Boat Building Forum

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Re: Tools: Hock Blades, planes, choices, money...

: I expect you might do both :) and enjoy both.

: Next time bring along a piece of wood and actually try the thing.
: The set of two for $14 planes from Harbor Freight look pretty
: nice, too. Once I find where I put them I may even open the
: package and try them. I don't have great expectations, so if
: they are modestly useful I'll be very happy.

Well it's a long story... Basically I didn't realize until I was there that Norfolk had a Woodcraft store. I also didn't realize they would get 15" of snow, but that's another story! I was going to ask to try the plane out, but I had little time. Anyway, I was very surprised at the quality of both the $30 plane and the $107 one. The cheaper one of course my expectations were low to start with, but it's way better than my Buck Bros. cheapie that cost much more. The $107 one far exceeded my expectations.

: I'm not convinced that the gap needs to be small for a plane to
: work well. There are plenty of bullnose planes and chisel planes
: which have the blade right at the front. No gap at all. (or an
: infinite gap, depending on your perspective) I think it depends
: on the work the plane is doing. It may be futile to try to get a
: low-angle plane, or a bench plane to do the work of a long-base
: jointer plane. If the current plane is OK for rapid stock
: removal, use it for that, and get a different plane for finer
: finish work.

Well, actually that's a long dissertation, but in a nutshell, the main dilemma has been planing difficult grain. A smaller gap helps hold the grain afore the blade. For rough cutting, trimming up small areas, and for soft stuff it's probably not as big a deal.

: Have you tried putting some brass shim stock (available at hobby
: stores and auto repair stores) behind the blade to push it
: further forward? I'm not sure how a chipper can wear out, or go
: bad, so I guess it had a bad design or was just the wrong size
: or shape. If a different shaped chipper works better, buy it.
: That gives you a workable plane for the price of a part, and it
: will last another generation or two.

Great idea. Didn't think of shimming it. As for the chipper, it didn't wear out- it's just very poorly made. Poor fit, poor machining, even the bend at the end isn't quite right. Mostly fixable stuff. I dressed it up, but it still needs some more work. I would be happy to buy a new one and be done. (This is referring to my cheapie Buck Bros. plane)

: You may even be able to find a local heat-treating, or
: cryo-treating shop near you which can custom make a half dozen
: blades for you. Tell them what you need and maybe they'll throw
: in some small items alongside a bigger job, just as tests.

LOL!!! Local heat-treating or cryo-treating shop. Dude I can't even get a good welder 'round here!!! Maybe the hospital can let me borrow their Cryo freezer and put a few blades in.

: Or, go cheap and use a plane with a junky steel blade, and just
: sharpen it daily, or weekly. Cedar is soft wood, so the hardest
: steel isn't really necessary. I have files and a bench grinder.
: If I should want an iron with a different bevel, I can create
: that myself in a few minutes. If it needs to be sharpened, or
: honed, that is even quicker.

Cedar? Ahh yes, I remember that stuff. I think it is made of fairy dust. LOL Kidding!!! Well I am using more mahogany than cedar nowadays. I can actually get mahogany locally cheaper than shipping cedar. Heavier, but beautiful and worth the weight. It has a tricky grain. Anyway, I had always gone cheap and tuned and sharpened, but thought I might get one really good blade... which was my original intent before seeing the price versus just getting a whole new plane.

: There are a lot of brands. You may have already sold yourself on
: Hock, but spend a few more minutes checking around before you
: send out an order. Stanley may still be making the same model
: plane, but have a new-technology iron on their current
: production. Modern eplacement parts direct from a manufacurer
: would probably be better than the old stuff, and elatively
: inexpensive. Or, call or e-mail them and see if they've found a
: particular replacement which surpasses their production part,
: but is too expensive for them to market.

: All that said, the best way I know to improve a cheap plane is to
: put in a good iron and tune it up.

: Sounds like a nice indoor, cold-weather, winter project. You have
: almost 3 months to spring. OH, wait! You have a warm and mild
: winter! Well, just cuz I like ya, I'll be happy to do a house
: swap and trade my comfortable, frozen abode for your uselessly
: warm weather for those three months. It will give you plenty of
: quality snowbound indoor-time to work on those restoration
: projects. And you could learn to ice fish. Just send me a plane
: ticket, and I'll mail ya the keys.
: :
Ha!!! Refer back to the Norfolk, VA Comment. Got to see snow for the first time in ten years. Lots of it. (for me anyway) Just remember when you are ripping on me (and I am having fun here- don't read the wrong way) that you can walk out the door and go take your pick of woodworking stores, lumber yards, and apparently find a cryogenic treating facility or two. You should have been with us as we drove through various neighborhoods: "Look, they have a workshop... and they have one too, and so do they..." Damn. It's like every other house in Virginia has a workshop. (Note: yeah, so probably these people parked cars in them, but to me they were workshops.) We literally and I mean LITERALLY had a conversation, "Do you think we should just move back to the US where you can just go have a workshop built for $10k, and you can walk down to the nearest woodworking store and get a sharpening jig, t-tracks, a router bit set, and rare woods all in the same store?"

: Hand tool philosophy: A plane is not much different than a hammer
: in one way: they are both just castings with handles, and a few
: extra parts. You can get cheap hammers and expensive ones. Same
: with planes. Some people prefer to buy the least expensive tool.
: Some buy the least expensive which will do the job they are
: doing now Some buy a tool which is good for today's job, and has
: features they may use in the future. Some buy tools for
: longevity or durability, or ease or repair. There are tools
: offered at many prices which meet the expectations and
: philosophies of the various buyers. Unless you buy a completely
: wrong tool for the job (like driving nails with a Vice-Grip
: pliers--possible but messy) there is really no "wrong"
: tool purchase fi what you buy does the job and makes you happy.

: Now a question about Your tool philosophy: Did you buy that old
: plane to keep on the shelf for decoration, or did you think of
: restoring it for regular use? Your answer to this will determine
: whether you buy an expensive new iron for this plane, and try it
: out before buying more of the same for your other planes, or
: not.

Ha, well not only did I buy that one for use, I also bought a really nice old wood jack plane with the most comfortable handle I've ever held. I actually plan to copy that handle for shop jigs and such, and YES, I am going to sharpen that blade tonight and use that plane hopefully as-is except for the honing. The Stanley I intend to tune and sharpen first, then see what I think. It was dirt cheap and I bought it knowing if nothing else I could use the cap iron for another plane I have that it will fit, but hoping the plane tunes up well and may just become one of my favorites. I prefer the levered cap iron to the screw-down one on the other plane. No "display tools" in my house. Even grandpa's old tools get a workout often.

: And a reminder: If you'd be happy shoveling snow off my sidewalk,
: the house swap offer is open any winter.

Perfect- I will call you when the next hurricane comes by! LOL

: Has anyone mentioned to you that you can get into making your own
: planes? Make them with whatever feel and crispnes you wish.
: Rounded-bottom planes are hard to find, but just think of how
: nicely they could smooth the curved shapes on surfboards and
: boats.

Actually I also picked up the latest edition... or the one before the latest... of "Shop Notes" (excellent publication by the way) and they have an article on making planes. I've often considered it, and do have some handmade wood planes by other craftsmen. I didn't want to get long-winded in my post, but another reason I asked about the Hock blades was that I am intending to make two or three wood planes- one being a shoulder plane, and yes, one being a convex plane which I dearly need right now. I even already have some beautiful rosewood and lots of leftover mahogany and flamed maple, so for once I have a project I can do with little investment.