Plane Iron Cambering

//Plane Iron Cambering
Plane Iron Cambering 2015-09-16T12:53:51+00:00
  • Creator
    Topic
  • #2027243

    Sanscoeur
    Participant
    Post count: 5

    In all deference to the very respected Paul Sellers, who scorns the use of a “curved” cutting iron, I’m getting ready to camber the blade of my Stanley 5 1/2 to make it into a true trying plane. I inherited this plane from my grandfather, and he used it to earn his MA in Industrial Arts in the 1930s. It was manufactured 1898-1902, so it may very well have originally belonged to his father. They were poor Okies who couldn’t just go down to the hardware store when they wanted a new tool.

    The blade configuration for this model of plane was changed in 1932 but, fortunately, I was able to purchase a pre-’32 NOS blade from Bob Kaune. I can keep Granddad’s original cutting iron intact and experiment with the new cutting iron.

    So, my question is: If I camber this iron at an 8″ radius how am I supposed to treat the cap iron? I suspect that the correct answer is not to worry about the cap iron because this tool is going to be used as trying plane. No need for a close match of the cap iron and cutting iron because this plane will never be yielding .001″ shavings. Is that correct?

  • Author
    Replies
  • Mike in TN
    Participant
    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.

  • Sanscoeur
    Participant
    Post count: 5

    Thanks for your insight Mike! My intention in trying to make the 5 1/2 a “trying” plane was to utilize the extra weight of the tool. The fact is that I do own a L-N scrub plane that I have utilized for smoothing work on particularly nasty surfaces. And I also have a very contemporary English Stanley #7. The truth is that I have rarely used the #7. Maybe I’d gain a new appreciation for this tool if I had some more facility with it.

     

    It is interesting to note your above reference to “German work”. According to French scholar Daniel Roche, about half of the craftsmen in carpentry who operated in 18th century France were German. That would help justify your citation of, “…traditional Western European practice” being labelled “German”. They were everywhere.

  • Derek Cohen
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    I agree with Mike. The #5 1/2 is one of those planes that many see as a larger of a #5 – which is the plane I would select for a blade with an 8″ radius. Frankly, I do not see where it fits in.

    It is too wide for a jack, which does better with a 2″ wide blade for thick shavings. It is too long for a smoother, which for wide panels one might better go with a shorter #4 1/2.

    It is too short to be used as a jointer – one might as well go with a #6.

    It has been made popular by David Charlesworth as a “super smoother”, but David does not dimension wood by hand – he simply smooths boards that were flattened on machinery.

    I’d sharpening it up and use in on a shooting board, if you do not have a BU plane.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  • Sanscoeur
    Participant
    Post count: 5

    Derek,

    Your shooting plane suggestion might be the most creative solution to keeping this old veteran tool active in the mix. Good thinking. Plus, it inspires me to get off my duff and actually create/use a shooting board.

  • Derek Cohen
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    Hi Sanscoeur

    There are a bunch of articles on shooting boards on my website. Scan about halfway down this index page:

    http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMadeTools/index.html

    A straight bladed plane, such as the #5  1/2 will work well with a ramped board – a little more work, if you are up to it. Here’s an example:

    Lots of accessories you can add ..

    Article:

    http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Furniture/BuildingaMitredPencilBoxwithaShootingBoard.html

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

     

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