Hand Tools Archive

Re: How much force is exerted to cut?

Bruce McCrory
Since no one will commit to how little the set gap is I will throw out the answer:

I posted once that .020" (less than 1/32") was the thinnest set I wanted to use. I determined that based on blade crown, finished surface, and ease of force used to cut somewhat-soft figured Big-leaf Maple. A mob of crows (fellow hackers) attacked me immediately.

I was dead wrong! The set had to be blah, blah. I think .005", roughly a sheet of copy paper, was thrown at me.

No, I made very clean, easily cut shavings of about .002" and slightly thicker. Keep in mind my blades are crowned, always, so a shaving thickness varies. Smoothing is whatever is needed, whether 1/32" or 1/64". Starting points. Any finer is tempting problems; but go for it anyway. Orthopedic surgeons need patients who insist on plowing wood with back irons.

The gap setting varies based on ease of cutting and efficiency of material removal without tearout. That's all there is to it.

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