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slitter on Stanley 45

9619's picture

slitter on Stanley 45 (post #104681)

Hi,
I have a modern Stanley 45 (all the improvements, so to speak). The slitter blade was never sharpened or honed, and I notice that the blade has four bevels which yield a rounded "arrowhead" shape. The tip is rounded rather than a point. My guess is that is for strength because a point is more likely to break off. I notice that the four original bevels are convex, and not flat.

So I would like to sharpen and hone this slitter blade. I have searched the internet for any info on how it should be sharpened, but have found nothing. My guess is that I should sharpen and hone it so that it retains its original shape, with a rounded nose, and with four convex rather than flat bevels.

Is my guess correct? IF not, then what?

If there is information out there somewhere, please just point me to it and I'll find it.

SECONDLY,
I have not been able to find any info on using the slitter, other than the few sentences in the Stanley 45 pamphlet. Does anyone have any info on how thick a board that this slitter is useful in cutting, or how wide a cut it can make. I have read that it is for cutting off narrow pieces from a board. OK, how narrow?

Or more simply put, do you have any suggestions for the sizes of boards to make cuts from, and the size of the pieces cut off?

I am sure all of this ground has been walked on a million times. I wouldn't have asked here without having tried to find the information on my own.

Also, since I am new to the Stanley 45, I would appreciate suggestions from folks with real experience on things that they have found it useful for doing, and things that they have found it not useful for doing.

Thank you very much.
Mel
PS I have read Patrick Leach's words in his Blood and Gore about the problems with a #45. I fully understand the problems of tearout when you don't have a 'mouth' on a plane. I realize the need to choose stock with fairly regular grain. But maybe someone has experience on which woods (eg cherry, walnut, poplar) that are better for the 45 and which may not be so good. I have read that maple is not. Maybe that referred to figured maple. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

derekcohen's picture

(post #104681, reply #1 of 17)

Hi Mel


I have not used the slitter on my #45, nor even bothered to sharpen it. It is not in what I would call "working sharp" condition. Were I to sharpen it I would probably just freehand the bevels at the primary angle they came with. I could measure this for you if you need.


What I would suggest that you do, to educate yourself about sharpening knives, is a search of the knife-making  forums. This is what I did when I began making chip carving blades.


Regards from Perth


Derek

rwdare's picture

(post #104681, reply #2 of 17)

Mel,


Does this slitter look like a four blade propeller? If so, you just hone the flat side.


Dick

9619's picture

(post #104681, reply #4 of 17)

Dick,
The slitter looks like the head of a spear. It is quite large. I am not talking about the little spurs that are used to cut the edge lines in the grain when making cross cuts. I know how to sharpen them.
Thanks,
Mel

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Tony Z's picture

(post #104681, reply #5 of 17)

Mel,


Do what Derek said.  I have several slitters: one came with a 45, another was purchased from the Leachmeister and one I made, patterned after one I borrowed from another Galoot.  All had the same appearance as yours.


The style of the slitter is made for cutting very thin stock with the grain.  Out of curousity I used one once or twice and have found simply using a knife and a straight edge quicker.  In fact, I believe the way you use the slitter is much as you would a knife:  advancing the depth a bit with each pass.


I only use my 45 for occassional grooving and prefer not to even have the slitter mounted as its position affords you of a skinned knucked or two!


T.Z.

9619's picture

(post #104681, reply #6 of 17)

Tony,
I think you are right about the slitter. I am not going to worry about it. I am just going to hone it in the shape that it is, and give it a try just to see what it does. I did not buy this beast to slit thin boards. Interestingly enough, Patrick who does not like the 45, seems to like its slitting capability. Life is complex,
Have fun.
Mel

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

WillGeorge's picture

(post #104681, reply #7 of 17)

like its slitting capability. Life is complex.. Ok so are us humans! Especially when answering a question we know nothing about and provide input!


I have no idea but I would assume a 'slitter' should just break the edges 'for a cleaner cut' than the main blade may be able to do? Sort of like a steady hand slitting the surface of whatever with a ' razor edge' and the main blade takes over from there?


Maybe you need a water/grit saw that NASA uses for cutting out parts?

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

9619's picture

(post #104681, reply #9 of 17)

Will George,
The slitter is an interesting question. I wasn't looking for "book learning". I was looking to see if there was someone out there who actually used it, and find out some details of what they cut with it, and how they sharpened it.

