Hand Tools Archive

Re: Going from 55 to 45
Response To:
Going from 55 to 45 ()

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
I have a bronze #4 plane with a 55 degree frog. I am considering going from 55 to 45, I find that the plane adjusts depth very coarsely and a heavy cut is very difficult to push.

I can't help but think that moving to a 45 degree frog will alleviate these issues. Is the case?

Hi Brian

Lowering the frog angle will reduce the centre of gravity and will also reduce the resistance of the blade through the wood (moving from more of a scraping to a slicing cut).

I suspect that the lower frog will require that the blade be extended further to cut. In other words, the lower frog offers a less hit-and-miss adjustments.

In my recent review/discussion of the custom Veritas planes, where it was possible to swap around frog angles, it was pretty obvious that the lower angle frog-plus-chipbreaker smoothed as well as a higher angle frog-minus chipbreaker, and that it produced a finer surface on bare wood. This difference disappears once a finish is applied.

I have a LN # 4 1/2, the Anniversary model, which came with a 50 degree frog. A few years ago - before I began utilising the chipbreaker to control tearout - I added a 55 degree frog (keeping in mind that I plane highly interlocked wood). The combination of a wide blade (2 3/8") and a high cutting angle was very unpleasant, even with a waxed sole, and the plane began to sit on the shelf. This has recently been returned to the 50 degree frog which, with chipbreaker, has become a user once again.

I also have a LN #3, which I purchased with a 55 degree frog. That works better since the blade is narrow ( 1 3/4") - one reason I have the #3 over the #4 (2" wide blade). The high frog enabled me to swap out the smaller handle for the one from a #4. Recently, I wanted a lower frog. I am restricted to a 50 degree if I keep the handle. Fortunately, there is not a lot of difference in using a 45- or 50 degree frog (the difference comes when you drop to about 40-42 degrees, as with the Veritas Custom).

Regards from Perth


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