When have your planes "chattered"


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Ok, so I want to make a plane chatter :blink: . I will be quite honest, I can't remember a time when my planes did chatter, they must of I guess. I just can't recall why or when. 

Could you let me know when you had some chatter, what your were doing and what wood you were working on. Preferably using a No4 Smoothing Plane.

This may seem an odd request but I want to contrast two planes, a vintage and a budget plane. Having an assault course would be really helpful and make my research more realistic. 

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Every plane I used up until 5-6 years ago chattered. The planes in "industrial arts" class were the worst. Just take a sightly more aggressive cut with a dull iron on hard maple.

 

Wow... I can't believe you've never had a plane chatter on you :)

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Wow... I can't believe you've never had a plane chatter on you :)

 

Muddlermike, They must of at some point, just can't recall when or why. What changed for you 5 years ago, different sharpening, different brand of plane, set up, etc.

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Thanks Bobby,

 

I still want real situations with a plane that is set as it should be. I wan't to see how good/bad a budget tool will work. Not so I can preach the results, just as an interesting exercise. I'm thinking of working on big end grain cuts, and also some interlocked grain. Some real life stuff too like cleaning up some joinery. I have short and thick ends of sapele, iroko, idigbo, european redwood and few others too so that should prove adequate for provoking problems.

With the responses so far it seems chatter has more to do with how the tool is sharpened and tuned rather than some big fault of bad tool?

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Sounds like you're all a lot luckier than me. I get chatter very easily with the smoother and sometimes with the jointer. Always happens at the start of the cut, and leaves perhaps 5-15 little lateral cuts over about the same distance in millimeters. Never happens right at the start of the cut, always about 10-20mm in.

 

There are several solutions (for me) before resharpening the blade; pressing down harder (but that's an indication that the blade is dull), waxing the sole, skewing the body of the plane, using less downward pressure. This last one requires quite a bit of zen, especially if you're a couple of shavings off the correct thickness.

 

How to achieve chatter with a perfectly tuned handplane? Try putting too much downward pressure on the back of the plane, it'll cut, skip then chatter, at least in my hands it does.

 

John

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I'm guessing that for some, the first plane they used was a new LN or veritas? It's been my experience that newer, high quality planes will work well out of the box and typically only need sharpening. Personally, my early experiences with bench and block planes were relitively cheap 1960's and '70's planes that had crappy steel for the irons and were designed poorly. I didn't know anything about sharpening back then, nor did I know anything about planes in general. If the sole is warped, the frog doesn't seat well or isn't designed properly, or you have an iron that won't hold an edge, then it's going to chatter. That being said, with a new hock iron and cap, my grandfathers 50's era stanley defiance does respectfully well (so much for poor frog design :) ).

 

Aside from bad planes or irons, I've had chatter and/or tear out with harder woods that can be remedied with a higer cutting angle like 50 or 55 degrees. also, if I'm not paying attention, I might be planing against the grain and that might be the problem. John@verona brings up a good point about technique as well.

 

Budget tools are funny, in that it still is based on design. If you look at post WW2 planes from stanley, you know that their frog designs started to suffer - even with their bailey line. However, if you look at millers falls, their budget line frogs post WW2 were just as solid as could be and a millers falls 900 will out perform a stanley bailey from the same year anytime. In today's market, there are servicable budget planes like the Anants that need a little fine tuning out of the box but perform very well.

 

So, to your question: if a plane is of a solid design, is properly tuned up, and the iron is sharp and set up properly, then you should look to your technique and the wood for reasons of chatter.

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I see it happen with 2 real causes: first, when the screw on my cap iron has gotten just a little bit loose - not so made the blade moves, but just enough that it's not firmly locked, and second, end grain. It seems like no matter how sharp the plane is, or how light the cut is, my smoother and jack plane just can't go across an end-grain cutting board (Old stanley #4 and 5 1/2, sharpened to 10,000 grit on water stones).

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Thanks all. 

 

You all seem to be saying the same thing. No matter the make of the plane, if it's sharp, properly set and your skills are good you don't get chatter.

 

My first plane was a plastic handled No3 Stanley that my Dad bought in error (endless ribbing by others that I had a child's plane) and I never had grief with it.

 

Next was a plastic handled No4 and I never had any grief with that one either. They both have the standard blade and chip breaker and they were used straight out of the box. 

 

As always on this forum their are sensible responses and I hope my next question will not polarise or offend anyone, (in many ways it is likely to help inform my further tool purchases)

 

Is it too strong a comment to say "Nearly all planes will work equally well as one another as long as it is sharp, tuned and set right" (for instance anant vs clifton)

 

Also would it be fair to say "The main reason for buying premium planes is that they are already tuned and set right thus saving time. In addition the quality of the materials used and craftsmanship used in a premium plane make them more desirable rather than any huge performance gain"

 

And finally (sorry if this is getting boring) what items have you retro fitted (chip breaker, blade type stuff) and noticed a big step forward in performance if any. 

