LumberJocks

Random Musings #1: The case for learning technique, using basswood

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by rhett posted 07-17-2013 09:17 PM 774 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Random Musings series Part 2: In response to: »

I was at the lumberyard yesterday and picked up a chunk of basswood. It is for a homeschooler who is wanting to “whittle”. I’ve got limited expereince with the wood, so on a whim, I decided to take a few passes with a hand plane to see how it acted. It is no secret that this is the softest hardwood of the bunch, so it took very little effort to push a plane across the surface.

This got me thinking. Why doesn’t anyone use this wood to teach basic hand plane techinique? Its very forgiving, works easily and is usually free of defects. Not to mention it comes in large chunks and is not very expensive.

All hand tool work is based on muscle memory. The only way to build muscle memory is through repetition. Trying to plane hard wood and difficult grain is often disheartening for beginning hand toolers. Why set yourself up to fail? Machine shops don’t teach people on chunks on metal, they use wax.

I suggest that anyone starting out hand planning, especially the plane swappers getting their feet wet in wooden planes, buy a chunk of the stuff just for practicing technique and plane set-up. You will be able to work on getting consistently thick shavings, full stroke shavings, squaring a face to a face and flattening a board, all with minimal resistance. Its like training wheels for a hand plane. You probably don’t even need to be that good at sharpening to pull a shaving.

Be Good
Rhett

-- It's only wood.



5 comments so far

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

394 posts in 1650 days


#1 posted 07-18-2013 12:15 AM

Thank’s Rhett. That’s an interesting thought. I’ll have to give it a try.

Greg

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

286 posts in 605 days


#2 posted 07-18-2013 12:28 AM

same here.. Its a wonderful and cheap idea for me to break in my dads old planes and learn the art. Next time Im down at the hardwood shop, Ill have to remember to pick up a few boards.

Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View Don W's profile

Don W

15020 posts in 1220 days


#3 posted 07-18-2013 12:49 AM

its not a bad idea Rhett, but I learn a different way. Make sure you’re halfway through a project, have a really expensive piece of wood (and the last one you have) and test out your new technique. You’ll find your senses are at a heighten awareness and your attention to detail is at an acute awareness.

Its along the same theory as a normal man lifting a car off a baby to save its life.

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

View ksSlim's profile

ksSlim

984 posts in 1542 days


#4 posted 07-18-2013 04:23 AM

I’ve carved a lot of basswood but never had a need to put a plane to it.
May have to try it just for fun.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

3036 posts in 492 days


#5 posted 08-27-2013 07:29 AM

Makes sense to me. Thanks Rhett!

-- God bless, Candy

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase