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Frustration with end grain planing

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Forum topic by Francesco Gallarotti posted 10-25-2015 06:03 PM 1044 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Francesco Gallarotti

10 posts in 406 days


10-25-2015 06:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question sharpening end grain

I have very little experience with woodworking since I recently started, but I can handle planing a piece of stock, squaring it, cutting a decent dovetail, etc.
where I am hitting a brickwall is planing end grain. When I crosscut a piece of wood I mark the cut line with a knife, but since my sawing skills are not great I always end having half to one millimeter of waste that needs to be trimmed. I tried with my Stanley #4 plane and with a brand new ECE wooden smoothing plane but I am not having much luck. The Stanley I sharpened the blade myself on EzeLap diamond stones (250/600/1200), while the ECE came super sharpened out of the box (it leaves the surface glass smooth along the grain, much smoother than the Stanley does). Yet both planes produce a powder on end grain, no shavings at all.
I am talking about soft pine wood, which I understand is a bit more difficult to cut, but still, why can’t I produce a nice smooth surface on the end grains?
Do I really need a block plane or a low angle jack plane?
How can I improve my sharpening skills? I know for sure that my blades cannot shave hair from my arm, like many say it should be able to… Yet the diamond stones I use are pretty widely used and should be enough, to my understanding, to be able to sharpen properly a plane blade, or am I mistaken?
Thanks in advance,
// Francesco

-- Francesco, Italy, http://www.gallarotti.net


17 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7166 posts in 2036 days


#1 posted 10-25-2015 06:06 PM

Stropping may help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvTcReENk9g

Welcome to Lumber Jocks Francesco!

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Bill White

4448 posts in 3420 days


#2 posted 10-25-2015 07:10 PM

Low angle bevel up block plane (Stanley #60 1/2), well sharpened, and cut with a skewed presentation to the work surface. VERY fine cuts will give you the surface you want.
That’s what I do.
Welcome to Lumber Jocks.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

528 posts in 901 days


#3 posted 10-25-2015 07:22 PM



Low angle bevel up block plane (Stanley #60 1/2), well sharpened, and cut with a skewed presentation to the work surface. VERY fine cuts will give you the surface you want.
That s what I do.
Welcome to Lumber Jocks.
Bill

- Bill White

+1 ^^

Also—1200 is not fine enough for final honing, IMHO. I usually hone to 6000, sometimes 8000.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5764 posts in 945 days


#4 posted 10-25-2015 07:41 PM

1200 isn’t fine enough. I did this with a regular block plane. Stripping should help a good bit.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View AESamuel's profile

AESamuel

61 posts in 682 days


#5 posted 10-25-2015 07:47 PM

Definitely strop after the 1200. You can just glue a piece of leather to a flat piece of wood, rough side (inside) up. Rub some blue polishing compound on then strop. Strop at a lower angle than you honed at because the leather will depress and conform to the edge. Make sure there is no burr and you’re set.

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Francesco Gallarotti

10 posts in 406 days


#6 posted 10-25-2015 10:52 PM

Thank you for the warm welcome :)
I feel ashamed in front of that picture, although I have read that pine is actually tougher than some harder wood in the end grain. I have ordered a box of shorts of various type of woods which should be coming from the UK next week and will be nice to try out some of the techniques I have read about today while researching on this issue.
I have also purchased a few more items to add to my now limited toolkit:
- a low angle block plane (37 degrees)
- a piece of leather and some green compound to make myself a strop
- a couple of new irons to use on my old Stanley since I found out today by doing some careful analysis of the scratches produced by the 250 and the 1200 diamond plates on the back of the iron that the back is not flat to the point that I am unable to reach the top edge with my honing.
over the next few days I will try to improve my sharpening skills although I feel that I am spending more time sharpening thank I am actually working these days LOL
Thanks again,
// Francesco

