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I bought a handplane from an antique store about two years ago and have struggled, off and on, to get it to work. I have flattened the sole, sharpened the blade (enough to pass the "shave the arm" test), derusted things, and filed the edges/corners off. The thing looks like a real beauty, but it just won't make a cut without gouging the wood. I start planing and it doesn't cut, so I make a tiny adjustment. Still no cut, so I bring the blade forward just a hair. Still not cut....

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This process continues until I make a miniscule cut, then KAZAMO! The thing slams right into the wood and stops the hand plane in its tracks.

Has anybody had this experience? Any ideas how to fix it?

The only thing I can think of is that there's something wrong with the frog. I did notice that, without the lever cap, the iron rocks forward and back (forward = toward the sole, back = toward the handle). But once I cinch the lever cap, the wobble's gone.

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So what's the deal?

Edit It was at this point in my post, I decided to try something and that fixed the problem. I thought about leaving my solution to myself, but figured someone else might have the same issue. See below.

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As I mentioned in my question, I found the solution just as I was about to post the answer. I first read @Graphus's answer to someone's question:

hand plane controls (bevel down)

I had always tried to have a tiny mouth opening to reduce tear out, but then I read in Graphus's post that if the chip breaker is close to the plane iron, you don't have to worry about tear out. Then Graphus said, "You can set the frog back so that it lines up with the mouth, giving full support for the iron along its length and down to as near to the cutting edge as the design of these planes allows."

I decided that perhaps what was happening was that the plane iron wasn't very well supported by the frog, so I moved the frog back so that it was aligned with the angle of the mouth opening. I then had full contact along almost the entire length of the plane iron without any sort of rocking. I then started taking the most beautiful, wispy shavings a man could ask for.

So, thanks Graphus for the indirect answer.

I hope this helps some future frustrated woodworker who also has kept a non-functional plane in their garage for years on end.

  • Yay, go me :-) I have the frog fully back in all my planes, including my super smoother, and never find it necessary to move them from that position even on ribbon-stripe figure, for the wood around knots, and when deliberately planing boards in the wrong direction (which I do frequently, just because). – Graphus supports Monica Jan 19 at 6:28

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