Hand Tools Archive

Easy method I use

Wiley Horne
Hi all,

I was an early skeptic. And a late adopter. It seemed like a lot of hassle. So I offer this simplified method, as a starting point for others who may think double-iron is just too much bother. I am not preaching atcha—I still use and enjoy single iron planes. But I do keep an LN5-1/2, LN4, and Bedrock 605 set-up with double irons.

Anyway. Here is my easy start up method in 4 photos:


Photo 1. First, get a board with reversing grain. The photo shows a stick of soft maple from the Borg, which had reversing grain down the whole length. I ran a plane over it and got a bunch of tearout. The photo shows the worst place.


Photo 2. This is a quick set-up. Like David, I assume your plane will already take a good shaving. I use a rounded 60-degree bevel on the cap-iron. I wanted about an 8-thou setback on the iron, as a starting point. I took two Post-It notes, each 3-1/2 thou. You don’t have to mic the Post-it—they’re all 3.5-4 thou thick. Anyway, my two Post-its are 7 thou thick. That’s good enough to get started. Stand the blade/capiron pair straight-up on the Post-its, with the screw loosened. Then tap the blade, so it goes thru the post-its, and bottoms out on the benchtop. Then tighten the screw—that’s it.


Photo 3. This is what 7-thou looks like.


Photo 4. I then planed the tear-out shown in Photo 1. Took 6 or 7 passes to clear the tear-out. The shavings, like the one shown in the plane, were 3.5 thou. But you don’t need to mic shavings—you only want to know if your initial setting is about right. Turns out mine was. So I’m done for now, and will make adjustments like David describes, if trouble crops up on another board.


You also don’t need any particular numerical setback—I use two post-its because that’s the right ballpark for what I do. i just like numbers too, but you don’t need numbers. You just need to start somewhere—this is merely one way to get started.



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