Preparing The Cap Iron / Chip Breaker – VIDEO

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Following from the last video, we’re looking at setting up a cap iron. This one’s in two parts and the second video can be found here.

24 Responses

  1. DenverGeorge

    Cannot believe the difference it makes to clean up the cap iron and set it properly on the blade. My #3 works smooth as glass. Took the iron from my #4 and put it on my second #5. Now have one 5 for rough work and one 5 for finishing up. Am doing some octagon legs and they are going fast and beautiful.

    Reply
    • Richard

      That’s lovely to hear, the #5 and #3 are a lovely combo. Octagonal legs, that sound interesting!

      Reply
  2. Bob V

    Good video, as always. One question… What is the spray lubricant you were using?

    Reply
    • Sean

      Thank you Richard, great informative video as ever. Just getting into the whole hand tool thing and making things. I’m finding the process a lot more relaxing and thought provoking as well as learning new skills.

      @ Bob. I’m guessing the lubricant is WD40 (other spray on lubricants are available )

      Reply
      • Richard

        Thanks Sean, it’s really nice to hear you’re enjoying hand tools, there’s much more there than just nostalgia.

        Reply
    • Richard

      Hi Bob, Sean got this right, it’s just a bit of WD40. I’ll use anything, I don’t find it has to be anything too specific. Vegetable oil, spit, blood… they all work, even water.

      Reply
  3. Doug Freeman

    Good video. I started dressing c/b’s similarly after investigating the Kawai and Kato research on the effect of c/b on tear out.. As you already know, this treatment is not necessary for jack plane work, and up to the user whether it’s needed for jointing or panel flattening. The point of beveling the front of the c/b is to create sufficient force through the wood fiber to prevent it from rising up and breaking off below the surface, creating tear out, as you described in your previous video. A higher bevel angle will create more force as the wood fiber is forced to make an abrupt turn. The closer the c/b is to the cutting edge, the more successful this method is. Sometimes I get within .007-.010″ of the edge.

    I use a 70¬į-80¬į bevel that’s ~ 0.025-..040″ high. Getting it too tall just causes chips to jam up. Rounding off the bevel can be done, but isn’t required. I do polish the front of the c/b to help chips slide up it. This can be accomplished a lot of ways – strops, cloth wheels, etc. All of my bench planes have a wide open mouth, as you know a tight one is not needed if the c/b is prepped and positioned correctly. I’ll also point out expensive aftermarket blades and c/b’s are not needed. The standard, OEM Stanley and other mfrs thin blades and c/b’s work just fine.

    When folks figure out a hand plane works within the laws of physics, and not artistic black magic or other mystic powers, they can use them successfully. I enjoy your videos, but sometimes the thick accent (to me in middle America) has me rewinding :<)

    Reply
    • Richard

      Blimey Doug, that’s a full article, and very insightful thank you.
      The accent thing… we’re working on it. Maybe I should go to elocution lessons!

      Reply
      • Micheal Kingsley

        No, Don’t worry about that. It makes for a more interesting video. One of the reasons I like watching, is you are so basic and no nonsense. It is nice not having someone put on airs about it. I would like to make my own bench myself here in Idaho. We have lots of pine and I love the simplicity. I have already started using a lot of your ideas in my own work with guitars. I love the stick and hold down, AND the deep front to the benches you make. Very useful for all types of wood working! I never owned a hold down until I saw you use one, I went right out, bought three, put some leather on the faces and I now use them every day. I even put a link on our Ada County Woodworker website for all the folks in the club to use. www.http://acwoodworker.com

        Yea, Keep the accent, It’s cool.. and very unique in our line of work.

        Reply
  4. Kees

    Yes I did some experimenting with the angel and came to the conclusion that the middle ground is probably best. At angles as low as 30 degrees, it still works fine, you just have to set it a good deal closer to the edge. Very high angles, like they promote in the Japanese video are a bit “harsh” for lack of a better word. It tends to quickly raise the neccessary pushing force. Halfway feels best. And the standard angle of the Stanley capiron is about 45 to 50 and suits me fine.

