A couple of plane questions outside my blog

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 10-19-2007 07:57 PM 1763 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3890 days

10-19-2007 07:57 PM

I’m not into the course of thought of wanting or getting a scrub plane – I just don’t think I could do the heavy work – not sure. My simple question though is when you do use a scrub plane how do you decide when the board is flat enough – would you use winding sticks? I’ve always have wondered if when using a winding stick – how did they/you know the original winding stick was dead flat/straight? What was the original “flat” folks went with? Seems like a no-brainer question——but I’ve never really found a good answer – for the original standard that was considered to be the gold standard of flat/straight, etc.

Also, more to my skill level – scraper planes. What little I’ve done with card scrapers makes me wonder if I should invest in a scraper plane. My thought process is that those who I’ve seen use the scrapers flex the card – and despite trying to the point of biting my lip in concentration – I just can’t get the card to flex. So would I be better off getting a scraper plane or getting a holder (I’ve seen one Veritas puts out)?

I manage to get pretty decent shavings holding the scraper with no flex – so is flex really that important?

Thanks for helping with my simple questions. I appreciate it.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

4 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4091 days

#1 posted 10-19-2007 08:12 PM

On planes, Chris Schwarz as the concept of course, medium, and fine. He uses a jack plane tuned (mouth open, curved blade) as a scrub plane to do course work, a jointer plane to do medium work and then a smoothing plane to do fine work. I’m not sure you need to buy a separate scrub plane. Perhaps a second blade for your jack plane.

You can check winding sticks with a steel rule or a known flat surface such as a tablesaw wing or jointer bed. Lee Valley sells nice straight edges as well as winding sticks.

I’m not sure I can help with the origion of straight.

On scraper plane, I do not own one yet. But I want the LN 212. Not sure if I need it or not, but it sure is pretty.

Lie-Nielson Small Scraper plane.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3956 days

#2 posted 10-19-2007 08:37 PM

Hi again Betsy,
I for one have never had or used a scrub plane. I suppose that if I only had hand tools I would set up one jack plane with a more curved iron to use first. I agree with Chris Swartz in his article on course, medium and fine. If you haven’t read it, it is an interesting discourse on the subject.
The original level is a flat pan with water in it.

I suppose that the original staight came from rubbing two rocks together until both were flat. I use the bottom of my 36” level. I usuall check one end of a board with the level(used as a straight edge) and then site across a straight edge. I just had to do this on two 12 1/4’ wide pieces of Sapele so I could run them through my planer. I would suggest you build your own winding sticks. There are lots of plans out there and it is a good learning exercise.

I use card scrapers and a 112 scraper plane as well as a #80 scraper. Veritas makes a holder for a card scraper. That will solve the problem of flex. Yes, I feel a card scraper needs to be flexed to work. I use a scraper flat to get a finish some times. You sure get us to thinking, don’t you? Good for you.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 3882 days

#3 posted 10-20-2007 05:07 AM


Some of the scrapers are thinner and easier to bend. The bending helps control the cut and makes the scraper more aggressive. You have to get a shaving not dust as a result of scraping. Usually when I scrape, I use a thick scraper with an burl angle or about 10 degrees for levelling/roughing and a thin scraper with 5 degree burl for a finishing scraping. I usually get tired of bending the thick scraper so I put it in the Veritas holder. Another option, mentioned by Thos, is to use a cabinet scraper (Stanley #80 or equivalent). The cabinet scraper is very aggressive but it requires as large an effort as using a plane. This scraper complements a plane since scrapers can be used on difficult wood. Another option is to use a scraper adapter for a regular plane. I retrofitted a Mills Falls #4 plane with such a blade. It takes fine shavings (not too aggressive) and it is as easy/hard to use as a smoother plane. You can get the scraper adapter from Lee-Valley (,310&p=32635). Lee-valley also sells the thin scrapers:,310,41069&ap=1

The scrub plane is hard to use and requires a grinder to sharpen the blade (the blade has to be shaped like a gouge not like a plane blade to work efficiently). You might be much better off with a hand planer (you can pick some for as little s 30$) to remove a lot of material. The scrub plane usually leaves a wavy, uneven surface that has to be straightened with a jointer plane (or a plane as big as you can muster).

Good luck,

-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3991 days

#4 posted 10-20-2007 08:51 AM

I think the Stanley #80 is a good middle of the road way to hold a scraper. In the picture below you can see it in the background and the shavings on the bench are from the 8-0. You typically don’t get as fine a shaving with a cabinet scraper as you do with a card scraper however. The #4 wanted to tear this grain to shreds, even set for a fine shaving. The 8-0 was the way to go.

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

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