How to set up a metal scrub plane

 
     
     
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 Checking the sole and blade of a scrub plane 

Most planes – even a new one straight out of the box – need some degree of setting up before they work perfectly.

 

The scrub plane is no exception.

 
     
   

Checking and flattening the sole 

 
 Sole of a metal hand plane 

A plane's sole needs to be perfectly flat and smooth for the tool to work properly. See how to flatten...for a full step-by step guide.

 
     
   

Checking the iron

 
 Curved cutting edge of a scrub plane iron 

The scrub plane iron’s cutting edge is deeply curved, or cambered. In a conventional scrub plane which has its iron bedded at 45 degrees to the sole, the iron requires a 75mm (3 inch) radius on its cutting edge. This means the cutting edge forms part of a circle that, if completed, would measure 150mm (6”) in diameter.

 
     
 Right and wrong radius for scrub plane irons 

Determine if the radius is right for your particular scrub plane – you might find details in the printed guide if one came with your plane. If it’s a second-hand plane with no printed information, use the figures above as a general guide.

 

Too much camber, or curvature, produces gouges that are too deep; not enough, and the corners of the iron can leave tracks in the wood that might prove difficult to remove later.

 
     
 Grinding a new camber on a scrub plane iron 

Lowering the angle of the blade reduces the depth of the gouge, so a scrub plane with the iron set at a lower angle needs to have a smaller radius to give the same depth of gouge.

 

If the camber is wrong, you will need to make a new bevel on the blade, using an electrically-powered grinder, before honing (sharpening) the blade, on a sharpening stone. Or you can take the blade to a specialist workshop for re-cambering.

 
     
 

Mouth and iron's cutting edge of metal scrub plane

 

Check the sharpness of the blade – if is isn't cutting through the surface of the wood smoothly, it may need sharpening.

 

Run a finger gently across the blade (not along it!) and feel its sharpness. If it feels less than razor sharp, or has some chips in it, or both, again you will need to sharpen it.

 
     
 Sharpening a scrub plane iron 

See How to sharpen and adjust a scrub plane iron for a step-by-step guide to these important procedures.

 
     
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