Flatten & Scrape Hand Planes
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    Default Flatten & Scrape Hand Planes

    Hey everyone,

    New to the forum, and figured now would be a good time to join in with a trial and tribulation that has been discussed here a few times.

    My son and I are getting into woodworking, and have collected 5 Stanley bench planes - #4,5,6,7,8 and some smaller hand planes. Today we tried to adhere some sandpaper to a granite slab from a monument maker, that was supposed to be "flat", and began to sand the #8 sides and bottom. The result was poor and after checking the slab, it was not flat with an 18" sliding rule and feeler gauges.

    We are planning to build some hand planes, and want to scrape them. Yes, it is unnecessary, no we are not concerned about that, we want to try, and see what sort of result we can achieve. Now, the questions Flatten & Scrape Hand Planes

    To scrape hand planes, you will need;
    • A surface plate - presumably atleast the length of the longest plane?
    • Bluing fluid
    • Vice to hold plane upside down (we'll worry about scraping 1 side of 1 plane into square, once we manage to get 1 sole flat enough like @stephen thomas has shown on this forum)
    • Scraper - Saandvik seems to be most prevalent from online comments
    • Way to sharpen a scraper - cheaper is better for us if possible, not looking to go too crazy on the outlay yet
    •Dial indicator with base - Flatten & Scrape Hand Planes
    •Bastard file

    Is there anything else that's missing for scraping a sole into flat? Also hoping to do the face of the frog, the sole of the frog, and the connection point of the frog in the bodies themselves. The 4,5,6 have the 4 paw connection setup, and the 7&8 have the "hang over" single flat setup.

    The process looks something like;
    •blue ink on surface plate
    •place plane on surface plate
    •set plane in vice
    •scrape away at blue areas which represent "highs"
    •rinse & repeat

    Obviously sharpening the scraper will be critical, so any advice/links to reads would be appreciate. Advice on heavy material removal initially would also be appreciated. Any comments on what might have been missed or inadvertently ignored would also be great. Thanks in advance everyone. The goal is to scrape these planes in, even if the overall investment is a bit heavier than a new set of Lie Nielsen or Veritas planes. With the replacement blades & cap irons, the prices are not far off in total at this point already.

    The cosmetic components are going to be dealt with as well - handles, brass, bed paint, but preference is being given to utilitarian needs at the moment. Scraping may be more utopian - but .. it's all perspective Flatten & Scrape Hand Planes

    Brad

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    As a professional woodworker and tool collector, I have to ask what benefit you are trying to achieve by scraping.
    I'm well aware of the debate over how flat a plane sole should be, and my own belief is that if the plane works as you want it to, then it's OK.
    A plane isn't designed to produce an ultra-flat surface. Rather,it's the slight irregularities in a planed surface that distinguish it from a sanded or scraped surface. The result is visual appeal,not precision.
    For the record, none of my planes have been precision ground, or even "flattened". They are all as I got them,used and new,(mostly used) and I'm happy with them and the surfaces they produce.I've not been asked to produce a perfectly planed surface as a final finished product. I have been asked to produce a roughly planed "rustic" surface, but there the look is intentionally rough.
    Rick W

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    My Stanley planes have some corrugated bottoms. Happens that my Baily No. 8 and Stanley No. 7 have 13 V-grooves on the bottom.
    I prefer the corrugated bottom planes from the flat bottom ones. Wonder if anybody has chucked up a flat bottom plan and milled the V-grooves.

    If you do a nice scraping job it will eventually get messed up when working with hard type woods. Instead..

    After the scraping cut the V-grooves and it will reduce the plane bottom resistance.the plane. You will not need to flatten the bottom for a long time.
    If it did need flattening then it would glide across a paper grit a lot easier. As long as you don't go too far and narrow the V-grooves.

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    First, make sure they're not rare and valuable. Some of the corrugated planes go for a surprising amount. After that, anything's fair game that gets the surface where you want it, from traditional scraping to whatever.

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    I had gone to woodworking swap meets in the past. There were always a vast amount of planes.

    If anybody has a recipe on how to make Japan-Black that would make some touch ups in order.

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    Look up SkanWoods on Instagram, one of his stories is making japanning mix.

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk

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    A few updates. I've started the bottom of my block plane. It's not tensioned, it doesn't have a new blade, so no choice. I figured practice on that would be better than nothing.

    I cobbled together a scraper. I splurged on 2 Sandvik inserts. They will need sharpening tomorrow. Tomorrow will also come with a handle (currently just a metal "stick").

