Truing The Sole Of A Very Large Plane

A year or so ago I found a very nice type 11 #7 plane at a local antique mall for a reasonable price.

Unfortunately the sole of the plane had a bit if a warp and twist. It worked well enough for roughing stock to dimension but try as I might I could not get this plane to shoot a straight edge.

I have trued the soles of smaller planes before; a tedious task of lapping the sole against a flat surface covered with sandpaper or a sheet of glass covered with abrasive grit.  I was not looking forward to spending hours, possibly days, lapping the sole of a 22″ plane.

Last night I came up with two possible solutions.

The first was to contact a local shoemaker to see if I could borrow his night crew to do the work while I sleep.

How do I get these guys to work for me?

That didn’t work out so I went with plan B.

I decided to try truing the sole in a manner similar to leveling the frets on a stringed instrument. I lowered the blade and clamped the plane upside down in my bench vice and stoned the sole with diamond stones. I frequently checked progress with a straight edge. I was able to feel the drag of high spots on the sole just as I feel the high spots on frets.Truing the sole of a number seven plane

The work went surprisingly fast.

I would not say the sole is perfectly flat but after about an hour of work I was able to make see-through shavings a yard long and leave the board I was planing very straight and flat!

 

2 thoughts on “Truing The Sole Of A Very Large Plane

  1. Doug Berch

    I figured I wasn’t the first! I did use some feeler gauges to make sure my eye was seeing things correctly. The thinnest I had was .003 it wouldn’t fit between the straight edge and sole.

  2. Gary Roberts

    Doug… thirty odd years ago, before the advent of the Flat Sole Society, I simply did what you did. I had an early diamond stone from Woodcraft. It worked well too. Periodic checking with a straightedge and I had a plane or two that worked just fine. I did have a set of feeler gauges from when cars needed them but never thought to use it.

    I wonder if the Dominy’s had diamond stones or feeler gauges?

    Gary

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