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
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
Steve's planes are adjusted by what he calls a mouth block. For more
information on this feature see:
"Holzbearbeitung mit Handwerkzeugen": http://www.holzwerken.de
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.
Just say (tmPL) OK, so that wasn't the best explanation.
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
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