    I'm spotting with Charbonnel. In picture one, it's clearly too thick. I'm finding it very tacky. In the next few pictures, I rolled it out further, and it seemed to be spotting a bit better.

    My strokes are an issue. Aiming where I'm scraping is a trick. I think no handle on the scraper, and bare metal makes it worse, because it's terribly uncomfortable in use. But. Tomorrow, I'll mount a handle, and also wrap some hockey tape on it. Better grip too. In picture 4, you can see the strokes are getting a bit better, but consistently getting it to land where I want is an issue.

    Another stroke issue, is the angle of attack, and the pressure. I find I can't figure out consistently what angle to go at the piece with the scraper, to get the cut to not skitter over top, or too heavy of a pressure at the correct attack angle and get bogged down in the cut.

    Picture 6, we can see some high polish high spots, some light blue in the middle, and some moderate blue. The part was hinging decently. I'm hoping that lack luster scraping hasn't messed it up.

    Tomorrow; deal with the handle (lack thereof, it will also be the first time firing up the wood lathe). Deal with sharpen the side of the insert I've abused today. Flatten the Norton India slip stone for deburring. Fix the flat on the flat stock where the carbide insert fits. And hopefully get this thing spotting decently well!

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk

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    Nice!

    all my users are hand scraped, and when a plane's performance falls off, I'll check it again.

    Even some of my somewhat "rare & valuable" planes are scraped.
    Including some with corrugated soles. Like the Auburn Metallics & Stanley Bedrocks with corrugated sole.

    You will always get a few nay-sayers that don't understand what is possible with a hand plane, and whose work does not demand the ultimate. Or put another way, the penalty in the type work they choose to do, is not great for less than flawless performance. For me it is not a fastidiousness issue, it is a time & $$$ economic issue. Of course, there are a lot of areas in a plane that must be attended to (as you seem to be aware). Scraping a sole in isolation from the system won't bring out the most but it is a good place to start.

    smt
    Last edited by stephen thomas; 02-20-2021 at 11:34 AM.

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    Looks like a great start Brad! I'm a big fan of scraping planes for flatness. I think its easier and faster than lapping, great for hogging off iron, and it automatically correcst for stress relief, which is hard to do with surface grinding . When I first tried scraping, I used old files that I sharpened on a bench grinder. Works just fine, but the edge doesn't last very long. On the other hand it's free, and you can experiment with different rake angles, tool width and curvature. I now use a sandvik tool with carbide inserts.

    I'm no expert, pretty rank amateur actually. But it occurs to me that your difficulty with "aiming" might benefit from a narrower tool. I'm not sure if your pix are of roughing it in, but I like to use a much smaller pattern once I get close to flat. Maybe I'm wrong and someone will correct me, just my self taught method.

    And I'd ignore the doubters and naysayers, I'm absolutely convinced I have more control with a flat sole, As far as appearance, a hand planed surface will never be perfectly flat. The plane iron needs to have some curvature, and the resulting surface will reflect that. You can always exaggerate it if you prefer a less refined look. Everyone has to decide for themselves how they want to work and how their work will look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Nice!

    all my users are hand scraped, and when a plane's performance falls off, I'll check it again.

    Even some of my somewhat "rare & valuable" planes are scraped.
    Including some with corrugated soles. Like the Auburn Metallics.

    You will always get a few nay-sayers that don't understand what is possible with a hand plane, and whose work does not demand the ultimate. Or put another way, the penalty in the type work they choose to do, is not great for less than flawless performance. For me it is not a fastidiousness issue, it is a time & $$$ economic issue. Of course, there are a lot of areas in a plane that must be attended to (as you seem to be aware). Scraping a sole in isolation from the system won't bring out the most but it is a good place to start.

    smt
    I'll be scraping them all as well. I understand what capacity a plane can operate at, after seeing your planes work against the grain in quarter sawn white oak, as well as wood bodied Japanese planes that are scraped hollow and then flattened on a granite flat. With the blade bedded to the wood body through scraping the bed.

    I would love a fleet of Lie Nielsen's, or a bunch of handmade infills. First, there's no challenge in buying a new plane. Second, the cost is prohibitive, as you mentioned. Third, I have all of these old planes I've collected; I'm in my 20s, and would love to have them tuned up to work at their best for the remainder of my life and into my children's lives.

