Cambered iron on a shooting board

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You just need the blade to be flat enough where it contacts your work. A touch of belly is not always bad, (talking thousandths here) as imperfections that small can get addressed with glue in joints etc. Many of us ease the corners of our smoothing irons in a way that is not true camber. It just keeps the corners from digging. Consider those smoothers are 2” wide and the board I am shooting is 3/4” thick. I just need a little over an inch of the plane iron to truly be square (or within that few thousandths.) The eased corners don’t  matter. The one caveat is if you are shooting with a rabetting plane. (I wouldn’t.) You typically avoid all camber with those and would not typically ease corners. That’s likely off topic in this post. 

To address the picture. See how the steepest curve is at the edges of the iron pictured? Lay something under the plane to elevate it a bit so that the more linear bit of the iron is doing the cutting. 

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Thanks for the responses. I'll try not to worry with a thin camber and lift the plane if needed to meet where the plane is flattest.

If I could follow up with another question.

When I hear about cambered blades, is it best to have just a slight camber, a big camber or a straight blade with rounded corners. Or are they all good for different roles?

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Heavy camber is typically reserved for "scrub" planes. These are made for the intial coarse flatenning of rough lumber. IMO, most other planes should have a straight edge, with only the corners eased to reduce tracks. Some like a bit of camber on their smoothing plane, to make the surface look more 'hand planed'. I just think it looks unfinished. But, to each his own.

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  • 2 months later...

When I started this wood thing about 50 years ago I never heard of camber. Camber was for scrub planes; for everything else the blade was (and still is) dead straight. It's easy to sharpen that way. When I am happy with the edge I nick off the corners a bit if I know I am going to plane a table top, otherwise I leave them alone. To take the ridges off after planing I use a card scraper. It's fast, leaves the planed look, and produces a lot less dust than sandpaper. Now everybody thinks they need to camber blades. Here's what you should do: try it. If you don't like it, don't do it anymore. it might work for you, it might not. The worst that can happen is several hours of lost joy taking that #$@! camber out of a perfectly good blade.

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