how hard do i need to push a plane?

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Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 10-09-2009 03:41 PM 1363 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2104 posts in 3749 days

10-09-2009 03:41 PM

Just wondering how much force should be required to edge joint a 3/4” think piece of walnut or cherry. I feel like I really need to push pretty hard and fast so the moment carries through the stroke. I’m sure my blade could be sharper, but it does seem to leave a nice smooth surface, as long as I don’t bog down and get stuck 1/2 way through the cut.

I might need to resharpen. I have been getting better at it but I’m in a bit of a time crunch at the moment. Sharpening sounds like a good winter project when I can bring my blades inside (no heat in the garage and no plans to change that).

11 replies so far

View FatScratch's profile


189 posts in 3324 days

#1 posted 10-09-2009 03:58 PM

A handplane, when sharp and set to a reasonable depth (thin shavings), should take minimal effort to edge joint walnut or cherry. It sounds like the blade needs some good sharpening and/or the depth of cut needs to be decreased.

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 3715 days

#2 posted 10-09-2009 03:59 PM

I don’t have much knowledge or experience with this. I have never had to push very hard with a plane though. Check out the popular woodworking podcast. Just today they put a video out of the correct technique for joining the edge of a VERY long board.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#3 posted 10-09-2009 04:10 PM

sounds like you’re taking too deep of a cut, or your blade is (although may seem like it) not sharp enough – I’d vote on the ‘too-deep-of-a-cut’ option though.

planing, and especially edge jointing, although a physical exercise- should not cause you to push too hard to overcome the resistance from the wood.

what plane are you using for the jointing job? (the reason I’m asking is – if you’ll use a too small plane , it might not be able to overcome the hollows/cupping and might force you to extend the blade too much below the sole in order to make a cut – which might cause it to bog down in some areas)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3749 days

#4 posted 10-09-2009 04:52 PM

I’ll admit, this cut is a bit thick. I don’t have a way to measure unless “less than 1/32” is good enough of a description. lol. I’m using an old #5. I think a part of the problem is also my workbench. It isn’t too stout, so the whle thing rocks while working on it. I’ve got plans to fix this, but time is such a factor for everything I try and do.

I’ll try and reduce the thickness of the cut and report back tomorrow. Thanks guys!

View Robert's profile


32 posts in 3645 days

#5 posted 10-09-2009 06:43 PM

-cut is a bit thick-

It is a lot easier to take more wood off later than to have to add it back….

So, I’d back off the adjuster (retract ) until you can’t see it when viewing down the sole. Plane upside down, looking a smooth brightish area like white wall or sky.

Then, on the wood, glide the plane a short bit and then adjust the adjuster until it just picks an almost dust-like shaving. Then maybe another 1/16th of a turn, and try again.

Also, look at grain orientation; you’d want to be going ‘uphill’.

A small piece of MDF and a few pieces of fine grit sandpaper will get you sharp pretty quickly.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3606 days

#6 posted 10-09-2009 06:46 PM

Yes already said if your strruggling to get a rough cut without major effort your plane is either very blunt or if sharp your setting the depth for too great and thick a cut or your as weak as MY SISTER and she’s five times a week. LOL Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Partridge's profile


296 posts in 3977 days

#7 posted 10-09-2009 06:48 PM

I would say thing that help me
1. wax the sole.
2. watch grain direction.. a iron will dig in and try to take a big cut if it is fighting grain.
3.try a liter cut (take a 24” board (pine works well) to adjust the plan. start with cutting edge flush with sole and turn wheel a 1\4 of turn and take a pass you will most likely need to adjust.
4. sharp iron is good. take a pass or two on back of iron. it is fast and should help.

This it what i do. not saying it right but it is something

-- I get out in the shop when I can

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3896 days

#8 posted 10-09-2009 07:12 PM

your shavings should be as thin as newspaper.

-- Happy woodworking!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18283 posts in 3697 days

#9 posted 10-09-2009 07:18 PM

Trying to work with dull tools is pointless!! It takes less than a minute to make a 100% improvment when touching up an edge.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Timberwerks's profile


360 posts in 3182 days

#10 posted 10-09-2009 07:24 PM

Spend some time at the stones. If you are using extra force to push the plane you may not be getting a flat true surface. Maybe even spend some extra time giving the plane a tune up.


View Dustmite97's profile


439 posts in 3242 days

#11 posted 10-12-2009 11:01 PM

I find that if you are putting a lot of effort into pushing it, that means the depth is set too deep or the blade is dull. FatScratch is right, you should only need minimal effort.

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