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 Post subject: New small Chinese plane
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2024 11:49 am 
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Koa
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I just bought a small Chinese block plane (1 1/4" x 3 3/4" base dimensions) with a thick blade and a cast body, quite substantially built, but the sole is as-cast, no leveling or polishing. Any thoughts as to whether I'm wasting my time by taking the body to my surface plate and sanding the bottom smooth and shiny?

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2024 12:16 pm 
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such an odd query, and I admit to being about to be a tad "rough"

the answer is highly subjective, and in economic terms is defined as a math equation based upon how much you view your time as being worth...e.g. takes you 3 hrs to make it perfect and that results in an answer in whatever monetary system you choose to use...then compare this with the cost of buying something already "perfect" with a similar blade quality and your real answer is which is less...but that's economics at a scholastic level...

if short if it's worth your time to try and make it better, then you have your answer already...

it's already in your hands and if you have nothing better to do and want a work out then go for it

if it's a POC made in china rip off then calmly circular file it as opposed to throwing it across the room and damaging something else

:twisted:



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2024 1:17 pm 
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I find Chinese stuff to be hit and miss. Sometimes the quality is very good. Some Chinese companies are subsidized by their gov't and can actually sell some things at cost. What they really want is foreign currency. I'd certainly give it a try.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2024 1:58 pm 
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Up to you. Nothing wrong with using your time that way although the plane may or may not be worth the effort involved. I have reworked many tools over the years but have reached the point where my time is too valuable to use trying to make cheap tools usable. Quite often even after you put in the effort the tool just won't be that good. Now I just spend the money on a quality tool, especially something like a block plane that I use a lot.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2024 2:19 pm 
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Depends on how coarse your sandpaper is :) Once it's flat, the finer grits go fast.
I'd recommend a 60 grit sanding belt, and a vacuum to clear the dust frequently.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2024 4:23 pm 
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I did a whole set of Chinese fingerplanes. I did it all with files. They cut brass fine. I reworked all the sole profiles, added chip clearance, lowered the blade angle. I even bought new thick blades of laminated Japanese steel. For the less than $100 I put into, well maybe $70 more at the time for the little blades; it was well worth the hours of time.

I have them set up now so I can use them as is for roughing, and with shims under them for finish work.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2024 5:40 pm 
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Thanks, folks.

I should have also asked: What merit is there in a trued-flat and polished sole on a plane that started out with a sandblasted cast surface on the sole?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2024 8:40 pm 
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It doesn't need to be polished as much as it needs to be flat if you want it to work.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2024 9:24 am 
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phavriluk wrote:
I just bought a small Chinese block plane (1 1/4" x 3 3/4" base dimensions) with a thick blade and a cast body, quite substantially built, but the sole is as-cast, no leveling or polishing. Any thoughts as to whether I'm wasting my time by taking the body to my surface plate and sanding the bottom smooth and shiny?

Thanks!

My experience with budget cast body planes is that the bed (the entire area that supports the blade) is much more difficult to get flat and get proper geometry. The smaller thumb planes have an opening that is too small for a proper material removing file, at least from my stable of files. I have small files that will fit the small space to flatten the bed, but they remove so little material, I have never stuck to the hour upon hour it would require to flatten/ straighten the bed. That may not be your case, but I suspect that if the sole is rough, the bed will be worse. I’ve sworn off budget wood planes after spending countless hours of relentless filing and not getting the blade supporting geometry correct. Kudos to Ken on his successes!! Checking the relationship of the bed to the flat of the blade (marking fluid or carbon paper) would be the first assessment I would make.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2024 8:17 am 
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phavriluk wrote:
Thanks, folks.

I should have also asked: What merit is there in a trued-flat and polished sole on a plane that started out with a sandblasted cast surface on the sole?


No plane needs a polished sole. They just need to be flat, or have a fair curve. Even flat doesn't need to be +/- .001" It just doesn't need it. Long planes need to be flat from end to end, and not twisted; but I don't know about +/- .001". I have seen people who use blue dye and scrapers to tout up planes.

I just don't get it.

Pits of the casting are not a problem at all. In fact, they will make the plane slide with less friction.

A small plane is good enough by putting highlight, or black marker on the bottom, and using a flat file on it. If you want, you can then smooth it with sandpaper on a glass surface. A file will get it pretty smooth.

The bigger problem is the throat is usually too big; rarely too small.

The easiest way to fix that is shims under the blade, but sometimes the clamp won't fit under the pin then. So you just file down the back of the seat until it fits.

Another problem that MOST planes have is chips getting stuck. I like to clear almost everything away. Then the chips will pile up under my hand, and I can take my hand over the chip bucket, and dump them all out.

This Lie Nielsen plane is very nice, but it had too large a throat. Chips got stuck. It is set up for roughing now. Only .012" cuts and only cutting in the middle 1/2". I'm carving Birdseye, and this plane just slices easily set up like this. If it was set deeper, it could really hog spruce, but would not be pleasant in the Birdseye. I did have to grind away a lot of chip clearance with a Dremel. I can put a thick shim in, and it takes really small cuts for finishing. I can take some of the curve out of the middle of the blade, to get a wider cut.

So even a well made plane needed a LOT of work to get it to work well. Maybe I'm just picky?

