Hand Tools Archive

Re: Cap iron question-need data

As mentioned recently I set it till it shoots the shaving vertical. This is a dramatic change in shaving performance, but whether it makes for a better result is a little difficult to say. It is obviously difficult to know since one can't run the exact test over and over. It is difficult to measure the setting since it is arrived at in place, and the place is hard to access. Also the question of how far back to set it is not really relevant since it is not repeatable, but is settable to a performance level, in place.

On western planes I normally set it around 1/32". I think there are two or three different setting for western planes:

1) There is the idea that one can use it solely to stiffen the blade. Most of my blades are really thick to start with or use one of the better retention mechanisms that well supports them.

2) Then there is the chip breaking set. The idea there is that the shaving is breaking after the point of cut, but that this reduces the leverage at the point of cut. I don't so much endorce this approach, but I think my setting is in that range. This setting is reminiscent of some machine tools that use a cutting edge profile to fragment the chip as it comes free. This has a number of effects, one of which is kinda interesting in that it limits heat transfer.

3) The third approach is essentially a setting so close that it converts the plane to the simulation of a higher pitch. Since I have a lot of planes, and can make any I don't have, I am not concerned with converting pitches through the use of chipbreakers.

It will be interesting to see where you come out!

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