Hand Tools #5: Playing with my new planes

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Blog entry by MikeGCNY posted 04-18-2011 04:49 AM 3724 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Cleaning up my old planes (with Pics) Part 5 of Hand Tools series no next part

I spent a good portion of the day hand cutting mortises in the face frames for my daughter’s cabinets. I only had a chisel that I purchased at the HD and it was a disaster. Noting came out right.

So to make myself happy and to get something accomplished today I reassembled my hand planes and tried them out by flattening a 5/4 piece of poplar. It was my first time doing this, and despite the fact that I did not sharpen the planes, the results were pretty good.


Here are the Planes
5 were cleaned up this weekend. Take a look at my previous posts to see how they looked before I cleaned them. The #7 came out really nice (in the middle). It is around 85 years old and was in pretty rough shape.


Here is the Board I Flattened
Again, for my first time I don’t think that I did that bad. After reading Christopher Schwarz’s workbench book I now understand the value of a good workbench. The workmate is just way too low and way to light to easily use.


Not Bad?
For my first time using hand planes I am getting some nice shavings, or at least I think that I am.

5 comments so far

View rkoorman's profile


381 posts in 2849 days

#1 posted 04-18-2011 07:09 AM

Maybe you can put some bags filled with sand on the bottom of your workmate, this will make it heavier and better to use for planing.

A “real”workbench is even nicer but money and time does not grow on trees.

Have fun!!


View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3812 days

#2 posted 04-18-2011 07:01 PM

Good save. It warms my heart to see good “senior” planes go back in service. Nice curls.
I did the same not so long ago:

View Dwain's profile


534 posts in 3884 days

#3 posted 04-19-2011 12:39 AM

That curl is nice, if it is consistent thickness, you are really doing well. Those planes came out nicely as well. Now take that #3, and adjust it to get a really fine shaving. Then you will see the handplanes used more and more, and the ROS less and less. That is my goal. I am hoping to get good enough on small project to ignore the sander entirely. Do you have a low angle block plane? IF not, you should consider it. You can find one for 30 to 60 dollars. They are the backbone of a lot of shops. Heck, I have three of four…

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2679 days

#4 posted 04-19-2011 04:35 AM

Not bad for a first go. To get a better idea of what they can do flatten a board using either the big boy or a power jointer. Then try sneaking up to a cut using any one of the planes, done right it will tell you what the finest shaving you can get with each plane (and that will tell you a ton about the condition of the sole).

When you get a really fine tool, they can take a shaving so thin it loses it’s “woodieness”. of course it’s nice to have planes that can do both grunt work and finish work.

I have a special hatred for hardware store chisels. Before I start ranting and raving about their many faults, what with wrong with your mortises?

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2865 days

#5 posted 04-20-2011 01:42 PM

Remember coarse, medium and fine. Nice big chunks, 5 or 6 mil then a mil or better to finish. let the coarse and medium do the work then tune it up with the fine. Look at a set of winding sticks the longer the better.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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