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Nay, it is not like that at all. Heft in a one handed plane is critical. It has to fit my hand well to function well as a block plane. Mass in a two handed plane is preferable. If the plane is lighter there is less inertial mass and I think Lie-Nielson is targeting that idea with denser metals.

Also, the HF plane I referenced chews up my knuckles because the deapth adjustment is poorly designed. Maybe a person with smaller hands might like it but I do not.

Also, you asked about chatter, there are other problems you can have with plane. Chatter is not the only failure.

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Thanks C,

 

That ticks one box, Premium planes have more mass, therefore some users find this an advantage.

 

I already feel bad about this but I'm not sure the HF plane you have shown is a worthwhile investment for many people. Especially with so many "Bailey" clones at such cheap prices. It looks like the result of a one night stand between a spoke shave and a hand plane! For anyone that owns and loves that plane I apologise for any offense caused in the writing of the post ;)

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I bought the plane honestly to compare against with questions like your own. I have a 1930s Stanley-Bailey clone, a more modern Craftsman series Stanley and a Stanley clone with a stamped steel frog all in a #4 size. I wanted to feel out what I was looking for in Ebay purchases and yard sales. The HF was cheap enough to try. It works ok and I can force it to get nice cuts but it is more work and is tempermental. I am beginning to view it like the nickel and dime auto. (Does that translate meaningfully in the UK?) I do not have the experience to know where the threshold is but I now believe there is a threshold.

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Thanks all. 

 

You all seem to be saying the same thing. No matter the make of the plane, if it's sharp, properly set and your skills are good you don't get chatter.

 

My first plane was a plastic handled No3 Stanley that my Dad bought in error (endless ribbing by others that I had a child's plane) and I never had grief with it.

 

Next was a plastic handled No4 and I never had any grief with that one either. They both have the standard blade and chip breaker and they were used straight out of the box. 

 

As always on this forum their are sensible responses and I hope my next question will not polarise or offend anyone, (in many ways it is likely to help inform my further tool purchases)

 

Is it too strong a comment to say "Nearly all planes will work equally well as one another as long as it is sharp, tuned and set right" (for instance anant vs clifton)

 

Also would it be fair to say "The main reason for buying premium planes is that they are already tuned and set right thus saving time. In addition the quality of the materials used and craftsmanship used in a premium plane make them more desirable rather than any huge performance gain"

 

And finally (sorry if this is getting boring) what items have you retro fitted (chip breaker, blade type stuff) and noticed a big step forward in performance if any. 

 

GS - I think this is a great thread and if anyone is offended or polarized then they aren't really reading you questions :)

 

Again, I can only speak to my experiences but I agree mostly with your first statement. I own a couple new Veritas, a few new Anants, and a couple dozen used/antique planes. With the exception of a couple cheap, stamped steel frogged planes, all of them that are complete and intact can be servicable planes. There is something to be said about design, though. Some planes perform better - and directly related to their design, in my opinion - than others. Of my used planes, the only changes I've made to make a few of them perform better is to replace the iron/cap iron with a Hock combo. And, I will say that a Hock iron/cap iron combo will improve any used plane with a standard iron/cap iron combo.

 

As to the design issues I would question: a frog that doesn't have a nearly solid face (like post-WW2 Baileys), a frog that doesn't seat to the base casting well, a stamped steel frog, a depth adjuster with too much backlash to make fine enough adjustments or one that doesn't hold it's position well. All but the stamped steel frog can be helped with some adjusting. As to the post WW2 Stanley Baileys, Victors, Defiances, and Handymans (with sparce milled area to their frog faces), those can be helped with a thicker iron replacement.

 

Again, this is just my experience.

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Thanks for the reassurance Mike, 

 

When you speak of frog solid face are you talking about this?

 

Bench-Plane-Frog.jpg?resize=306%2C414

 

This is an interesting point for me as it clearly seems better to have more surface area contact. However, when a cheap standard chip breaker and blade are screwed together they bend (hope this is not just me). This is true of the stanley, faithful and record planes I have. This means the blade is not perfectly flat on the frog (held up to the light I could see daylight between frog & blade) and IME it has made no difference to performance (when working on joinery, fine smoothing and deep cuts).  Using just a new quality chip breaker with a thin blade makes the bending even worse, unless you use a two piece chip breaker. I had an old record stay set chip breaker (two piece) and as there is a joint in the breaker it does not bend the blade. This is the only combo that has given me a flat seating on the frog. 

 

031321.jpg

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