I have a Record 76 rabbet plane.

The plane is bevel side up, and the primary bevels as ground by the manufacturer appear to be 45° or close to it. (If I apply pressure to the bevel whilst bevel side down on a flat surface, the blade seems to "stand" at an angle half way between the surface and the vertical.

Rightly or wrongly, the blade has a secondary bevel ground onto to it. I am not sure of it's angle, but clearly it must be steeper than 45°.

The plane iron is sharp but when assembled it cuts rather terribly no matter how I adjust it. The blade doesn't want to "plane" but rather dig in and stall.

So what should I do? My gut says I should grind away at the primary bevel so that it becomes a single beveled iron cutting at 45°.

  • That secondary should go, regardless of what angle it is. While it might be deliberate (rather than an artefact of careless honing by the previous owner) it'll just make the tool harder to use in most instances, and possibly almost impossible to advance in a particularly tough wood, or through knots. – Graphus Dec 14 '20 at 21:37
  • I just realised which plane a 76 is. Uh, I regret to inform you that this tendency to dig in and stall is the stock in trade of bullnose planes! Bullnoses are not general-purpose rebate planes; there's a reason for the longer nose on all proper rebate planes and it's to counteract the diving tendency. – Graphus Dec 14 '20 at 21:38
  • @Graphus ok so I've ground the iron so there is a single primary bevel which I guess is just a bit less than 45 degrees. It's still not cutting great, I've watched a view videos online re. bullnose planes and even with the short nose they seems to be cutting better than mine. I think having the single large primary bevel is presenting a new problem which is that it's very difficult for me to hand grind that perfectly flat. Instead it's ever so slightly convex.... – 111111 Dec 15 '20 at 19:03
  • ... I am now wondering if it now makes sense to cut a secondary bevel into it at a steeper angle still. Thus reducing the the side of the cutting bevel and minimising the issues with the slight convexing. – 111111 Dec 15 '20 at 19:04
  • "it's very difficult for me to hand grind that perfectly flat. Instead it's ever so slightly convex" Which way? Bevel shape or edge shape? If it's the edge I feel your pain! It can be v. difficult to get narrower irons and chisels dead straight. Sometimes you just have to live with some slight curvature, or you resort to a honing jig. If it's the bevel on the other hand then don't give it another thought, a convex bevel is zero problem in a plane or chisel as long as the edge itself is formed properly — no radius there, so properly sharp, and not steeper than is ideal for the specific tool. – Graphus Dec 15 '20 at 20:54

While a 45 degree angle is quite high, this should work. It is common to use higher angles in bevel-up planes to prevent tear-out in more difficult woods (i.e. figured, reversing grain, or difficult species). The higher angle will cause the plane to be more difficult to push, but in a narrow plane like this that shouldn't matter.

There's not really a whole lot that can go wrong in bevel-up planes, but I would check to make sure that the sole is flat, and in particular that it isn't hollow in front of the blade. This will prevent the fibers from being supported before the cut and lead to the wood splitting out before the blade cuts them. This is more of a concern here due to how little support there is for the nose of this plane. (I've previously had a Stanley 78 with this exact problem. It was basically a total loss.)

  • Thanks, I'l have a go and grinding to 45 so it'll be single bevelled. I ams starting to think that the pervious owner might have inadvertently steepened this angle over the years as the "side bevels" appear to be more like 30degree or even a bit less. – 111111 Dec 14 '20 at 17:23
  • --I'll also check the sole, but I am pretty sure this has worked in the past. – 111111 Dec 14 '20 at 17:23
  • If you're grinding it I'd take it back to 30-35 degrees. For the inside of a rabbet there isn't really a great reason to have a higher angle since it's probably going to be covered by joinery and some tearout won't really matter. – SaSSafraS1232 Dec 14 '20 at 17:26

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