    If they go out of flat, I will rescrape. I have blades honed to wickedly sharp edges, and well fitted chipbreakers, that still can not match my Veritas planes, because they aren't flat enough (flat in the right spots). I don't have a blade for this block plane, so I can't tension it, nor spot the bed area for scraping before moving to the sole, but it's a practice piece of cast iron. After this I move on to my users that do have the parts requiring attention, prior to scraping the sole.

    I'm having trouble with a few things - the spotting with the Charbonnel, I'm either too heavy or too light on the ink. When I make a pass, and I avoid the areas that are low, I have thrown my plane out in its hinging. Still struggling with the pressure of the cut.

    Hopefully I can get this to hinge properly, 10ppi, and ~50% distribution in the next few days, then onto a user. I'll probably start with my #4, because it's my least favorite oldy. Here's an updated pic for where it stands now. I may do another pass or two this evening.

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    Looks like a great start Brad! I'm a big fan of scraping planes for flatness. I think its easier and faster than lapping, great for hogging off iron, and it automatically correcst for stress relief, which is hard to do with surface grinding . When I first tried scraping, I used old files that I sharpened on a bench grinder. Works just fine, but the edge doesn't last very long. On the other hand it's free, and you can experiment with different rake angles, tool width and curvature. I now use a sandvik tool with carbide inserts.

    I'm no expert, pretty rank amateur actually. But it occurs to me that your difficulty with "aiming" might benefit from a narrower tool. I'm not sure if your pix are of roughing it in, but I like to use a much smaller pattern once I get close to flat. Maybe I'm wrong and someone will correct me, just my self taught method.

    And I'd ignore the doubters and naysayers, I'm absolutely convinced I have more control with a flat sole, As far as appearance, a hand planed surface will never be perfectly flat. The plane iron needs to have some curvature, and the resulting surface will reflect that. You can always exaggerate it if you prefer a less refined look. Everyone has to decide for themselves how they want to work and how their work will look.
    I don't have access to a surface grinder, and I gave the lapping a spin in the summer time. The lapping took forever, and it got me hardly anywhere.

    I will be relying on my hand planes quite a bit, come April, and I would like them working well by that time. I tried the smaller insert as you suggested, I didn't find it helped. I think once I do the improvements that need to be done to the scraper handle, that should help. I'm also thinking practice is going to be the most important component in this function. Even today, the scraping was a bit better, the aim seemed to be somewhat improved. Every time I make a pass, it seems like a new question pops up, and that's the challenge.

    At this point, the hinging is back out of wack. I keep getting these really highly polished spots when I print, and I am thinking next pass I'm going to knock those down alone, then reprint, and see if that's closer to spotting more evenly. Not having a good handle on the Charbonnel is not making life any easier.



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    IMO, surface grinding a plane sole is difficult and to be avoided. Lapping it is a fools errand unless the error is tiny. Scraping makes sense and I find it holds the paraffin I like to lube the sole with. In this application it's all cosmetics. I've roughed in a plane sole with a coarse rat-tail file and it worked just fine. Prettier with a proper scraper though.

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    Question for the OP, with an admission that I have not read the whole thread yet... At least, not to pick out the details...

    Did you get a decent flat reference surface? Or are you 'scraping in' your plane body to the granite headstone you started with?

    Because if you are putting work in, and not using a decent reference surface, you are pretty much, wasting your time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trevj View Post
    Did you get a decent flat reference surface? Or are you 'scraping in' your plane body to the granite headstone you started with?

    Because if you are putting work in, and not using a decent reference surface, you are pretty much, wasting your time.
    Yes, this is critical!!!

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    For better aiming try a smaller radius on the cutting edge
    Do you have a diamond grinding stone to grind ?? Need that as a minimum Better is also a lapping wheel
    Green stone is not gonna work

    Peter

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    Very true! Carbide can be extremely sharp, but not using a green wheel. Something like the diamond wheels on an Accufinish grinder is needed, or a diy lapping disk.

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    It's not so much the actual width of the scraper bit that people are commenting on, but the radius. The size of the marks in the photos is not "wrong" for a plane or your stated goal of 10 points/inch^2. However, a smaller radius tool & commensurately shorter stroke that might ultimately yield a denser bearing (20 - 25 points?) will actually be a little easier to use to dial in the all-over coverage on a small item like a #4 & smaller plane sole.

    Peripheral comments, there is an advantage to dense bearing on the infeed lip.
    For a plane, while it should not rock on a surface plate, a dense bearing around the lip & toe area with less dense on the sole behind the iron (blade) is not a disadvantage.