No luck. Either no one has used it, or they don't want to talk about it. No problem. I have one of Tony Z's slitters and it is Darned Sharp! So I am going to sharpen mine the same way and then try it out on different kinds of wood of different thicknesses. This is not brain surgerry, just "cuttin' wood".

Patrick Leach said that it is a nice way of cutting off narrow slices of wood which is safer than using a table saw. Given that he had a lot of negative things to say about the 45, the positive thing that he said really stands out. So that was my hint that there may be something there.

This is one of the fun things of woodworking -- discovering things.

Have fun.
Mel

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

9619's picture

(post #104681, reply #3 of 17)

Derek,
Excellent suggestion.
Thanks,
Mel

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

KiddervilleAcres's picture

(post #104681, reply #8 of 17)

Mel,


As regards the splitter/spur on your 45 - mine has only 3 spurs, presumably one rotates it to this position when no spur is desired.  I was told to sharpen it such that it has a natural tendency to aid in keeping the plane tight to the line.


As to woods suitable/unsuitable for the #45, well I haven't really been concerned with this other than to try and select straight grained woods and DON'T get agressive with your cuts.


Maybe Paddy will weigh in as he has lots of experience with the #45 and #55 methinks.


Not sure what you mean by modern?  Was it made in China?


Regards,



Bob @ Kidderville Acres


A Woodworkers mind should be the sharpest tool in the shop!


Edited 3/1/2009 7:28 am ET by KiddervilleAcres

Bob @ Kidderville Acres

A Woodworkers mind should be the sharpest tool in the shop!

gdblake's picture

(post #104681, reply #10 of 17)

Mel:


The slitting cutter has a rounded point to keep the cutter from digging in rather than slicing, it works similar to a marking gauge with a circle cutter rather than a pin or knife.  I don't believe the bevels should be rounded over, I honed the bevels on mine flat, which is how the cutter came from Record.


The width of the finished board is limited by the length of your fence arms (you can always buy some steel rod and make longer fence arms for your plane).  If slitting a narrow board you ride the fence on the edge closest to you and slit the edge furtherest away.  If slitting a wide board, just set the distance between the fence and the cutter to the width of finished board you want and have a go.


As with most planing you do with the #45, start you cut on the far end of the board and work your way back until you are taking a full length slice.  Once you have the initial scoring, you can continue to take full length passes as you advance the cutter.  Whether slitting a thick or thin board, it is best to alternately take passes on both faces of the board to avoid split out.  I have to warn you, due to the thickness of the slitting cutter, if you over advance the cutter and try to go too deep on a pass you risk splitting the board rather than cleanly slitting it.  Also have a solid flat base under the board you are slitting.


Many have questioned why anyone would use this cutter instead of just ripping the board or, if thin, using a straight edge and knife.  If the board is thin, ripping it with a handsaw can be a pain plus the #45 is easier to control and get a consistent width over using a knife and straight edge.  If your board is thick, ripping with a saw is the way to go.


Your second question, what is the #45 most useful for?  I use mine mostly as a plow plane and as a rabbit plane.  It does a decent job of fluting and beading if you keep your cutters sharp.  Cutting roundovers, ovolos, or other edge treatment is easier with a router, but if you are seeking a purely handtool method of work the plane can do these as well.  If you have to plane against the grain however, the results can be fuzzy and require sanding.   As I stated in reply to an earlier post of yours, custom mouldings can be done with multiple passes and a lot of patience, but it is difficult to get consistent results.  Like Larry, I personally believe if there are certain mouldings you want to cut on a regular basis, a dedicated moulding plane is the better way to go.  Otherwise, if you want to make a one time moulding for a piece by all means give it a try with this plane, it can be done.  Just take your time and cut twice as much moulding as your project requires so that you can use the cleanest, most consistent pieces on your project.  The plane works better on tight grained woods.  I found learning to use this plane to be a lot of fun, but then I enjoy messing around with my tools just to see what I can do with them.


I hope this helps.


gdblake

We're all here because we're not all there.

9619's picture

(post #104681, reply #11 of 17)

GD,
Great writeup on the use of the Stanley 45. Thank you very much. I have scoured the web and read everything I could find, which isn't much. What you said is consistent with what I have read, and goes beyone what I have read. I appreciate your thoughts on sharpening the slitter, and on using it. I will flatten the bevels and leave the rounded end instead letting it go to a point as I flatten the bevels.

