View Full Version : How do these work???????

Alistair Hosie
08-21-2007, 04:09 PM
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/STARRETT-PLANER-AND-SHAPER-GAGE-246_W0QQitemZ130145073081QQihZ003QQcategoryZ58246Q QrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD2VQQcmdZViewItem

I have one of these and would like to know how it works.Alistair

08-21-2007, 04:18 PM
Let me get this straight. You have one of these tools but have no idea on how to use it? Hmmmm! Alistair, we must be related because that sounds exactly like something I would do. :D

08-21-2007, 04:42 PM
Doesnt everyone buy the tool first, then invent a use for it? JIM

08-21-2007, 04:48 PM
Set the desired workpiece thickness with a height gage and surface plate. Set the gage to same height by sliding the angled surfaces.
Place the gage on the shaper table until the tool touches the gage.

08-21-2007, 05:00 PM
Let me get this straight. You have one of these tools but have no idea on how to use it? Hmmmm! Alistair, we must be related because that sounds exactly like something I would do. :D
That would apply to most of my tools, even the ones I DO use. I may use them, but I constantly find that I do not really know HOW to use them, at least not correctly... <sigh> ;)

As for use, I have a matched pair of Starretts. As suggested, set them on the surface plate and set height with appropriate tool on hand. Height gage, gage blocks (direct or indirect), surface gage, depth mic, caliper, whatever. Then transfer to work surface. I've used them on the mill and on the lathe for setting tool heights when other mechanisms were not convenient. You can also set them in a sufficiently large gap and use them to measure similar to adjustable parallels without as much risk of cosine error (assuming flat/parallel surfaces). Once set, measure the result on surface plate.

Alistair Hosie
08-21-2007, 05:27 PM
Let me get this straight. You have one of these tools but have no idea on how to use it? Hmmmm! Alistair, we must be related because that sounds exactly like something I would do.
Hi yes sounds stupid but I got it as a present from an old pal who posted it too me .I am too embarrassed to tell him I don't know how to use it.:DAlistair

Alistair Hosie
08-21-2007, 05:30 PM
How would you use it specifically for planer blades?As I am afraid to remove mine in case I cant get them back to gether at the correct heigh In other words what height would you know was sufficient for setting. or do you measure the height before removing the old blades????Alistair

08-21-2007, 06:03 PM

Don't feel bad, I've got 2 of them, got them in tool sets bought at auctions, been using them to hold plans and paperwork on the work bench, so the wind won't blow them all over.


08-21-2007, 06:17 PM
Alistair, The planer that this guage was designed for is a metal planer. The planer is sort of like a metal shaper but the workpiece moves under the tool instead. JIM

08-21-2007, 06:18 PM
Yes, in this context, it's old style metal planer. Kinda like a shaper, but the bed moves to provide the longitudinal travel instead of the cutter head on a ram.

08-21-2007, 06:18 PM
I think they were really designed for use with a bed type metal planer, Allistair. With that in mind, their primary use is largely long gone. However as some others have posted, you can come up with lots of auxillary uses for it. I use mine for setting all my lathe tool heights on center. Mine is a Lufkin and came with a little cap that holds a smallish horizontal blade. You get one tool on center, set it so the blade just touches the top of the cutter and lock it. You then use it to set the balance of the lathe tools in the QC holders to match.

I also used it recently to insure that the mounting bracket for my lathe DRO scale was the same distance from the bottom of the bed ways....much easier than measuring. Think of it as a variable size gage block with a level built in :-) Sort of an oversize adjustable parallel as already mentioned.

I hope to get to use it with my shaper some day for setting tool height....if I ever get around to the work it needs.

Good luck!

08-21-2007, 06:52 PM
Am I correct in assuming you could use it to align the work piece with the cutter on a shaper?.For instance,if you needed to cut a shoulder on a straight piece?
I don't have a shaper(:(),I'm just a nosy beggar:D

oil mac
08-21-2007, 07:52 PM
Re _ Planer guage, I think that i must be one of the last persons still using one of these tools in this neck of the woods Alistair, and for good measure still using it for transfering sizes, from the vernier height guage, to the tool on my Tom Senior hand planer, and also on the shaping & milling machine, What i do, is to set the planer guage, on surface table to the height required to top of workpiece, from machine table. Next stage, bring the tool down, and nip a shim between the tool and the guage, _ say .010" thick. then take roughing cut, Then a smaller shim, say .oo2 thick _ another cut, then final cut, after gently setting tool to surface of guage, using cigarette paper, the final scrape, finish like glass, On using these old hand planers, it is hard work,no wonder the old boys were worn out early on in life.:D

john hobdeclipe
08-21-2007, 08:08 PM
Yeah, it's for a metal working planer, not a woodworking planer.

Alistair Hosie
08-21-2007, 08:14 PM
well in any case I have a shaper could use it on that instead.Alistair

08-22-2007, 06:41 AM
It is used to set the tool height, you can use it on a planer, shaper or mill.

kap pullen
08-22-2007, 08:56 AM
Here Is a metal cutting planer for referance.
Pictures stolen from the internet.

This is a small one (the picture title says so).

We had one like this, and two a bit bigger ones where I served my time.
Once the job was setup, you had an hour, or more of cut time.

These are used for finishing machine bases, printing press side frames, gearbox faces, racks, keyways, and a variety of other items.

