post since nothing really bad has happened so fat with this notepad.

    This subject really should be in the woodworking forum.

    smt

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    Default Pushing the OT envelope---not exactly scraping suggestions.

    SMT said it so well even when handicapped by a balky computer (similar to using a poorly tuned plane).

    Not mentioned so far and maybe obvious, but after you finish scraping the sole, be nice to yourself and take a file and generously ease all the vertical-to-sole edges especially the forward lip of the plane. That will prevent digging in which does happen if that end is too sharp and can be a problem on the sides as well. Also, if not already doing so, tuck a piece of crumbled up wax paper somewhere under frog or a recess in the handle. Pull it out often and sweep it over the sole a few times. That reduces friction dramatically and makes pushing your sweet, newly-flat the plane 3 times easier.

    Sorry for wandering. Done with good intentions.

    Denis

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    This notepad has not gotten any faster, but I'm gaining a little more facility with it.

    So here's an attempt at pictures.

    This is typical of what a plane sole looks like off the surface grinder. Obviously, the sole was ground a little earlier in the making process, and has the scars to show for it. But take my word for it, the pattern is typical. This was done on an auto feed grinder, with mist, good set up & practice. The problem is that the shape and massing of the metal (& also wood in this case) tend to make the soles go concave both directions. A concave sole is the worst possible configuration for a hand plane and makes them very poor performers. Factory planes, IME are way to often concave. Bad as this looks (& bad as it would perform) the sole is probably well within .001 or maybe .002 at the most. But it would perform like an absolute pig.





    Here's nearly finish scraped. still some scratches, which honestly I'm not that anal about. It's going to get scratched in use. But the points to observe are the concentration of bearing points right at the sharp edge (& it should be _sharp_) of the front of the throat. The essentially flat platform in front of the throat, and the slight fade in bearing out to the rear of the plane. Remember, we want the sole flat, but we never want it the least bit concave. So the fade is a little extra insurance.

    No machine process is going to get this result. So called "lapping" on abrasive sheets can come close, but you have no way to check. And it is difficult to ensure the critical area in front of the throat is flat, dense, and not low.





    All done and sort of purdy!





    smt

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    Here's an old commercial plane from 1869. While there are purists who think I should not be using or altering these, I'll leave it to others to argue, The point is that scraping is the least intrusive method to make them effective tools again. Note the density in front of the iron, and then the fade out toward the heel. The sole is scraped "flat" but the density of bearing varies, and there may be some holes out toward the tail.





    Here's a couple the scraping is about worn off. You can see the wear patterns of a plane that gets used a lot - tending to round off a bit on the edges. The #4-1/2 Satanley was scraped on the sides for decoration, but that was a couple decades ago.





    Scraping really improves the performance of smoothers, but there is a lot of value to having jointers with flat soles. Many of these have been scraped, some on the sides for square. Both for decoration and for shooting 90 deg angles.





    smt

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    Now exactly what benefits accrue for a flat sole, especially one scraped with favorable bearing biases as described?

    For a jointer, the plane works more "easily" and tends to do what it was designed for: shoot straight edges on very long boards. I have a 12" & a 16" (wide) long bed commercial (machine) jointers as well as an automatic through feed lumber jointer for straight edges. I still hand shoot glue joints for "important" work. While machine jointing is adequate for most work and small work, years of experiments at places like the National Forest Products Labs show that a well shot joint with cleanly severed fibers and no ripples as can essentially only be made by handplanes is about twice as strong (& more obsure). This may or may not have any use or interest to any given maker. But if it does, well fettled handplanes are an essential, not a frivolity.

    For smoothers, the primary objective is making smooth surfaces, often on gnarly grain, without tear-out. Again, you personally may or may not care. I too, have multiple power fed sanders of all types, sizes and styles, including a widebelt ("timesavers") a stroke sander, and some oddball units like a 13" wider jointer type machine with integral power feed, but a sanding belt instead of a cutterhead. But if you want hand plane wood surfaces to finish quality, then you want a plane that will do so easily with minimal tear-out.

    Here is a stick of brash QS white oak. The first picture shows the surface quality after it was planed in a machine against the grain.



    Still against the grain, now with a well fettled handplane optimised for smoothing, including a flat scraped sole:





    It's probably necessary to be a serious woodworker to apppreciate, but the practical benefits are an increase in the ability to plane wildly divergent grain and get smooth results.





    smt

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Now exactly what benefits accrue for a flat sole, especially one scraped with favorable bearing biases as described?

