Transitional Plane Tips

//Transitional Plane Tips
Transitional Plane Tips 2015-07-15T17:23:08+00:00

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  • #2026803

    Addedtothecause
    Participant
    Post count: 16

    Hey Guys,

    I just purchased my first transitional plane, a Stanley 29 in decent condition, on ebay for $20. Any tips for tuning up these planes before use? And does anyone know how to tighten the rear tote if you don’t have a split-nut screwdriver?

    Thanks,

    Scott A.

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  • Antonio
    Participant
    Post count: 7

    Basics first

    My best source of learning to tune up hand planes is a book by Christopher Shwartz, “Handplane Essentials” is worth is price and the best way to take the bear value out of you hand plane, wheather it is cheap or not, there tou could find and excellent source of knowledge

    • Addedtothecause
      Participant
      Post count: 16

      Thanks. I’m sure it is worth the money. He’s a wicked smart guy. Do you remember if he covered wooden bodied planes in that book?

  • Antonio
    Participant
    Post count: 7

    Handplane essentials

    I remember there is a small part devoted to it, but it main focus is on bench planes

  • Mike in TN
    Participant
    Post count: 264

    Transitional Planes

    A screwdriver for split nuts can be made from a regular screwdriver and a Dremel type rotary tool. Just make sure the driver fits the slot well and grind out a gap to clear the screw.

    The sloes of transitional planes are tuned like wooden bodied planes. There are videos on YouTube that cover that pretty well. Flatten the soles and re-mouth (patch) as necessary for the intended use with scrubs, jacks, and fore planes having relatively open mouths, and smooth and jointers being relatively tight. The metal slope of the frog can be smoothed with a file and should be aligned with the slope of the mouth of the wooden base. I normally do the alignment with a small six inch ruler. These planes were very popular with carpenters but can do work as fine as wooden bodied planes in my opinion with the possible exception of wooden smoothers.

    Transitional planes haven’t yet gotten the attention that metal and purely wooden planes have lately and are still a good value in my area for very functional user planes.

    • Mike in TN
      Participant
      Post count: 264

      Transitional Planes

      First let me address the lateral adjuster: if this is just going to be a user plane and you can’t use the laterial adjuster because of the short length you can always do the adjustment with small hammer taps just like doing it for a wooden plane. I have never had to do it, but I have read that you can carefully file or grind the lateral adjustment post/pin end at the bottom and remove the adjuster. Then do the same on a parts plane and put that adjuster on the old frog. The adjuster will still be loose on the frog but it will stay in place and do it’s work a long as the blade is in place. I’m sure some of the more metal work savvy forum users could provide some technical suggestions for permanently affixing the adjuster.

      By the way, in my opinion, unless you really just like going through the metal plane flattening process for fun, with a few exceptions, the current fad of bed flattening should really be reserved for smooth planes, and to a lesser degree, jointer planes and block planes. Chris Schwarz has some video out that can guide you when deciding which planes really need to be super flat and which ones need to be “sorta flat”.

      If you have any ground metal surfaces in your shop such as a jointer bed or a cast iron table saw table you can use them as support surfaces for your glass and as a check for your wooden plane sole flatness. I also have used marble slabs and tile but not before checking them with straight edges. I do my wooden sole work with all of the metal removed. It makes it easier to hold. Some have suggested you need to have the plane all together and under pressure but I haven’t had a problem doing it the way I do it. When flattening  wooden plane soles I use a jointer plane with little or no camber. I check the sole with a good square and straight edge to get a general idea of square-ness to the edges and the mouth opening and the flatness condition. If the sole is fairly close to being in good relationship to those surfaces I then turn my attention to flatness. If the sole is badly out in relationship to the mentioned features the you have to address that along with the flatness, generally square everything up and then concentrate on the flatness of the sole. flattening the sole is the same as with any other piece of lumber (lots of videos online for that), repeatedly checking for flatness and wind. As an extra step, once you feel that you have the surface flat you can take the sole, if the tested, ground surfaces mentioned above, are  available and check to see if there is any rocking. If there is no rocking then the plane is flat enough. If there still is some rocking try and determine if it is front-to-back (convex along length), side-to-side (rounded across the face), or corner-to-corner (wind). Using extremely light cuts you can remove very thin shavings from the high spots until the plane no longer rocks. It is possible to create a concave surface that wouldn’t rock but most people are inclined to plane convex surfaces and those normally show up with the straight edges. I then round the edges slightly if necessary to reduce splitting, splinters, and ease use . Generally I just apply a little BLO, and paste wax before I assemble and adjust the tool. I might have to re-mouth the plane afterword depending on how I am planning to use it but that is another subject.

