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Short Scrub vs. longer Jack/Fore?

by 12strings
posted 618 days ago


32 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1576 days


#1 posted 618 days ago

12strings, for pronounced cupping or warping, unless it is a narrow board, I use a jointer plane. In fact, I have an 8” board on the bench that is cupped pretty badly and I am going to use the jointer on it. You want to span the high spots and take them down as evenly as possible to keep as much wood on the board as possibe.

I use a scrub plane to remove a lot of stock quickly, but I don’t use it for flattening. A scrub plane has a big camber on it. I actually use two #5s; one with a straight honed blade and one with a slight camber. Those cover everything I need so far.

Good Luck!

-- Mike

View JohnChung's profile

JohnChung

241 posts in 699 days


#2 posted 618 days ago

I dwelled a long time on the Scrub plane before buying it. After using it and comparing it to my jack plane, Scrub plane just remove stock way faster than a Jack plane.

Here are some advantages of the Scrub:

1) Remove stock very fast.
2) Able to dimension wood quickly.
3) Create scallop on the grain…. Artistic expression…

Lie Nielsen has a video on Scrub plane. Well worth the time viewing it.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6810 posts in 1308 days


#3 posted 618 days ago

I have both a small scrub plane (ala Stumpy Nubs) and a couple jack planes. I used the #33 scrub on a beech 2×6 awhile back because it was a roughly reived ( split in two) plank. Scrub took down all the roughness in a short time. I then came in with a #5 wioth a smaller camber, at the diagonals. Finished up with #6 with the grain to get rid of the high spots. came back with a #4 to smooth the plank.

So, it depends on the wood you are about to surface. The #33 is about $10 or less, plus time to regrind into a cambered scrub plane. It is about a #3 size. The #5s i have (3 of them) have a varied degree of camber to them. The Parplus #5 has a Lot, the handyman #5 has some, and a Bailey #5 just has the corners knocked back, making it the “smoother” of the three.

Chris Schwarz doesn’t like scrub planes, he prefers to just get by with a jack plane. I like the scrub, because it is both lighter than a jack, and a lot quicker to get things done with. YMMV

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1622 days


#4 posted 618 days ago

It is like saying do I not use 80 grit sandpaper because I have 220 grit. They do different things. The scrub hogs off material. That is it. You better watch your lines or you are going past them. It is just a bit more controlled than an adze or broadaxe.

Once you have removed the bulk of the material you want gone, then you use the jack to smooth it up and something else to finish it like a smoother, jointer or just a scraper.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View 12strings's profile

12strings

392 posts in 1009 days


#5 posted 618 days ago

Several have said the scrub works faster. Is this because it is shorter and has a narrower iron? (I see that the veritas scrub has a very narrow iron) I’m going on the assumption that you can grind the same camber on either a scrub or a jack plane. Wouldn’t the Jack with a wider iron remove material faster?

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6810 posts in 1308 days


#6 posted 618 days ago

A scrub goes across the grain, hogging BIG bites, the jack can follow after on the diagonal to the grain, leveling off all the high spots left by the scrub. Then just back off the iron on the jack, and go with the grain. Now ready for the smoother of your choice.

My little #33 scrub in action on Beech…

and after a jack was done.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1576 days


#7 posted 618 days ago

12strings, the narrow width of the scrub plane (combined with a large mouth opening) makes it easier to cut deep into the stock to remove a lot of wood quickly. While the #5 does have a wider blade, that width (combined with a narrow mouth opening) will make the plane harder to push with a deep cut. The narrow mouth is also restrictive and will ultimately define how thick a shaving you can make. The mouth on a #5 can be opened up, but the wide blade will wear you out quicker.

I like to think that centuries of plane design and use came up with the ideal solutions and assignments for work. In my experiences, they got it right with scrub and jack planes. Of course others may have a differing opinion, but that has been MY experience.

-- Mike

View JohnChung's profile

JohnChung

241 posts in 699 days


#8 posted 618 days ago

Derek Cohen has covered the possibility of using a chamber on a Jack blade. Head over to his web-site for further details. From my view being narrow is not an issue but the chamber of the blade is more important. The mouth on the Scrub plane is very wide. A narrow blade requires a smaller plane compared to a wider blade which affects the weight of the plane itself.

