The "What am I doing?" Holtzapffel Workbench #6: Serious Question-When to switch planes?

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Blog entry by DragonLady posted 03-16-2010 03:55 AM 1699 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Call 911-Fat lady down! Part 6 of The "What am I doing?" Holtzapffel Workbench series Part 7: Dealing with tear out »

I’ve made MUCH more progress on this top than I thought I would. Especially in one night.

My question is this: When do I switch from the scrub plane to the #5? I only have a scrub, a #5 and a #4 smoother. My plan was scrub, jack with aggressive cut, jack with lighter cut, then finish with #4. I know I SHOULD be using a jointer, but I don’t have one, so it’s not an option.

My straightedge is just about riding on the tops of the grooves left by the scrub plane all the way across the board now.
Hard to see in the pic, but I thought I would try:
flatten 008

I went from having a definite hollow in the middle (as a result of not being able to reach fully across) to having pretty even grooves all the way across.

Not bad for a short, out of shape lady! I’m pretty proud of myself. This is my first real woodworking project.

-- A woman's work is never done-but power tools help!

3 comments so far

View Dave Pearce's profile

Dave Pearce

108 posts in 3814 days

#1 posted 03-16-2010 06:47 AM

Based on the picture there, I’d say switch to the jack when the surface looks like that! Go cross-wise across the grain with the jack at a light cut to minimize tear out. Once you’ve traversed the surface cross-grain with the jack, and you’ve knocked down those high spots, run it with the grain until you’re getting nearly full length savings. Once that’s done follow with the smoother (or not, I didn’t), with the grain at a light cut.

Don’t forget to use some parafin wax on those plane soles, frequently and often. It’ll make the passes much easier, believe it.


ps: sharpen your blades often.


View parkerdude's profile


182 posts in 3593 days

#2 posted 04-10-2010 10:34 PM

Yeah what Dave said.

I don’t have a scrub plane but I do have another blade sharpened with a gentle radius. I just switch blades, re-adjust the mouth opening larger, and scrub away!

As a matter of fact, I don’t plane the length of a surface until it’s flat and fairly close to even thickness. Most of the passes are at 45° or 90° to the grain.

I rub paraffin right on the wood if I plan on taking off a considerable amount of material.

Then I either switch blades again and re-adjust the mouth or switch to my #4.

By the way, I sharpen with wet / dry sandpaper and usually touch up the smoother blade. It only takes 5 – 10 minutes.

Good luck, the build looks good!


-- dust control

View bigike's profile


4054 posts in 3430 days

#3 posted 04-11-2010 12:39 AM

I would have to agee with what was said being a handplane user myself.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

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