  • Addedtothecause
    Participant
    Post count: 16

    Thanks!

    That’s great info! And exactly what I was looking for. I will see if I can load some pictures.

    As I said before, I’ve got a Stanley 29, which is 20″ long and has a 2 3/8 blade. Right now I’m still working on the iron, but every thing appears to be in pretty good shape. The bottom needs flattening, but the wood is in good condition. The one big issue that it has is that someone cut the lateral adjuster in half. It looks like they dropped the plane and bent it, and couldn’t get it perfectly straight again, so they just chopped in right between the “T” and the “A” where STANLEY  was stamped into the adjuster.

    The whole reason that I’m trying to transitionals is because I’m sick and tired of trying to flatten the soles on all these metals planes. I can’t afford a premium plane, and I bet I’ve spent a hundred hours lapping the ones I’ve dug up. And now I’ve moved, and I’m having a really hard time finding a flat surface to set my glass on. I made a significant belly on a nice Miller Falls 14 because I didn’t realize that my glass was flexing when I set in on my kitchen counter. So if you’ve got any suggestions on that I would love to hear them!

    Thanks again,

    Scott A.

  • Addedtothecause
    Participant
    Post count: 16

    Thanks, Again!

    More great info! I appreciate that. Your process is generally what I am planning when I get done flattening the back of this blade. When I got it, it was way out of square and about as “unflat” as I’ve seen. I was also going to give my plane a little time to climatatize to my area. It came out of Washington state, spent a week in a Fedex container, and now it’s in West TN with me, so I didn’t know how much it would move.
    As far as the lateral adjuster, I have files the pins on a metal plane or two when runing them up. I just am still pondering the thought of retrofitting another on this transitional. The rote appears closer and taller than the metal counterparts, and I’m not sure its going to fit. What would you do, Mike?
    -Scott

    • Mike in TN
      Participant
      Post count: 264

      Plane

      If the tote is original then it should fit. If it has been replaced it might be the real reason why the lateral adjuster was cut off. You can always use the hammer tap method I mentioned until you make up your mind on the lateral adjustment mechanism. It is also possible that the mechanism was simply bent down toward the tote and can be bent back up away from the tote, but make sure it doesn’t rub the blade heavilly.

      If the tote is just too tall I would try and find or make a replacement. Just cutting a tote off probably would make it uncomfortable to use.

      You mentioned flattening the blade back: if there is pitting at the edge you might consider the “ruler trick” as an alternative.

      If you want to use the plane as a fore plane you can probably leave some pitting since you will be following with other planes anyway and don’t need a pristine edge. Also, if this is to be used as a fore plane, you would want to camber the blade and don’t really need to “super tune” the sole. Just get it “kinda sorta” flat and have at the work. If this is going to work as a short joiner plane then you want to put the extra work into it.

  • Addedtothecause
    Participant
    Post count: 16

    Hey, just wanted to give an update. I flattened the sole, sharpened the iron, and last week I gave this old girl a run. I really enjoyed using the plane. It handled well, worked superbly, and gave me a great afternoon. Cant wait until I have another chance to use it. Thanks for your help.

    • Mike in TN
      Participant
      Post count: 264

      I’m glad to hear that you are having fun with the plane. Transition planes were always a favorite of carpenters, lighter than metal planes so they were easier to transport, and they give a wood-on-wood feel that a lot of people prefer. As I have said before, they offer a real good value for the money they cost (in my area anyway) compared to metal planes. If you are doing finer work and the body has been used to the point that you have a wide mouth on it, you can re-mouth the plane with a inset patch. Many cabinet makers prefer the heavier weight of metal planes but I haven’t found that to be an issue in my work. Wooden planes (and transition planes) did great work for hundreds of years before metal planes came on the scene and I would like to see them get more attention among users.

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