Hand Tools Archive

Re: Birthday gift to myself

Wiley Horne
Hi Chuck,

Congratulations! Beautiful plane! Here’s my anecdotal experience on tight mouths, with and without chipbreaker....

Anything that bends the shaving (compared to open mouth) is doing work—in the physics sense—on the shaving. This work has to be paid for, and it is paid by your pushing more, compared to wide open mouth. “More’ can be anywhere from barely noticeable to PITA more.

What I find bears out your intuition: if you add tight chipbreaker to tight mouth, it is compounding the bending and hence the work.

So you’re looking for the sweet spot on your plane—the minimum bending that gets the job done. My only infill experience is with Konrad Sauer’s infills. I hope Steve Elliott weighs in, as he is highly experienced in tuning infills. Anyway, Konrad’s planes, bedded at 47.5 or higher, with the chipbreaker retracted, will plane with or against the grain, without tearout, on most temperate zone hardwood. Bear in mind, the tight mouth just by itself is forcing the shaving through a tighter curve. If the chipbreaker is lowered, this increases the bending and the work without significantly increasing the performance. Also, I notice the plane will go with or against the grain, but against the grain is more work. It’s like uphill vs. downhill. I recall the same thing showing up in Prof. Kato’s work.

With steel-soled planes (as opposed to wood or iron), I use wax on the sole when I think of it. The steel is more friction for some reason. Some fine sandpaper on a surface plate is a diagnostic as to whether the front of the mouth is sitting down hard on the work. (I know you are very experienced—I’m just throwing this stuff in to pontificate.)

Bottom line: suggest raise chipbreaker, wax sole, and make sure front of mouth is on the work. Beautiful plane, thanks for showing.


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