High angle block plane - angle? width?

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Doug Shaker
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High angle block plane - angle? width?

Post by Doug Shaker »

I recently planed a curly black walnut fretboard and though I was using a well-tuned wooden block plane with a scary-sharp blade and a fine throat, I still got some tear-out. While I was sanding out the imperfections, I thought - you know, it really is time to make a high-angle block plane so that you don't have to do this again. So I figure I will get a nice bevel-down blade set from Hock Blades and make another wooden plane.

So, does anyone have any (possibly) well-founded prejudices regarding blade width or blade angle? Advice appreciated.
-Doug Shaker

Steve Senseney
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Re: High angle block plane - angle? width?

Post by Steve Senseney »

One method for doing really fine work on a board with difficult grain is to use a toothed blade.

The higher the angle, the more it is a scraper.

You can take a standard type of blade and use your file to make the teeth.

You can take a blade and tap it onto a coarse file, and it will create a pattern for you to use a fine file to make your notches, or use the notches as they are.

I always sand my fingerboards rather than try to plane them, as I don't like to deal with the tear out.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: High angle block plane - angle? width?

Post by Bob Gramann »

I honed a small back bevel on a regular #4 plane to joint really hard wood. I put the normal 25 degree bevel on the down side of the cutter, then honed a 30 degree back micro bevel on the top side. The plane itself was very well tuned. I was able to get wispy thin shavings with no tear out on Osage Orange.

Doug Shaker
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Re: High angle block plane - angle? width?

Post by Doug Shaker »

So if your bed is at 45 degrees, with the back bevel, you have a 75 degree (45+30) effective angle of attack. Is that correct?
-Doug Shaker

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Bob Gramann
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Re: High angle block plane - angle? width?

Post by Bob Gramann »

Right.

Brad Heinzen
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Re: High angle block plane - angle? width?

Post by Brad Heinzen »

Yep. You can grind a back bevel to increase the attack angle. The only thing you might find is that this also tends to increase the size of the throat opening a bit. Nothing beats a purpose-built smoother, but a thick blade with a back bevel can work pretty well in a standard angle block plane. With a modern cast iron bench plane, you can slide the frog forward to close up the throat. I think I've got my planes for tough stuff set up for about 55 degrees or so - 45 degree bed angle, and 10 degrees on the back bevel, more or less.

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