Monday, November 17, 2014

Expanding The Stanley 55's Capabilities With Angled Fences

Here is a tip you won't find in the Stanley 55 plane's manual for making angled or chamfered cuts.

In the wooden moulding plane parlance, a plane tilted off vertical is sprung, and its angle is known as the spring angle. Springing on wooden moulding planes decreased the amount of metal on the iron that needed to be ground away to create the profile. With wooden moulding planes, some contend that a tilt of the plane also helps to keep the plane running true since a diagonal downward force will both push the built-in fence against the stock and allow for cutting at the same time.

 Horizontal and vertical spring angle lines, seen just above
the profile, indicate the proper tilt of the plane

Figure 69, below, from the Stanley 55's manual shows a method for angled mouldings. The ability to angle the 55's profiles vastly improves your options when recreating mouldings. Unfortunately, this angled moulding is easier said than done with the Stanley 55 with the setup shown in the manual. Unlike its wooden plane counterpart, the Stanley 55's weight tends to veer the plane off course when it is "sprung", especially with steeper angles.

Each wooden fence can be positioned from a vertical position to a maximum angle of 45° downward relative to its own metal fence. Angling the left fence, to let's say 30°, will tilt the main body of the plane to the left (when viewed from the operators standpoint behind the plane) and the cutter 30° from vertical. These angled cuts can be a bit tricky, especially with the steeper angle as the plane has a tendency to slip off course. Why not just use the right fence in tandem with the left? Well, you would need to point the rosewood fence 30° upward relative to its own metal fence. Unfortunately, this can't be done with the way the fence is screwed in. The fence can only be directed downward.

The rosewood fence can be removed off of the metal portion of the fence by unscrewing the set screws and flipping the fence upside down. Be careful not to loose the cylindrical nuts. Once the right fence is flipped upside down, the fence can be angled appropriately upward by loosening the set screws. Having the use of the dual fences greatly improves consistency.

Loosening the 2 set screws on each fence allows the fence to be angled. 
The screws can be removed (keep an eye on the cylindical 
nuts so that they do not get lost) and the fence can be flipped upside down.

These are both right fences. The fence on the left is in its normal orthoganal position. The fence in the right of the photo has its rosewood fence flipped over to allow it to be angled more skyward relative to the metal portion of the fence.This can only be done by removing the fence and flipping it over.

The left fence (to the right in the photo) is angled downward and the right fence is angled upward.
You may be able to set the fence angles while they are mounted on the rods so that the faces are easier to set parallel.

Here the plane is returned back to its standard vertical orientation.
This is the cutter used 
for angled and
vertical profiles shown

The moulding on the left was created with a steep angle,
while the one on the right was made with the plane vertical.

Another setup this time using a straight cutter angled to about 35°

The right fence flip-over trick can get you to about 35°. Another option to think about is making your own custom fence to accommodate angled mouldings for a full 45° tilt...

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