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Re: Cap iron setback and shaving thickness

david weaver
Here's what makes it easy not to screw up with the cap iron set. It's exceedingly rare that a set that I have would vary more than a thousandth, but I still have good eyes. age may take that away (and I have rounded the initial part of my caps, which makes it easy to see the contrast - if it's not, I gun blue the cap iron so that it can contrast well against the iron).

If you have camber on an iron, the issue is very simple - your cap is either going to be somewhere just set off of the edges. If the camber is some number of thousandths, then maybe at the edge, it's only about 2 or so at the edges, maybe.

Perhaps in your example, the center would project 5 thou, the edges 2. The 2 is very easy to see. In a more heavily cambered iron, you can pretty much set the sides of the cap even with plane iron unless you've really gotten out of shape sharpening the iron - that's something to correct with each sharpening.

I never have a cap overlapping edges, except perhaps once in a great while on a jack plane.

The subtlety in this case, then is maybe more in the sharpening than the setting. the squareness of the edge has to be in line with the profile of the cap iron and the iron. if they get too far off, the cap sits askew. On a stanley, maybe that's just an annoyance. On a wooden plane with not too much lateral space, you either correct the cap iron or the iron. But there is a benefit to this that is not often described, either. A quick look at the iron and cap together along with the edge will tell you if you need to bias a little in honing to get things back in line. You never need to check squareness on the iron because a proper fit with the cap ensures it - or ensures that the version of squareness that you need with your plane is there.

This is maybe another reason that the washita is so nice to use - point and shoot. If the washita isn't quite enough, a once or twice over with a trans ark or black arkansas on the same profile can remove the work of the washita, and there is no multiple bevel arrangement to work through - but the washita itself maintains the correct profile.

This is long winded in text but extremely simple in practice. If things don't look right, you correct them so that they do. If my plane is a stanley 4, and I notice things get out of whack just a little, I don't try to correct them all in one shot (after all, the plane was working fine), I correct them a little with subsequent honing. The only time there is a large correction is with a new wooden iron and cap iron set (and that happens some, but I don't make many wooden planes these days because I have no outlet for them. When I make one for someone like brian, I correct all of that before the plane goes out. Brian is a better woodworker and planer than me, so I don't have to think too much about whether or not my setup will be maintained).

Anyway, if you're concerned about the evenness of the set, focus on the edges.

We can speculate on what Nicholson knew or didn't given the brevity of the section on caps, but without reasoning, we don't really know what the issue could be. As I'm prone to hyperfocus, even though I don't agree with it, I'm still going through iterations about what the reason could be. So far, I think these things (because tearout reduction is not an improvement that will happen with his setup vs. mine):
* visual cue to honing the iron and setting it (even though I don't think that's necessary if you can just make the edges even)
* perhaps with a coarser plane, there is a lowering of the effort needed for a close set if the edges are relieved (and by that, I mean in a constant radius and not just the corners - i never liked "clipping" the corners as Chris Schwarz describes - you can still see tracks.
* relieving the sides laterally may make for better feeding with planes that aren't quite done right or set up right. I am sure that there were planes that were delivered in a state such that they weren't feeding well. In the event that some work is done to relieve the sides of a plane, a wedge may end up with fingers that aren't sprung against the sides, etc.

It really could be any of these things, but I'd like to know. I have gone way deep into this cap iron stuff, and every time I think I'm set, I run into a wooden plane that I've made where there is something like a butcher cap that has a fat rounded front profile and requires me to do a bunch of fitting. I *think* I've gotten the making and feeding down now, and most of what Larry has said, I've dismissed.

Steve is at an advantage compared to me with this stuff because his materials are more uniform, plus he's probably made 10x as many planes and probably really has the system down. I'm still banging them out pretty freehand and none really matches the next (it pleases me to do them that way - feels good). But we've had discussions about the wear, and I'm sure Steve has banged around in his head what's necessary to make sure that a plane that he puts in someones hand will feed well even with a little user error.

I haven't made one in a while. All of this discussion caused me to clear off my bench last night. It's time to make a couple. You have one?

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Cap iron setback and shaving thickness
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Redoing the test
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If you're a beginner...
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Re: And a quote....
Re: Radius of cambered blade - some #'s *LINK*
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Contrariness
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Kato and Kawai
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Remarkable restraint
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Not really lighting it up
Correction
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This seems pointless
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Maguire
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The Virtue
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"Planecraft"
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My apologies
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The big difference
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Jupiter Cakes
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No tear stained defense needed..
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Set-back distance and measurebation
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swingley thread
Blackburn
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Andrew Hunter
Japanese planes
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Cap iron sharpening
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Re:cap iron sharpness and maintenance
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Pictures *PIC*
Cap iron sharpness
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Cut depth, species, and wear
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Simple concept, easy 'splanation
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Tried this again today
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Double Iron vs. Thick Iron
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Double Iron vs. Thick Iron
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Re: Cap iron setback and shaving thickness
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planing
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Consumables vs skilled labor
Actually, you've fed right into..
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Re: Cap iron setback and shaving thickness
I knew *PIC*
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By the way, Mark..
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