01 April 2010

The ultimate smoothing plane

Setting my recently acquired Stanley 13-050 combination plane to its first tests I discovered a few wood marring problems with the plane on soft woods.
  1. The two skates will leave a track in the botton of the groove on the wood.  This is of no great importance as the bottom of the groove is seldom visible.  But this can be a problem for decorative cuttings.
  2. The depth gauge has sharp edges,  and this will show on the visible surface.  To avoid this I can file the edges,  but this will damage the surface treatment of the gauge.  An alternative is to glue a thin wooden or plastic slider on top of the gauge.
  3. Waxing the surface of the wooden fence greatly reduces friction,  but it leaves a waxed surface on the work piece. 
 That's the 13-050 part of the post.  One more thing, as I did not find a way to host a pdf of the manual through Blogger, a copy of the Stanley 13-050 manual is gracefully hosted by the Cornish Workshop in its combination planes section.

The ultimate smoothing plane
Writing this section I thought it was more appropriate to pre-date this post to the first day of this month.:-)

The wax transfer problem with the 13-050 gave me the idea for an improved smoothing plane.  I my workshop there is an old clothes iron (marked with a number 4). I used it once or twice to glue edge banding. And for the rest is there because it is a pity to throw it away and after 60 and more years of inactivity it can maybe claim to be antique.
But I can give it a new usage,  if I generously wax the sole of my iron I can then probably smooth the surface of freshly planed piece of wood without even the need of a sharp blade. To test the effectiveness of this ultimate smoothing plane I can compare the friction an a smoothed and un-smoothed surface of planed wood.  To measure this friction difference, I set an object on top of the surface and look under which angle the object starts to slide.

 Friction test with un-smoothed surface

Waxing the 'plane'

Friction test after the surface has been smoothed with a waxed 'plane'