Hand Tools Archive

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Re: Question?
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Steve Voigt
I have convinced myself that positioning of the cap iron is less critical (less fiddly) with a 50 bed angle. Anyone have experience to support, or not, this notion?

That is my experience as well. I have made a bunch of double iron planes at 50° and it is my preferred angle, though I am currently dabbling with, and possibly preferring, 47.5°, which is the angle that the original English double irons were built at (see Seaton book for example).
I like 50° because it's like a nice car with an extra gear. The plane will handle most of the things I plane without about the chipbreaker too much, but when I need it, it's there. Hit a little tear-out, drop into low gear--er, I mean, set the chipbreaker a little closer, problem solved.
Kees has some experimental data on Steve Elliot's site that supports this as well, maybe he'll chime in. The gist, IIRC, was that a 50° plane with the chipbreaker set at 2 mm behaved like a 45° plane with the breaker set a 1 mm. Or something like that. Anyway, my own experience agrees with his conclusions.
I have to push back on David a little; I disagree completely that a 50° is not suitable for heavy work. All of Larry and Don's planes, AFAIK, are either 50° or 55°. Regardless of what you think about single vs. double, I hope you would agree that those guys are designing their planes for heavy work. Given the work they do for Williamsburg, there are probably more people using those planes for heavy work than any other plane maker I can think of.
For myself, I do all my jointing and nearly all my thicknessing by hand, and I use 50° or 47.5° for everything.
Anyway, that's my $.02.

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