Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
I have Never been able to set the cap iron on my Norris A5 as hair-splittingly close as then Kato video would seem to suggest. If I do, other cap iron chokes the mouth of then plane and everything comes to a halt. I set it back about 1/16" to 3/32" from the edge and still get excellent results. My Norris isn my go-to smoother; I get better results from it than I do from by Stanleys with the cap irons set close.
Hank, I wonder what the shape of the leading edge of the cap iron is like - rounded, sharpish? Have you increased its angle?
I was surprised to find that the cap iron worked so well on my Spier since the mouth is quite tight. I suspect that the slightly higher bed (47 1/2 degrees) offers a little leeway, that is, the cap iron does not need to be quite as close as a plane with a common angle (45 degree) bed.
The Veritas Custom #4 has a 40 degree bed, and the leading edge of the cap iron is 50 degrees. I am thinking of increasing this to 55- or 60 degrees as it requires that the distance is a little less than a common angle frog of either a LN #3 or a Stanley #3, both of which have 50 degree leading edges.
I am still surprised when I read of others setting the cap iron about 0.1mm from the edge of a blade. If I did this, all I would experience is a plane struggling to cut and creating very concertina-like shavings. Generally, I find somewhere around 0.3 - 0.4mm works on my smoothers when taking fine shavings. A smidgeon more if using the jointer and taking thicker shavings.
Regards from Perth