I don't plan to produce a lot of moulding. I plan to make carved mouldings for projects and want to make my own sizes and profiles. I have a few shaped moulding planes, but I want to use Hollows and Rounds to be able to get the shapes and sizes I want. I have a wooden moving fillister for making the "stair steps", but needed a plough plane for plowing to depth, and for leaving tracks for the hollows and rounds. THose are the two roles I see for my Stanley 45. From what you and others have said, it can do the job just fine.

I have flattened the backs of all of the cutters and have begun to polish them. The hard work is done. Then I have to do the bevels. I haven't checked to see if I can use my Veritas Mark II honing jig. If I can use it, I will. IF not, then I might make a jig out of wood.

So a final question, How to you sharpen the bevels? Jig, by hand, ??
I have good slips for doing the insides of the beads. Do you use the original 30 degree bevel for the bevels?

Thank you very much.
Mel

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

gdblake's picture

(post #104681, reply #12 of 17)

Mel:


I think you will be happy with the #45 as a plow plane and for the uses you described. 


I sharpen mostly by hand.  I have the Mark II honing guide as well, but only use it to reestablish the bevel on a badly damaged plane iron or chisel.  The slitting cutter's bevels are so big they are pretty easy to hone by hand.  I have maintained the bevel angles my Record #405 cutters came with.  I can't say for sure what the bevel angle is, never checked. 


In my hurry to give you an answer to your original post (I had to get to a job site that was 476 miles away from home) I didn't give you as complete an answer on why these planes come with a slitting cutter as I should have.  Back in the early 1900s it was common to apply different moulding profiles around the perimeter of a drawer face or on the rails and stiles as inlays or bandings.  These mouldings were fairly thin strips of wood, sometimes of contrasting color and glued on.  I can't remember the proper name for this.  These mouldings can be made with the #45 by planing the  desired profile on the long grained edge of a board and then use the slitting cutter to slice the moulding from the board to create a thin band.  It is much easier to slit the banding or inlay piece to a consistent thickness than to try to rip them free with a saw.  I'm not sure, but I think the book "Planecraft" has a chapter which discusses this.  I hope my explanation makes sense.  This is one of those uses that is easier to illustrate than describe.


As you like to say, the point is to have fun!


gdblake


P.S.  when I spell checked this posting the spell checker suggested changing gdblake to read godlike.  My wife would have a laughing fit over that one.


 

We're all here because we're not all there.

9619's picture

(post #104681, reply #13 of 17)

Dear godlike,
Doncha just love spell checkers?

Like you I hone by hand most of the time. Most of my chisels and plane blades are thick and it is easy. But to establish a bevel, I use the Veritas II. Go ahead, call me a wimp.

Thank you for the description of why the slitter was included in the cutter set "back in the day". Very interesting. I will look it up in Planecraft. Very good book, and cheap too.

Given the number of 45s that are in circulation, and the amount of them on EBay and elsewhere, I was sure that the web would be full of stories and "how to"s etc. I guess that most folks get these as collectors. Nothing wrong with that, just not my style

I have been changing a lot over the past two years. I always uses to reach for a sander. Now I reach for a plane. I used to live at the table saw and router. Now I go to them when I have to. I used to stain everything. I haven't stained anything in a few years. I am not in love with handtools so much as I really enjoy not living in a loud cloud of dust. As you can imagine, I take a lot of razzing down at Woodcraft, where everyone is a power tool nut.

If you think of anything else on the 45, please let me know. After I get some tasks finished, and get the 45s blades finished, I'll post my findings and some photos. Really, my interest is not the 45, but what it can do for me in helping me make moldings suitable for carving in the old styles.

THank you,
Mel

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Oilstone's picture

(post #104681, reply #14 of 17)

The book Plane Basics by Sam Allen has the most practical treatment of using the 45 and the 55 I've ever seen.

9619's picture

(post #104681, reply #15 of 17)

Oilstone,


That is the best suggestion that I have gotten.  I will buy the book.  Thank you very much.


Mel


Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

9619's picture

(post #104681, reply #16 of 17)

Oilstone,


I forgot to ask.  Are you finished with the Sam Allen book?  If so, and you want to sell it, please let me know.


Thanks,


Mel


Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Gorak's picture

(post #104681, reply #17 of 17)

I bought Sam Allen's Plane Basics book at thriftbooks.com for a whopping $1.03 (plus shipping). It is a retired library book. Fantastic book (for a handplane beginner such as myself) with excellent coverage of combination planes.

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.