Hand Tools Archive

Re: Cap iron question-need data

david weaver
On finish cuts, after seeing those study pictures in the leonard lee book, I set the chipbreaker as tightly as I can and just push the plane through the moderately higher resistance if the wood is bad. I would guess that the chipbreaker on a finish cut like that is no further away than 4 thousandths of an inch, I can barely see the edge reflecting light.

I have not been able to generate tearout on anything yet (regardless of the planing direction or iron sharpness) with the iron set like that, and until a month or two ago always figured it was too much trouble to set it like that. Repetition has made setting the iron like that a lot easier and faster.

If the wood isn't bad, then I back it off some multiple of that if I expect it to actually break chips, maybe a hundredth on a light cut.

I generally haven't used a double iron to break chips in a heavier cut, instead opting for a plane with the mouth sized to the work. Same thing sometimes with a smoother. My jack plane probably has a mouth set somewhere around 1/16th or a little over, and my infill plane (which I usually use to level a board) is set around .009" (which coincidentally after not filing enough forward relief when I put it together keeps me from using the second iron with good effect - it's not necessary, though, fortunately).

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