Hand Tools

Re: Followup Question from PPA

Sgian Dubh
Like you Bill, I've taken one of my planes, a Record no 7, to an engineer for sole flattening, and he used a similar set up to the one you describe, including leaving the iron in place but withdrawn sufficiently prior to skimming flat with a surface grinder. That was close to forty years ago and I'm still using that no 7 - I tend to be loyal to my planes, most of which I've owned and used for anywhere between about eighteen years, and all the way back to my first planes purchased maybe fifty years ago. I find it interesting that David seems to go through so many planes, but I realise that's just his thing, and he describes here similarly interesting information about his experiments.

I use that no 7 of mine to prepare edges for panel glue-ups, both short ones and longer ones up to and over 2.5 m (~8+'), either to refine an edge after machine planing, or after rip sawing an edge, and from time to time (rarely in truth) even preparing an edge that's been neither sawn in the workshop, nor machine planed, i.e., still rough sawn at the mill prior to drying the board. I do find it interesting that you seem to be tolerant of prepared edges that even allow a slight gap at the ends prior to gluing up boards to make a panel. I've always been a proponent of the sprung joint for panel glue ups, having been taught that methodology when I trained, i.e., tight at either end and a tiny gap at the centre that a centrally placed single clamp with very light pressure applied will close completely, not that I use a single clamp to assemble panel glue ups.

Still, all this discussion of plane sole flatness, or lack of it and how to fix problems, such as convexity, concavity, twist and so on is useful, but I just want to raise an additional issue which has been mentioned in passing here, and that is the flexibility of a plane sole in use, especially longer planes, e.g., a no 7 or 8. I reckon that I can bend the sole of my no 7 in use by the simple expedient of twisting my hands towards each other in line with the planing direction, i.e., I can induce some convexity or concavity in the plane's sole, something I like to believe I have used occasionally to help straighten an edge.

I really don't have empirical proof of my ability to flex the plane's sole as I described. All I know is that it seems to work, and that I also seem to be able to occasionally use this perceived ability to my advantage.

I just thought I'd throw that technical wrinkle into the mix just to see if it muddies the water a bit. Slainte.

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