Trying Plane

Trying Plane 2015-09-23T09:51:52+00:00
Mike in TN
Post count: 258

Trying Plane

Congratulations on keeping the heirloom alive. If it were me, however, I believe I would tune the tool toward a smooth plane use since it is a 5 1/2. If you just want a plane for rough work I would look for a scrub or a fore plane for the anticipated use or configure a standard short smoother or jack.

Plane nomenclature is a function of traditional plane construction, plane use, and plane setup. A jack is normally defined by its length and is just what the name implies. It can be configured for multiple uses but doing so reduces the value for other purposes unless you then reconfigure it. Common jacks are often configured with heavily cambered irons as substitutes for the shorter and lighter scrub planes and the longer and heavier fore planes just because the jacks are so much more available and are generally less expensive. Because both functions don’t require much accuracy in the tool to perform well, a lower quality tool can do the work Trying planes (English practice) were normally longer planes (like a jointer plane) that were set for general work and used the longer length to bridge low spots in a board during basic flattening, similar to a fore plane (a #6 in the Stanley numbering system) but normally for finer and longer work. What you are describing is a wide jack set up for fore plane (again, English practice) type work. German (a general term for traditional western European practice) work would have substituted the use of a scrub plane followed by a longer plane set for general work.

Iron camber affects three different aspects of work. The one most people are familiar with is the desire to remove large amounts of stock and requires a larger camber and throat clearance to handle the larger shavings. In that case, there is generally more tearout and the cap iron (if there is one) is pulled back to expose all of the cutting edge.

The second case is the very slight camber some prefer on smoothing planes. This helps to keep the corners of the iron from leaving steps in the work. In this case the mouth of the plane is left tight and the cap iron(chip breaker) is set very close to the end of the blade, both to reduce tearout of the final surface. Some folks prefer to leave the blade with no camber and just round the blade corners slightly.

The third use of camber is in jointing operations. By having camber on the blade the angle of the jointed surface can be adjusted slightly by simply moving the plane left or right during the planning stroke and can be controlled by using the fingers of the leading hand under the plane as a fence.

Have fun.

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