It is possible to get a jack to work as a scrub plane AFTER tuning the blade with the right chamber on it. But the weight of the Jack is ALWAYS going to be an issue. That being said, I tend to skew the Jack blade if I need to remove a few mm from the stock itself. But when it comes to an inch then scrub plane is the way to go.

View waho6o9's profile (online now)

waho6o9

4821 posts in 1201 days


#9 posted 618 days ago

Good call JohnChung on visiting Derek Cohen’s website,
there’s a lot of insight there:

http://www.inthewoodshop.com/

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1622 days


#10 posted 618 days ago

The wide mouth of a scrub lets big chips go through. They usually have a single iron to keep stuff like a chipbreaker out of the way of the chips. The narrow blade makes it easier to push. Theoretically, you could have a wide blade on a scrub but it would be a lot harder to push. Scrub planes are what you go for when you don’t already have a good surface to start from and you are not worried about the finish. Think riven stock where you might have to take off 1/4 in or more. They can also be an alternative to using a rip saw to dimension lumber to width. A modified plane like the one Bandit shows does a great job on pre-dimensioned stock. To take out cupping or warping, this is an excellent solution. It is still not as aggressive as a scrub but removes material quite quickly and isn’t as hard to clean up afterwards. A scrub plane can leave a texture much like a chainsaw carving. The main time I use my scrub is to level a panel glue-up where the pieces may have shifted during clamping or stock was of differing thicknesses.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1346 posts in 808 days


#11 posted 618 days ago

You could split the difference, and (like me) convert a jack plane into a scrub. The world is littered with crappy #5 planes just waiting to be converted.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

539 posts in 1906 days


#12 posted 618 days ago

”You could split the difference, and (like me) convert a jack plane into a scrub. The world is littered with crappy #5 planes just waiting to be converted”

You have just converted your jack plane to a- – - – - – - – - ta-da, a jack plane. Congratu-freaking-lations. Now I think I’ll go tend to my bruised forehead after slamming it repeatedly into my desk top.

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1346 posts in 808 days


#13 posted 618 days ago

Uh, no. A jack plane doesn’t have a fully cambered plane iron like a scrub. And go easy on your head, drama. You only get one.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

539 posts in 1906 days


#14 posted 618 days ago

Maybe yours doesn’t but mine do and traditionally they did. Jack planes are roughing planes. Some early literature uses the term “jack plane” interchangeably with “fore plane” and some early catalogs list both jack planes and fore planes. At any rate, both were intended as roughing planes. In traditional Anglo/American woodworking there were no scrub planes. Continental style scrub planes don’t appear in British or American catalogs until the mid 19th Century and they were called “Bismark Planes” when they show up. Stanley’s early catalog description of their first scrub planes says their use was to remove material from the edges of boards when the amount needed to be removed was less than could be easily removed by sawing.

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4138 posts in 1576 days


#15 posted 618 days ago

You have just converted your jack plane to a- – – – – – – – – ta-da, a jack plane. Congratu-freaking-lations.

Wow. Easy, buddy.

I would like to note that metal-bodied jack planes are definitely not built as scrub planes in the last century or so. The mouth opening isn’t nearly as big, even though most jacks are supposed to be able to remove stock quickly. To make a jack plane perform like a scrub plane, usually takes some adjustments.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

539 posts in 1906 days


#16 posted 618 days ago

Now to answer the original post, when preparing stock a scrub plane can often cause problems. Hand “thicknessing” traditionally rendered 7/8” thick stock from 4/4 material. Stock preparation was called “thicknessing” because the goal is to produce true stock to a uniform thickness and that’s the difficult part.

You don’t want to remove too much material from the first or reference face because you won’t have enough thickness left to get the desired end thickness. Stanley or Continental style scrub planes are too aggressive. You’ll actually remove as much stock with a jack or fore plane but the depth of cut isn’t as dramatic. With a jack or fore plane you’re removing material over a wider area and this gives you a more controlled flatting of the face. Control is important here if you want to end up with your material of uniform thickness. Of coarse you could always just start with thicker stock but that costs money and means you have to do a lot more work.

