Reply by Ripthorn

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Posted on Hand Planes - Why?

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1458 posts in 2978 days

#1 posted 03-08-2013 02:51 AM

As someone who until recently was in your shoes, here are the things that I have noticed that hand planes do that your power tools won’t or aren’t as good at:

- Sneaking up on a measurement. Trying to fine tune something on a miter saw is not all that easy, but taking off a couple thousandths at a time lets you get a perfect fit.
- Quick chamfers. A block plane will let you chamfer something quicker than setting up a router.
- The finish of a smoothing plane. I like to sand projects up to an obscenely high grit, but no matter how high you go, you can’t match the glossy shine of a nicely planed surface.
- Knocking down high spots to save stock. I just took of a weird high spot on the edge of a board that was going to go through the jointer. Knocking off the high spot save probably 1/4-1/2” on the finished width of the board
- Getting rid of twist. This is similar to above, but twist is a killer. You can get it out with a jointer, but you will waste a lot more stock.
- Working small pieces. You can’t do anything shorter than about 6” in a jointer or planer
- Keep in mind that jointers and planers are not finish tools. They still require something after them. It can be various grits of sand paper, but a plane will not only leave a better finish, but will leave the surface flatter as well
- Working with really large pieces. Try running a 15” board through your 13” planer. Nuff said.
- Flushing up mating pieces and removing burn marks. A block plane will trim up things like plugs in a piece really easily.

Those are just the ones off the top of my head. They are totally worth it. Start with a block plane and see how much you use it.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

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