Flattening Plane Sole

Hello All, I've just picked up a used Bailey #4 thats in dire need of some serious flattening. Instead of spending the next year with sandpaper on granite is it possible to have it professionally machined flat?
Thanks, Peter
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PETER SHEPARD wrote:

Yes, but it doesn't take THAT long to do it yourself and the results will probably be better. If you have a machine shop do it, it will make the plane worth much more than it ever could be worth, and they'll probably take too much off the sole. How out of flat is it and what area is not flat. Is it twisted or cracked? Dave in Fairfax
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If you have a machine shop do

and they'll probably take too much off the sole. False.
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CW wrote:

I was thinking of the thread we had on this about a year ago in which the person had exactly that problem. It depends on the shop and their understNding of how thick the sole needs to be. That's why I asked how far out of flat it was, and where. Dave in Fairfax
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All he has to say is "minimum clean up".

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It's not that difficult, doesn't take that long, and is a good workout.
I've done four #4's so far, and some bigger ones. Piece of cake.
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Unless that plane was in a fire and is really twisted (throw it away), it shouldn't take more than an hour to flatten it using Scary Sharp.
Bob S.

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: I've just picked up a used Bailey #4 thats in dire need of some serious : flattening. Instead of spending the next year with sandpaper on granite is : it possible to have it professionally machined flat?
After this it might not be flat enough to meet the needs of the most fastidious user.
Please consider the material on my web site - Planing Notes - Fettling a Cast-Iron Plane Improving a run-of-the-mill plane .
Jeff G
-- Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK Email address is username@ISP username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.amgron.clara.net
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I sprinkled carbide powder (from a rock polishing supply) on a piece of plate glass with some light oil. Didn't take very long at all to flatten a big, old Bailey jointer. Just make sure the entire sole is in contact with the abrasive and glass at all times. Unless the sole is badly warped, this method works pretty well and is really inexpensive. RJ

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The beauty of flattening on sandpaper is that you will do it with the plane in the condition in which it will be used, meaning the frog in place, iron and cap in place (but backed off), and pressure applied with your hands just like you will use it. A machine shop will clamp it in place, and a good one will know how to clamp it without imparting stresses, but in the end it will not be the same.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com/woodshop

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Pounds on Wood wrote:

What guarantee do you have that you're not letting the plane tip to even the slightest degree, resulting in a domed rather than flat sole? Use a surface plate / scraper and Prussian blue if you're a *true* fanatic.
And don't forget to flatten the the frog and receiver.
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Uhh, technique? The same skill needed to use the plane. Might as well get started learning it.

How about sandpaper and felt tip pen? Would I still be a fanatic?

Ayeaye. -- Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com/woodshop
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On Thu, 17 Jun 2004 00:02:30 GMT, "PETER SHEPARD"

useless, please, please, please keep abrasives away from it. A piece of 3/4 inch glass isn't that expensive. I haven't done all that much sharpening on my piece of glass, but it's quite scarred. The surface plate is reserved for measuring and testing.
Regards, Ed Bailen
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On Thu, 17 Jun 2004 00:02:30 GMT, "PETER SHEPARD"

Peter,
Do it yourself and the results will be better. A number of years ago I had a very good machine shop mill a groove down the center of some planes for building bamboo fly rods. Apparently the clamping added enough stress to the base that it bowed a bit and I ended up having to reflatten the sole & recut the grooves myself. Keeping the sole free of outside stress when flattening or modifying is essential and the best way to get good results is to saddle that puppy up as you use it but with the blade backed off. Its very satisfying making modifications yourself and if you're careful the results can be quite good.
Kiyu
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Doubtful it had anything to do with clamping. Most machine shops deal with this kind of thing on a regular basis (not planes but thin, flexible workpieces). Cutting the groove would relieve internal stresses that cause warping.
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Why ? Planes are just about a worst-case for clampable items. They've a long and flexible body, with a little more stiffness around the centre, except where the mouth weakens it. And the #10 design is even worse! It's all too easy for them to behave as two stiff boards with a hinge between.
You _can_ clamp them down safely for accurate machining, but it needs a proper packing jig making up - especially on a magnetic chuck for a surface grinder. Unless you have the luxury of a real magnetic sliding / step jig (if you don't, then make one. They're complicated, but after all you are a grinding shop!). Jigging up properly just isn't something that the average grinding shop is going to do for a one-off, unless you insist. Discuss what flatness tolerance you're expecting with them - these guys know what they're doing, but they won't expect a mere woodworker to really care about accuracy, unless you make it plain.
Some plane bodies are simply unclampable. These are the ones where the action of clamping the frog into place is enough to bend them. Before you even think about machining a plane body, investigate this. Measure sole flatness (both axes), both with and without the frog fastened in place. If it also changes when you attach the iron, then you've simply set the frog too far back - the iron should always float _in_ the mouth, not against the back edge of it.
If you have a frog-bender plane, then you have to machine it with the frog in situ. This is even worse for clamping up, but you can do it. And how can grinding it without the frog in place than be doing anything other than expensively grinding the sole to be the wrong shape?
And don't grind your Norris. If you do grind your Norris, don't make it the first plane you do.
Don't take a bronze plane to a grinding shop and expect them to be happy about it either. Magnetic chucks are a great convenience, but non-magnetics will need a magnetic jig making up to hold them.
IMHO, the whole flat plane thing is about as sensible as the flat earth thing, but if you're going to try it, then best do it well I suppose.
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You would be amazed at what an hour on a course Easy-Lap hone will do. You can buy a 10"x2 1/2" (?) hone for not much more than the machine shop will charge.
The hone is made on a very flat piece of stainless steel.
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