I used to try to justify using a scrub plane by saying it was good for localized problems but my business partner always insisted he wouldn’t want to put material in a project that moved so dramatically that a scrub was required. He’s right, this kind of distortion during drying always means residual stress remains after thicknessing and the material is likely to move again.

View Don W's profile

Don W

14824 posts in 1192 days


#17 posted 618 days ago

Note that of these planes, the scrub is the only one shipped with a pre ground camber. A jack (#5) can be sharpened with different degrees of camber. The more aggressive the camber the more aggressive the cut.

I’ve got a #40 scrub, and its fun to use, but I doubt you’d need it for what your trying to do.

I’d grab a jack with a medium camber and give it a try. Its one time I would even agree with having multiple blades for a single plane.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View 12strings's profile

12strings

392 posts in 1009 days


#18 posted 617 days ago

“for what I’m trying to do.”

What I’m actually doing currently is using some 3/4”(actually slightly less) x 3.5” furring strips, taking the thickness down to 1/2 to use for building a Dice Tower (xmas gift for a gamer).

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Don W's profile

Don W

14824 posts in 1192 days


#19 posted 617 days ago

The other point, if you start with a scrub, you move to a jack, then on to a smoother or jointer.

Or, start with a jack, then on to a smoother or jointer.

So you need the jack either way, so start with that.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1733 days


#20 posted 617 days ago

I purchased a scrub plane awhile back on ebay. The blade was in horrible shape and I modifed the camber to be lighter. The reason? I wanted an aggressive small plane but not one that took too deep a cut because I flatten and am not going for loss of thickness. I do that on my planer. I can go across the grain with it and then work with my Jack. There is no crime in modifying a blade to better suit a purpose. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, it does make sense to the person modifying it.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1622 days


#21 posted 617 days ago

The biggest problem is that when they marketed metallic planes, they didn’t really make planes that followed traditional plane forms. Strictly speaking, there is no equivalent for a fore plane or jack plane in the modern bench planes, only planes of similar size. This is mainly due to the availability of dimensional stock. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, all the bench planes have been basically finishing planes. Other than size, there is no real difference from #1 all the way to #8 with the Bailey pattern of modern planes. Wooden planes on the other hand had different shapes, angles, mouth arrangements and ways of holding them. They came in single and double irons. They had all manner of auxiliary nickers and some had multiple irons as well. They were also quite different depending on their country of origin.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

539 posts in 1906 days


#22 posted 617 days ago

David,
The Industrial Revolution began by the end of the 18th Century. My house was built in 1906 and is framed with rough sawn lumber as was the practice pretty much until World War II. I think you’ve got your history a little confused. Here are some pages from a 1951 edition of Audel’s Carpenters and Builders Guide:

People want to make this stuff all ancient history. It’s not! The first power miter saw, the Rockwell 9” power miter saw, was introduced in 1966. It was just three years before the first Moon landing. Before that the standard miter saw was the Langdon miter saw.

I still saw these in use on job sites when I was working as a carpenter as late as the early 1980’s. Lumber yards and hardware stores often sharpened hand saws on site in my earlier days as a carpenter.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9759 posts in 1243 days


#23 posted 617 days ago

I use my scrub along edges of boards often enough vs. ripping. Moves lots of material for sure, tough to balance sometimes though. The metallic (Stanley) #5 has an open mouth and is cambered. Draw the iron in and take less.

I’d suggest a jack, properly set for the job, offers versatility your looking for without too much work (and rework)!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3860 posts in 1004 days


#24 posted 617 days ago

What I’m actually doing currently is using some 3/4” … taking the thickness down to 1/2 …

Really it doesn’t matter whether you use a scrub or jack, but that you hog off material by cutting across the grain, then finish with jack and smoother. If you have a scrub then start with it, seems silly to have the right tool and use something else.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1622 days


#25 posted 617 days ago

Larry,

The point about the Industrial Revolution was that the availability of dimensional lumber decreased the use of tools for working rough lumber (as in converting trees to dimensioned stock). Adzes, froes, broad axes, and such began to fade away except in remote areas and some specialized trades. Yes, the Industrial Revolution started many years before but was limited to major stationary locations. Until small scale motors and electricity came along, the only impact it had at all was that it made manufactured goods cheaper. People could go to the hardware store and buy a tool rather than going to a blacksmith to have one made.