    Reply
    • Richard

      Hi Kees, many thanks for this. I personally find that despite their low cost the Stanley caps are some of the best out of the box in this regard. Since I put the last video on I’ve considered experimenting a bit with the higher angles, but then I find what I do works so why bother? I much appreciate hearing your experience.

      Reply
  5. davidos

    this is very interesting i always believed the cap iron was to meet the stone dead flat .looking forward to part 2

    Reply
    • Richard

      Hi Davidos, We only relieve it to ensure an absolute air tight fit to the iron. It’s well worth the effort because you only have to do it once.

      Reply
  6. Jason A. Hammond

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who uses ol’ WD on sharpening stones. ‚ėļGreat video.

    Reply
  7. Sylvain

    I have no difficulty with your accent. If you try to change it, please go the Paul Sellers way and not the other side of the pound way. Sometime US video are completely impossible to understand.
    I like your videos; keep going.
    Sylvain

    Reply
  8. Jeroen

    Please don’t change your accent. It is fas better then all the American accents we hear all the time in woodworking video’s.

    Reply
  9. Steve

    Hi Richard
    Great series of videos on the cap iron, thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight.
    Is there any difference in set up for cap irons in wooden vs metal planes? Wooden planes tend to have much thicker metal for the irons and chip breakers compared to thin stuff you get with the metal planes. I guess a tight, light free fit between the two is a must on both types of plane.
    Cheers!

    Reply
  10. Christopher M

    Hello Richard, you might not get this reply since I’m late getting back but I wanted to be sure before I said anything. From what I have read Stanley, Record were clearly trying for a 45 degree bevel on the front of the cap iron . Other makers like LN and hock blades are 25 and 30 degrees . A re honing at 30 degrees from the 25 will help prevent any shavings getting caught in between the cap iron and the blade for sure. But all my vintage planes with the older type cap irons that you are showing in the video should not be honed over the 45 degrees. If you think about it the frog is bedded at what? 45 degrees correct. So a bevel on the cap iron at 45 degrees will give you a combination of what 90 degrees so anything forward of that will only surely create more resistance. Slightly and not to bad at the 50 degrees but try the 45 degrees and then polish the 45 degree bevel with some Flitz and oooo steel wool and see how you like the way that feels to you. I think beginners have the biggest problem with hand planes not working properly because of the cap iron not making good solid contact with the iron. Even the new premium planes can have this issue. I recently bought a new LN 5 1/2 and sure enough right out of the box I had the exact problem. Fortunately Im aware of this problem and within minutes I had the problem fixed. I will say that I own almost all of LN Bench planes and that was the first one that had that problem straight out of the box so that’s a pretty good record, I think. Anyway I hope this information was useful if you can find some old Stanley/ Records catalogs on there Handplanes you should find the information on the cap irons that states how they were designed. Thanks for the video and great work.
    Chris. M

    Reply
  11. Tim S

    Well done Richard!

    Question for you – it requires your humble opinion ūüėČ – with these cap iron set up and adjustment procedures, do you still require / employ things like high angle frogs and / or bevel up planes to deal with difficult / wavy grain? (please, think worst case on wavy grain, even worse than the ash knot you so routinely negotiated in your other video with your tuned up #3)

    I know there are a lot of different opinions on this topic, and I bet you even own a couple bevel ups and high angles (in fact I saw a BU on your bench in the other video). I know I own a couple…

    What say ye? Is the good ol’ Stanley Bailey smoother all you really need for any wood, as long as you keep it sharp and pay close attention to the preparation and positioning of the cap iron?

    Thanks in advance Richard, appreciate all you do.

    Reply
  12. Jeffery Oliver

    Really appreciate this video. This was one of the details that I needed to properly set up and tune my 4,5, and 6 Stanleys (this, setting up the chipbreaker, and adjusting the frog correctly).
    Thanks!

    Reply

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