-- Francesco, Italy, http://www.gallarotti.net

View upchuck's profile

upchuck

540 posts in 1124 days


#7 posted 10-26-2015 01:28 AM



over the next few days I will try to improve my sharpening skills although I feel that I am spending more time sharpening thank I am actually working these days LOL
Thanks again,
// Francesco

- Francesco Gallarotti


Persevere on the sharpening. It will come together. And once it comes together it gets faster. And once it comes together and gets faster then everything else is easier. I promise. Without sharp tools dreams/ideas/ visions can wither and die on the vine. With sharp tools joinery becomes easier with square and crisp ends.
chuck

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7166 posts in 2036 days


#8 posted 10-26-2015 03:27 AM

“With sharp tools joinery becomes easier with square and crisp ends.

chuck”

The Truth ^

View Francesco Gallarotti's profile

Francesco Gallarotti

10 posts in 406 days


#9 posted 10-26-2015 10:00 AM

Thank you, Chuck. I do believe in that mantra, it’s just frustrating to still be on the side of those who are unable to achieve a decent level of sharpening… It feels like we were talking about enlightenment :)

Here is the back of the old Stanley iron I am practicing with. You can see the middle portion is mirror like flat, yet the edges I still cannot get to be mirror like finish. Maybe the iron got warped at some point. This is why I ended up ordering a couple new irons to remove warping from the list of factor that can affect my sharpening. In the meantime I continue to wax on, wax off, just to practice :)

-- Francesco, Italy, http://www.gallarotti.net

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13712 posts in 2078 days


#10 posted 10-26-2015 10:33 AM

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

View Francesco Gallarotti's profile

Francesco Gallarotti

10 posts in 406 days


#11 posted 10-26-2015 10:37 AM

Gotcha, Smitty… sorry for the wrong link missing the exclamation marks before and after

-- Francesco, Italy, http://www.gallarotti.net

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2277 days


#12 posted 10-26-2015 11:56 AM

Low angle bevel-up will definitely help. But with a No.4 (or your ECE) well-sharpened you should still be able to cut end grain if you skew the plane as much as possible, even on pine.
And in order to flatten the back of your plane blade you can use the ruler trick. Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F7q5WGb4ZA at about 2:30 he explains how.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2187 posts in 940 days


#13 posted 10-26-2015 12:15 PM

Agree with the posters re: LA & honing.
I usually go up to 8000. I don’t think stropping is necessary if you go that far.

A LA block plane is fine for hand planing endgrain but you need a bigger plane for shooting.

I have a LA jack, but used to use a #6 I like the heavier mass compared to a 4.

Bottom line no matter how you do it, the blade needs to be razor sharp.

Keep in mind the ruler trick raised the effective blade angle—probably won’t make a diff, but the exact the opposite of what you want when planing endgrain. Also it is no substitute for a properly flatten plane iron.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Francesco Gallarotti's profile

Francesco Gallarotti

10 posts in 406 days


#14 posted 10-26-2015 01:16 PM

Jeremy,
funny you mention that, because just before lunch today I was thinking that if I raised the back of the iron just a bit I could have achieved the mirror-like polished tip I am looking for :) Essentially I cam up with the same exact idea few minutes before you published this useful link.
The only difference with what the guy is showing is that I don’t use water stones, but regular diamond plates.

rwe2156,
I think a degree or so, shouldn’t matter to much especially when you can, that way, achieve a straighter and sharper edge. In other words, I think the advantage of using that method with my old iron is much bigger than having to hone the entire back side down for hours ;)

Thank you both,
// Francesco

Thanks,

-- Francesco, Italy, http://www.gallarotti.net

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2187 posts in 940 days


#15 posted 10-26-2015 04:00 PM



I think the advantage of using that method with my old iron is much bigger than having to hone the entire back side down for hours ;)

Thank you both,
// Francesco

Thanks,

- Francesco Gallarotti

Depends on how unflat the iron is.
As long as you are getting perfect union with cap iron, I agree.
Its a matter of preference I want to have a flat iron at least 1/8” back from edge because the cap irons I use must have no gap between blade.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

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