Hand Tools

Subject:
Crude cap irons
Response To:
Re: I should add.. ()

Patrick Chase
There is such a thing as a cap iron that's so crude that it acts as a shaving trap.

Exhibit A in that regard is WoodRiver/Quangsheng. The milled LN-style caps on their planes have a very rough finish on the face with deep vertical (from tip->top) striations. The first time I encountered one I trued and cleaned the edge, honed a polished 50 deg "breaking face" at the base and tried to put it to work as I was trying to help a friend with his plane and in a hurry. It promptly started trapping every thin shaving I tried to take.

You would think that vertically oriented striations wouldn't be as much of a problem, but these were so deep that they acted as "shaving velcro".

Going back to the question of "how much tuning is enough" from Derek's post, my own experience is the following ordered list of priorities:

1. Flatten, undercut, and clean the leading edge of the cap iron. It doesn't have to be super sharp (see previous posts on that topic) but it needs to register well and not have any nicks/burrs/etc that might act to "hook" the shaving.

2. Create (if necessary) and polish the 45-50 deg "breaking face" immediately adjacent to the edge. This needs to be (very conservatively) ~0.5 mm high, as the shaving generally hits it within the first couple tenths of an mm. There is an interesting experiment you can do - paint the breaking face with something that rubs off easily like dry-erase marker, set the cap iron close, and go plane a bunch of wood. It's surprising to see where the shaving actually contacts it.

3. Polish the rest of the cap iron face above the breaking face.

4. Reshape the primary bevel to eliminate hard corners.

Warren has strongly advocated doing all 4. My experience is that the 80/20 rule kicks in at step 2 - once you get that far it will work for most practical purposes. The WoodRiver is the only cap iron I've used that actually needed to go to step (3) to work *at all*.

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LV replacement cap irons......
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Re: I should add..
Crude cap irons
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Re: Stamping..
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Re: It's worth a chuckle
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Re: Heavier Stanley cap-iron
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