Hand Tools Archive

Some have other needs and other settings

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
I keep a Stanley plane up with the cap iron as close to the straight edge as I can see. At this setting it doesn't cause tear-out under almost any condition I ever used it and that is the primary capability I am looking for. A minute of planing would be a long time for me so pushing resistance is irrelevant, though I don't notice any difference.

I have a large industrial planer and jointer and I used them in any situation I can. I hand plane when I need to accurately remove a shaving of wood here and there in the course of fitting furniture parts together and rarely for edge or face smoothing. Picking the plane up and removing some shavings reliably now and then is all I demand of a plane. Close cap iron equals reliable. For my needs setting it is easy and I have no need to vary the setting. I suspect for many needs setting does not have to be complicated nor require much experience. I certainly have little experience and it works for my needs building stuff.

That said Kato and Kawai wrote a tutorial on setting the cap iron. They advocated to set it closer until the shaving length compressed. When the shaving compressed it was too close. Back off a bit.

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