    For planes, either the cap iron (not generally applicable with block planes and other bevel up planes) is the chipbreaker/chip control. Or the edge of the lip in front of the blade is. Regrettably, a perfectly functioning (IOW very sharp, obtuse angle, closely set) cap iron is not physically possible in the space set by a perfect (fine, uniform, sharp edged) aperture in front of the iron. So the choice is one or the other, though a plane can easily have both options in one platform, user choice for the task.

    I keep threatening to make a Mk2 version of my adjustable pitch, adjustable throat, cap iron equipped smoother that includes a hardened steel re-sharpenable "blade" at the aperture edge of the toe piece. Like a veneer slicer uses. Other major projects and currently skiing get in the way.

    Per your objectives, you should also experiment with a "perfect" cap iron in an open throat. To gain another perspective on options for optimizing shaving control, & obviating or dramatically minimizing tear-out.
    Chipbreaker Study

    As per many woodworkers' experience and noted in the above link, pitch of the cutter face is a contributing factor (greater usually = less tear-out) but IME is more effective as wood hardness increases. IOW. too steep in softwoods can lead other versions of surface defect. A bevel up plane most of which include adjustable toe pieces, can have the bevel quickly ground to any pitch, and the aperture immediately adjusted as preferred.

    Get a comfortable handle on the scraper.

    Have fun.
    Keep reporting.

    smt
    Think Snow!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickw55 View Post
    I have to ask what benefit you are trying to achieve by scraping. I'm well aware of the debate over how flat a plane sole should be, and my own belief is that if the plane works as you want it to, then it's OK.
    If you're a professional woodworker you're going to know a lot more about this than I. However, I can square and dimension a piece of would by hand and when doing so, the flatness of the plane is main feedback mechanism you receive when planing. I don't believe you're going to benefit from flatness to a 10th, fairly easily achieved by scraping, but all things being equal, more flat is better than less flat. Some of mine where not that flat and scraping is an easy way to get them so without any risk of warping (as per tales of warping from grinding....don't know if its a real risk, but with scraping I don't have to find out).


    A plane isn't designed to produce an ultra-flat surface. Rather,it's the slight irregularities in a planed surface that distinguish it from a sanded or scraped surface. The result is visual appeal,not precision.
    Are you saying you want the irregularities or that they are a feature of planing? Not sure I agree with that. planed and scraped is the superior to finish compared to sanding and the more accurately you are able to plane, the less scraping you'd have to do

    As for sharpening a scraper blade, de rigueur is lapping. I get the top and bottom polished to a mirror then sharpen the ends on the home lap below using 10 micron diamond paste. the cutting edge is obtuse so you get two cuttings on the end of each scraper




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    Quote Originally Posted by trevj View Post
    Question for the OP, with an admission that I have not read the whole thread yet... At least, not to pick out the details...

    Did you get a decent flat reference surface? Or are you 'scraping in' your plane body to the granite headstone you started with?

    Because if you are putting work in, and not using a decent reference surface, you are pretty much, wasting your time.
    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    Yes, this is critical!!!
    Yes, I got myself a B or A grade (can't remember which because I have to get a second plate which is a bit larger, for when I get to my number 8. This granite flat I purchased was just to get started. Also in case I messed it up, I didn't go crazy on what grade it was.) It is a 12x18". The head stone is relegated to flattening the India stone with sandpaper now and adding weight to the wooden bench I'm scraping on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter from Holland View Post
    For better aiming try a smaller radius on the cutting edge
    Do you have a diamond grinding stone to grind ?? Need that as a minimum Better is also a lapping wheel
    Green stone is not gonna work

    Peter
    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    Very true! Carbide can be extremely sharp, but not using a green wheel. Something like the diamond wheels on an Accufinish grinder is needed, or a diy lapping disk.
    I have diamond bench stones I use for my wood tools before honing on water stones. I purchased a few of the diamond disks - 320, 600, 1,200, 3,000 with the intention of making a slow speed grinder, but that didn't pan out. I am going to sharpen the way Robin Renzetti posted on Instagram recently, using the same diamond discs.

    If that doesn't work out, I'm also considering something like what Oxtools posted in a Monday meatloaf a few months ago, where there was an arm attached to a pivot that reached the scraper in a vice and he worked the face that way.

    I have 2 Sandvik inserts, one is 120mm and the other is 90. I probably should have purchased the 60 instead of the 90, but live and learn.

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