Q: I have several old cast-iron planes. I flattened their soles when I first got them, but wonder if they will ever need to be reflattened? If so, how often? Elijah Evans, Columbia, SC A: The only way you know a sole needs to be reflattened is to check it with a straightedge. Lay a steel ruler across the sole heel to toe, then side to side, and check for gaps. Rough sole for rough work. A No. 5 jack plane like this doesn’t need to be dead-flat, but it should be flat at least in front of the mouth. How flat the sole needs to be depends on the accuracy you expect from the plane. And where the sole is flat depends on what the plane is used for. Click to enlarge. I touch up my planes every year or two, but I use them every day. If yours are used less often—say, just a few times each month—a decade might go by before they need to be reflattened. From Fine Woodworking #201 Drawing by Kelly Dunton.
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In this video, Matt takes some of the lessons learned in episodes 3 & 4 and builds on them to demonstrate the North Bennet Street method for the half-blind, or half-lapped, dovetails on the toolbox drawers.