Yes, people knew in the 1950’s and even today that roughing planes used different camber irons. Unfortunately, Leonard Bailey et al. decided that they would market planes that used the same mechanism and double iron regardless of the usage. Having a double iron on a roughing plane is just silly and gets in the way as does the lever cap. Sadly, few people that use planes now have ever used a traditional wooden jack plane such as you make and think that they are “the same as the metal ones but old fashioned and inferior.”

Probably the only modern planes that are a real improvement over traditional planes are the block planes.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3860 posts in 1004 days


#26 posted 617 days ago

IIRC, scrub planes were an English invention but everywhere else they used jack planes with a camber on the blade for the same purpose.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

539 posts in 1906 days


#27 posted 617 days ago

Rick,
The scrub plane is Continental, Dutch or German not sure which. I haven’t seen anything published as to their use.

12strings,
Flatten one face of your stock then make the second face parallel to it. From there try to remove equal amounts from each side while keeping an eye on potential movement. I suggest you get close then finish up in a couple days. If you take all the material from one side, you’ll likely end up with warped or cupped stock. I’m not sure of the length and width of stock you’re working with but the bigger it is the more care you need to take to control movement. If it does move some, you might want to give it time to equalize before continuing. I’ve even had material return to its intended flatness after moving a little.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3860 posts in 1004 days


#28 posted 616 days ago

Yeah, I was confusing scrub and fore plane though basically they do the same thing.

Edit: Found a blurb that according to C.Schwarz the scrub is the Americanized version of a fore plane

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

539 posts in 1906 days


#29 posted 616 days ago

Well Rick, sometimes Chris gets stuff wrong. So now I have two things to talk to him about in my “WTF Chris?” phone call tomorrow.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3860 posts in 1004 days


#30 posted 616 days ago

After posting that I found another of his articles where he compares it to a ‘German Bismarck plane’.

Whatever the origin, if I had one I’d use it. I’ve flattened a benchtop, a mahogany dining table and several SYP tables and benches with a cheap Stanley smoother converted for the purpose and it worked amazingly well. That said, I’m keeping an eye out for a No5 because I believe the extra length would be better on larger tabletops.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6810 posts in 1308 days


#31 posted 616 days ago

Sometimes, even a #5 seems small….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1576 days


#32 posted 616 days ago

12strings, as I mentioned, I have (had) a cupped board that I needed to get flat for a project. This is how I got it done:

Here is the board on my bench. I made a couple of passes with a jointer plane to show how it is cupped. The concave side is up. I do this side first because the jointer will ride the high spots on the side until the surface is on the same plane all the way across. You will notice the board is held by the end vise with wedges placed under the board to prevent rocking while I plane it.

You can see that the jointer did the job in removing the high sides and leveling it out. I wanted to go down just a little bit more after the jointer. With the side flat, I could use the jack plane to bring it down to where I wanted. Last thing to do was check with winding sticks to ensure there was no twist in the board.

After that, I got the edges somewhat cleaned up so I could use a marking gauge to mark the thickness I wanted along the entire perimeter of the board. This mark acts as a reference point for when removing the convex part of the other side and down to the final thickness.

I started on the convex side by removing the high middle with a scrub plane. By doing this, the two sides of the board would register the jointer to get this face flat before final thicknessing. Jack planes can do some good hogging out, but they cannot beat an effortless, full 1/8” shaving of a scrub plane. This took a total of about ten strokes.

I then used the jointer plane same way as the other side. I got it relatively flat so I could start thicknessing.

I used the scrub plane again to get the thickness almost to where it needed to be and cleaned it up with the jointer.

Last thing to check was twist. My winding sticks are extruded aluminum angle stock.

So I used three planes to get a pretty badly cupped board straight and flat. Now I am ready to cut it up and put into a project. Hopefully seeing pictures with descriptions helps you with your work.

Good Luck!

-- Mike

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