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Frustration to the Nth Degree…

May 19, 2013

Flarn Filth Flarn Filth!

Have spent several hours yesterday and today trying to fettle this sod of a plane and if cast iron burned, it would be in my fireplace right now, going up in smoke!

The blade: It seems to sharpen up OK. In fact, I have some nice razor rash free bare spots on my left arm to back this statement up. But after doing some test passes, I’ll examine the edge again and twice now have noted chips in the edge! (Just testing it on a small cutoff of poplar I had laying around, the rest of which never gave me any problems.) It isn’t exactly crumbling, but I don’t think the steel in this blade is good, for some reason.

The plane: It isn’t adjusting properly. The lateral adjuster keeps catching in the slot in the blade, which makes it hard to adjust left or right, and I can’t get it to NOT catch. There is too much slack in the tab in the frog that extends/retracts the blade. Can’t seem to get it reduced in any way and it takes about three or four full revolutions of the adjuster knob to take up the slack when you reverse the direction.

After having spent a few hours trying to figure out how to resolve these issues, I’m starting to think I won’t even bother with it. Happy to offer it up as a parts plane to anyone who wants it, or for anyone who thinks they can fix it. But I’m not going to give such a plane to someone who is new to the craft as their first smoothing plane. That just isn’t right.

So… Tonight I’ll start on Plan B, which is a Stanley #3 (type 13-ish? I’ve not yet properly looked it up, but it is around there; I’ll get the details on it shortly). I’ve had it sitting around for such a project for a while now, as well.

My love affair with Millers Falls is officially exclusive of their hand planes at this point.

First person to ask for the mf’ing MF No. 9 POS can have it, whether it is for parts or torture. For free (well… I won’t pay money to ship it, so you’d have to cover that part or I’d be happy to bring the thing to Handworks next weekend, if you want it and are attending).

Damn… That was a lot of wasted time. BAAAAHHHHH!!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jay permalink
    May 19, 2013 6:41 pm

    Ease off on the frog screw. Only use enough lever cap to just keep the blade down and no more, or else it’ll be hard to use the lateral adjuster. Use a grinder to grind the iron. Sometimes the tippy part on new (or unused) irons is a little hard from the hardening process. A lot of planes have 3-4 turns of backlash in depth adjustment. For a smoothing plane you adjust depth with 3-5 degree turns until it just starts to remove wood, so if you go too far you have a sad.


    • May 19, 2013 7:19 pm

      Thanks for the info, Jay. It is good to note the things one should check for when fettling a plane.

      Alas, I did all of those things already! While I certainly wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means, I’m at least somewhat proficient in using bench planes. I can set up a smoothing plane; I’ve done several in the past year. I set mine up all the time, in fact.

      As I said, the lateral adjuster is physically catching in the slot in the blade, which is the issue, not that it is hard to adjust due to pressure from the lever cap. It looks like there is a slight bend in it, now that I look at it, so… With a cracked tote, a bent lateral adjuster, and some other scuff marks on one side I’d noticed earlier, I’m thinking the plane was dropped onto a hard surface. These are apparently the consequences of that drop.

      And the first time the edge of the blade chipped out, I ground it back a bit and tried again, but it still chipped out. (I use a slow speed grinder with a white Norton stone and quench in water periodically, so I know I’m not frying the blade myself.)



  2. May 24, 2013 7:21 pm

    Oh man, I am sorry to hear that this has caused you so much pain. I am hoping the No 3 goes much more smoothly.

    I know it will be appreciated.



    • May 24, 2013 11:02 pm

      Ah, no worries, Sam. I’ll get it done in time. I’ve already spent a bit of time with the Stanley and it’s cleaning up very nicely.

      It’s always a learning process, right?

      I should have paid better attention to the signs I saw and looked it over more closely before working on it. Live and learn!



  3. D. Dimas permalink
    August 13, 2013 7:05 am

    Sorry that you are having all that trouble. Most of my hand planes are also flea market finds (and some of them were so bad that after I cleaned off the rust I discovered that there was no actual metal…). I tend to restore for work use so I tend not to care as much for the cosmetic portions of a restoration.

    I have a plane (Stanley #3), that had some of the same issues. for the sloppy depth adjuster I got an aftermaket re[lacement knob, the track was a lot tighter (brass wears). I also replaced the blade with a Hock blade, it’s thicker and made of much better steel than the original (it also costs about $40 US). I also typicaly fettle all the moving parts checking for burrs and such. I also occasionally have to file some things to make everything works smoothly.

    I have since been able to use it for all of my projects requiring that size handplane.


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