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Setting the Chipbreaker

Here is a quick tutorial for setting the chipbreaker to reduce tearout.

The plane is a LN #4 1/2 with 50 degree frog (still too low for interlocked West Australia timber), chosen because it was close to hand. I can get the same results with a tuned English Stanley (which is not a highly regarded rendition of this plane) ...

1. Flatten the underside. Mark before hand ..

2. Hone on a fine diamond stone. I am resting the rear of the chipbreaker on the planing rest of a small benchtop bench I have. Note that this is very slightly undercutting the front ledge (that is, towards the rear).

This is the result …

I will point out that the LN chipbreaker has a small inner ledge. This does limit the amount of steel one can remove at the leading edge. Here is the LN (above) and LV (below) chipbreakers side-by-side:

For a review on chipbreakers, go here:

4. Hone the about 1mm (1/16”) of the leading edge of the chipmaker to 45 degrees. Here I am using the LV Honing Guide (because you should have one for times like this – while I freehand blades, the honing guide creates an even, consistent bevel at a reliable angle) ..

Not very accurate, is it …

5. Hone. I only used a fine diamond stone. However this one is broken in and probably about 3000 grit now …

Return to step #1 to remove the wire edge. It is tenacious so drag the edge through some end grain.

Chris Schwarz has offers useful tip about this area: treat the leading edge as if preparing a scraper blade, and turn the sharpened edge with a burnisher.

6. Set the chipbreaker. I’ve gone about 0.4mm. This took me 0.3 seconds to do now. When I started out, it took about 3 minutes.

7. Set the blade for appropriate depth, open the mouth a little (it is not going to make much of a difference, if any, to controlling tearout – but it will aid in allowing the shavings to exit the mouth), and start planing.

Here I grabbed a test board – Fiddleback She-oak, and I am planing into the grain just to show off.

Watch the shavings – they should be straighter than usual. Here they are straighter than curly, but not as straight as they can be. On the other hand, this is She-oak – very interlocked short grain – and I am planing into the grain ..

The results …

No tearout.

Regards from Perth


May 2015