    For a jointer, the plane works more "easily" and tends to do what it was designed for: shoot straight edges on very long boards. I have a 12" & a 16" (wide) long bed commercial (machine) jointers as well as an automatic through feed lumber jointer for straight edges. I still hand shoot glue joints for "important" work. While machine jointing is adequate for most work and small work, years of experiments at places like the National Forest Products Labs show that a well shot joint with cleanly severed fibers and no ripples as can essentially only be made by handplanes is about twice as strong (& more obsure). This may or may not have any use or interest to any given maker. But if it does, well fettled handplanes are an essential, not a frivolity.

    For smoothers, the primary objective is making smooth surfaces, often on gnarly grain, without tear-out. Again, you personally may or may not care. I too, have multiple power fed sanders of all types, sizes and styles, including a widebelt ("timesavers") a stroke sander, and some oddball units like a 13" wider jointer type machine with integral power feed, but a sanding belt instead of a cutterhead. But if you want hand plane wood surfaces to finish quality, then you want a plane that will do so easily with minimal tear-out.

    Here is a stick of brash QS white oak. The first picture shows the surface quality after it was planed in a machine against the grain.



    Still against the grain, now with a well fettled handplane optimised for smoothing, including a flat scraped sole:



    It's probably necessary to be a serious woodworker to apppreciate, but the practical benefits are an increase in the ability to plane wildly divergent grain and get smooth results.


    smt
    What I like a man who backs up his statement with data...! Thanks for sharing Steven, I may have to go check my plane?

    Charles

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post


    For smoothers, the primary objective is making smooth surfaces, often on gnarly grain, without tear-out. Again, you personally may or may not care. I too, have multiple power fed sanders of all types, sizes and styles, including a widebelt ("timesavers") a stroke sander, and some oddball units like a 13" wider jointer type machine with integral power feed, but a sanding belt instead of a cutterhead. But if you want hand plane wood surfaces to finish quality, then you want a plane that will do so easily with minimal tear-out.

    It's probably necessary to be a serious woodworker to apppreciate, but the practical benefits are an increase in the ability to plane wildly divergent grain and get smooth results.
    Stephen has some pretty good credentials in this arena, plane making and such.

    I'll disagree with you though on that last line.....all you need to do to appreciate the difference is plane/scrape half a piece of hardwood and sand the other....after that sanding weill get relegated to the metal shop

    I don't yet have planes of Stephen's quality, but scrapers are a good way of achieve the same (close to?) result
    Last edited by Mcgyver; 11-23-2014 at 08:21 PM.

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    I'm jealous. But now I'm going to have to sneak off and check my plane. I'll see if I can save my sole.

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    This is typical of what a plane sole looks like off the surface grinder.
    For what it's worth I concur with Stephen's findings as that's exactly the pattern I've found too. I personally find the so called "lapping" method using paper produces the opposite effect, and no matter how careful you are, the plane sole will tend to be convex, badly convex if little care is taken, but always somewhat convex. Scraping is an excellent way to make a plane sole "flat" even if it's only flat for the purposes of woodworking and not metrology! Some of the main benefits are that it doesn't put any stress in to the plane through work holding when grinding, nor any heat. It's not a huge area to scrape therefore doesn't take long.

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    Alright I have to dig out my planes and scrape them now.

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    You people are upsetting me.


    This is a old family heirloom plane I flattened the sole on some 40 years ago.
    I don't remember the surface I used but is was probably a Formica counter top or the kitchen table.
    These days I get really fancy and use one of the Blanchard ground woodworking machine tables.

    image.jpg

    Note the nice cross hatch so the paper cuts instead of rolling the surface all over the place.
    I don't remember but it probably was all of ten minutes work.

    This surface is for all purposes flat in all axes- no light shows with a good ground edge:

    image.jpg

    And a Interapid indicator floats around on the easy run about .0005"

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tVo3x7S...e_gdata_player


    Before it settled down from my hot to trot hands setting up this damming evidence it was indicating about .002"
    What's that tell ya eh?

    Now these days I could do a better job of lapping the thing than I did when I was 15 if I were to bother.
    I wouldn't...



    Now this is a level in need of rescraping at this stage in its life:

    level.jpg

    That wood plane above never needs such treatment.
    If ya can't quickly get a wood plane serviceably flat with a bit of sandpaper, there are bigger problems in the shop than wonky plane soles...



    Forgive me for the primitive metrology done in this rant- this was produced in a professional WOOD-SHOP- we folks measure to the degree demanded by the work..

    image.jpg

    A shop run by a guy who is admit-ably a bit of a Luddite and sort of a hack.
    Last edited by Trboatworks; 11-25-2014 at 03:49 PM.


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