Attachment:
IMG_1794.jpg


Attachment:
IMG_1795.jpg


This little flat plane has a HUGE throat. I can't really get away from it. This is set with a really deep cut. I just use it like this on roughing, MAINLY using the plane to hold it like a scraper. I don't push down. When I add more shims for finishing, I can push down on it, and get really fine shavings. But it needed the seat lowered a lot, the angle changed, and shims under the blade. The little finger planes are completely open in the middle. The seat is only at the base, and at the back of the plane. This may seem like a problem, but it really isn't. The tightening screw is near the back of the plane, and the wedge presses the blade near the base of the plane. I don't think that you're going to bend the blade.

It makes it easier to file down the seat too.

Attachment:
IMG_1796.jpg


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2024 11:17 am 
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IMHO, it is a waste of time on a plane that small. Even if perfect, it won't true up a very large surface.
It seems to be about the same size as a Stanley #101. I prefer the vintage cast iron versions of those. The nicer (older) castings tend to be a bit more delicate, with a smaller throat.
Whenever the subject of flat-soled hand planes comes up, I simply point out that the cutting geometry is wrong, and tends to create surfaces that are not flat along the planing direction. The flat sole with a protruding blade is the reason. Correct geometry mimics a jointer, where the blade is flush with the outfeed section of the sole, and the cutting depth is controlled by adjusting the infeed section. Both sections of the sole should remain parallel throughout the adjustment range.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2024 4:14 pm 
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If I'm not mistaken Ken is a retired Tool and Die guy, so am I. this stuff just come naturally to us.
When I resurfaced a plane awhile back I left the blade in but pulled it back figuring the clamping pressure would distort the body of the plane. probably didn't make a bit of difference but I felt a lot better about it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2024 5:07 pm 
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John Arnold wrote:
Whenever the subject of flat-soled hand planes comes up, I simply point out that the cutting geometry is wrong, and tends to create surfaces that are not flat along the planing direction. The flat sole with a protruding blade is the reason. Correct geometry mimics a jointer, where the blade is flush with the outfeed section of the sole, and the cutting depth is controlled by adjusting the infeed section. Both sections of the sole should remain parallel throughout the adjustment range.

I have thought about that before. Have you ever seen a hand plane with such an adjustment mechanism? A flat sole is close enough when taking fluffy thin shavings, but it would be nice to have a roughing plane that does a better job of flattening. I don't think it would be terribly difficult to build one. Basically like a regular wooden hand plane, except the cheeks would be stepped in front of the blade so they never touch the workpiece, and the front body section glued between them would be about half the usual thickness so the other half can be the movable piece. Have a spring pull the movable piece up, and four screws push down at its corners so you can adjust them individually to get it level. Then put marks on the screws so you can keep them synchronized whenever you adjust the cutting depth.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2024 6:35 am 
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The Craftsman corrogated bottom plane that I use for for joining, is 18" long. Yes, when I got it, I had the guy working in the grinding department plane the bottom flat, and square with the sides with the blade in. I was going to do it, but he said that he'd be faster.

You can get a board, or the whole face of a guitar flat with it. How flat? I would say flat enough. How flat does it need to be? Probably not as flat as you might think.

It isn't made for roughing, The very thick blade I have in it, and the huge chipbreaker means that the adjuster doesn't work, so I just leave it alone.

A little palm plane is just for little parts. I use mine for smoothing the outside curves of violins and archtops. I use curved bottom planes, or chisels for trimming braces.

I don't have any middle sized planes so I make do with a wooden plane with a toothed blade as my rougher.

A plane is a tool. To use one is an art. It takes feel. I don't think trying to redesign it will help any. A smaller plane gets you close, and a long plane finishes it. Curves are a whole different thing.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2024 6:23 am 
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Hi Peter,
Before taking it to the surface plate I would take it to the belt sander and knock off the rough stuff. That might be all you need, but the surface plate might give you a nice polished surface. Our tools are something that stays with us, unlike many of the other things we make, so I don't mind messing around with them. I'm not in the "business" to make money, buy rather for the "enjoyment", so I can waste my time as I choose.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2024 4:49 pm 
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Yeah, I know it has a motor and it sure isn't a small Chinese plane, but still worth a look while on the subject of plane design.

Here's one to think about. A hand power plane I first used 50 yrs ago. IMO it is still the head of the pack in planer design but not made anymore. I used on the job for a day and went right home and ordered one. Way ahead of it's time and still a killer tool. Plane sole ahead of the blade goes up and down via a cam to set depth of cut while held tight to the body, and there is still no play 50 yrs later. The cutter is always in alignment with the rear of the sole. The cutterhead is machine cut (one piece) to accept a solid carbide "blade" brazed to the head. The cutter is spiral so cuts effortlessly and smoothly in the toughest woods.

Attachment:
DSCN4901S.jpg


Attachment:
DSCN4902S.jpg


Maybe someday I'll make one w/o the motor!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2024 4:55 pm 
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Clay S. wrote:
Hi Peter,
Before taking it to the surface plate I would take it to the belt sander and knock off the rough stuff. That might be all you need, but the surface plate might give you a nice polished surface. Our tools are something that stays with us, unlike many of the other things we make, so I don't mind messing around with them. I'm not in the "business" to make money, buy rather for the "enjoyment", so I can waste my time as I choose.


If I had a belt sander I'd try that. Thanks. When I can make the time, I''ll put the surface plate to work (I'm in mid-project carving a neck). I''ll be pleased to see what I can get done in an hour.

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