You set the gauge at the height of the cut you want, move the tool below the gauge, and raise the tool back up so the gauge just slips under the tool.

This keeps the backlash in the correct direction, and won't move or crush the gauge. Can be used on mills, and other duties where needed.


Planer in action, Picture may have been stolen here?



Alistair Hosie
08-22-2007, 12:05 PM
gosh that machine works for it's money Alistair

08-22-2007, 01:21 PM
Think of it as an adjustable gage block. We used to use them to set the head height on can seamers (puts the end on a tin can), and lots of other manufacturing equipment setup. Very useful for meausuring inside distances or heights that you may not have a caliper or ID mic long enough.

08-23-2007, 12:17 AM
I used to set a pair of cutters on a holizontal mill with spacers then check the
cutter width with planer gage before making the first cut.

08-23-2007, 01:06 AM
The 1955 Starrett catalog #27 has this information on the 246. This doesn't add much to anything said already. The catalog photo is rather poor, but shows the gage being used to set a shaper tool.



Alistair Hosie
08-23-2007, 07:43 AM
So thats how it works thanks Allan. I didn't realise the handle was used to measure |I thought the little end piece did the measuring thanks again. Alistair

Your Old Dog
08-23-2007, 09:31 AM
On using these old hand planers, it is hard work,no wonder the old boys were worn out early on in life.:D

Mac, any chance you got a picture of your hand planer? I'd really like to see it. Knew a guy 25 years ago who had a hand operated planer and I wish I'd have paid more attention to it.

08-23-2007, 02:12 PM
It is used to set the tool height, you can use it on a planer, shaper or mill.

I sometimes use a shaper gage to transfer heights from the setup table to to the workpiece.

Russ: you said you have a matched pair? How do you use a pair of shaper gages? Or why do they need to
be matched since you have to set them independently?

It's not like a vee-block, where they're non-adjustable, so they have to be match-ground to prevent a taper...

08-23-2007, 02:41 PM
Sorry, I should have said "I have a pair of the same model". Using "matched" was a bad choice of words on my parth that imply something that was not my intent.

And I have a pair because there were 2 of them for $50 at the surplus. I had my eye on them for a while, but couldn't justify the cost, and they were setting there for some months. So when I bought my big Lista, and we were pretty close to agreement on price, but he wouldn't budge another nickle, I said "Fine, if you throw those in too.", and that closed the gap. The rest, as they say, is history. :D

That said, I do like having 2 and it has come in handy just as a convenience, but certainly not something one should go out of their way to achieve as having some value. One pretty much stays set for adjusting lathe tooling, though honestly I rarely need to use it as other techniques are more convenient. Sill, it's ready when I need it. The other gets grabbed for random uses. Obviously I could make one of the little rigs for setting center height as posted on here, but when I realized I could just use one of these that was otherwise just setting in the box, and furthermore that this was pretty much it's intended purpose, I decided to use that and remove one more project from my endless list. :D

oil mac
08-24-2007, 11:56 AM
Hi Old Dog,
Will try & see if i can organise photo of my hand operated planer, Havent as yet sussed out "modus - operandi" on such highly technical computer tasks, will try and see if my son, or son in law can help me, the little hand planer is in "mint"condition, must have been owned by a really particular owner, Wish i had been at the sale it came from, there was the planer, plus line shaft driven lathe, shaper,milling machine and drilling machine all sister machines by the same builder _Tom Senior of Liversedge in Yorkshire, England. an old friend of mine purchased the shaper only.

Paul Alciatore
08-25-2007, 04:06 AM
I also have two of them, one Starrett and one import. Starrett still sells accessories for them. I got a DI holder and a scriber. They can be set up as a quick dimension gauge on a surface plate with the DI. Sometimes when I have some layout work with a lot of one dimension to scribe, I set one up with the scriber to that dimension and it saves a lot of resetting of my regular height gauge. My Starrett has a fine adjustment screw on the slide to make setting exact distances easier.

My import model is set to the center height of my SB. It has a piece of ground flat stock mounted on the top that hangs over the edge. It is a height gauge for setting the tools on the lathe. I just sit it on the cross slide and bring the tool tip up to the bottom of that added strip.

They are kind of like 1-2-3 blocks, their uses are only limited by your imagination and the accessories you have/make.

One caution. Starrett used a non standard thread for the accessory mounting holes. An inbetween size. I called them and asked about it and they confirmed that it was totally non standard. ###**%##@!!! The import model has standard threads so it was easy to mount my own accessories.

08-25-2007, 04:34 AM
Hmmm, I'll have to check into those accessories. But I'm probably too cheap to spring for them. Then again, should be easy enough to make. On the other hand, I've got 4 (or 5?) old surface gage bases (Lufkin, B&Sx2, and non name) that could be used similarly. Now they are setup with a short stuby on one B&S with another B&S with a spindly standard surface scriber rig, so setting up a Planar like that probably isn't worth the effort.

And it's the crap like the thread that really gets me put-out with Starrett and other companies. No excuse for that at all. "Lock in" like that, rather than using on quality, value, and customer service/loyalty is nothing but sheer greed. :( Sounds like time for some single point work. Do you happen to know what the thread is? Is it just non-standard for that size, or something really wierd like 33.2 TPI?

Just yesterday(?) I saw a nice shop made adapter for a dial height gage that mounted a pin DTI or 3/8 shaft DI; and a similar attachment for a surface gage mounting a DTI (which I've seen before).