smoothing plane

Hi All.
Please excuse my ignorance as I am newbie, but what does make plane a smoothing plane. Is it a small mouth opening or there is some deeper magic? I am particularly thinking about wooden planes. Steve Knight's planes come with adjustable mouth as far as I know, but how does he do it, i.e. is it a front adjustable or it is done by moving iron up front?
Dmitri
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Mostly it's the small opening, but the cutting angle is important too. For figured hardwoods you want a steeper angle like 50 degrees or even more.
Steve's planes are adjusted by what he calls a mouth block. For more information on this feature see: http://www.holzwerken.de/museum/patent/mouth_block.phtml
Wolfgang
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Yes. :-) For nasty woods, you need a plane with a small mouth and a solidly-bedded, extremely sharp, thick iron (to reduce chatter). You also need to be able to set it for a very light cut.
There are lots of variables, including the presence or absence (or positioning) of a cap iron, the flatness of the sole (actually, a sole that is "coplanar"), the bedding angle of the iron, and how you hold your mouth when you plane. :-)
But those should work for a start.

Steve's planes have an adjustable mouth only in the sense that the mouth block (positioned in front of the iron) maintains a constant mouth opening. This would be so much easier to explain with visual aids, but let's see if I can manage: On a wooden plane you might need to lap the sole to maintain flatness, and each time you do this, you open the mouth a bit (however tiny that may be). With Steve's plane, even if you remove stock on the sole, the angle of the mouth block makes it so the mouth opening stays the same.
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) OK, so that wasn't the best explanation.
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username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.username.clara.net
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The function of a smoothing plane is different from that of stock preparation or jointing, so the size of the plane is different. In order to be easily worked in whatever direction the grain is going, you want a short body and light weight, and perhaps a narrower iron so you can focus on a small area; and in order to give the finest possible cut you want a narrow mouth and perhaps a higher pitched iron.
John
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