Small Planes for Removing Twist

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Forum topic by TheLastDeadMouse posted 09-27-2016 05:51 PM 657 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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38 posts in 1520 days

09-27-2016 05:51 PM

I’m primarily a power tool user, but recently I’ve started using a borrowed block plane (Sweetheart 9-1/2) to shave down the high points on the cup side of boards to eliminate twist before jointing them. I’ve found that it makes it much easier for me to flatten that face as evenly as possible, leaving me a lot more thickness in my final board. While the block plane worked well for me I have to send it back, so I was wondering what’s the ideal plane for this job?

In my limited understanding of the subject I’d think that this would be a job for a scrub plane or fore plane, but I did like the one handed operation of the block plane, since my work surface is just a heavy mdf torsion box so I don’t have bench dogs or vises to keep my work stable. I placed a non-skid rubber mat beneath my board and clamped it down with a small trigger style clamp. It worked fine for what I was doing, but I’m thinking it wouldn’t be enough for something as aggressive as a fore or scrub plane.

11 replies so far

View JayT's profile


5864 posts in 2355 days

#1 posted 09-27-2016 06:00 PM

In my limited understanding of the subject I d think that this would be a job for a scrub plane or fore plane,

- TheLastDeadMouse

Yes, that would traditionally be a role for a scrub, fore or jack plane. In reality, you can use about any hand plane, it’s just a matter of how long and how many strokes it takes. A scrub or fore plane has a heavily cambered iron, so can remove a lot of material on each pass and cut down the amount of time needed. A cambered jack is the same idea, but not generally quite as aggressive. For me, I generally use a 5 or 5-1/2 for taking out twist, but it could be done with a #4 or #3, as well, or even your block plane. Whatever you find easiest.

For rough work like what you are talking about, there is no reason to spend a lot of money and the plane doesn’t have to be tuned up to near the level of a smoother. A good, vintage #5 or #4 can probably be found for $20 or less and would serve you well, though won’t be a one-handed operation. If you prefer a block plane, then a 9-1/2, 60 or similar are also very common and inexpensive.

For work holding, I’ve done the clamp thing many times and it works, though repositioning the work is a pain. In your situation, I’d probably clamp a piece of scrap that is thinner than your workpiece across the top of the torsion box and use it as a stop. As long as you are planing in a straight line into the stop, you shouldn’t have issues and it will be a lot faster to turn the board around and flip it over, as needed.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 920 days

#2 posted 09-27-2016 06:08 PM

The ideal plane for the job would be a jack plane. Which is to say any mid-sized plane with a slightly cambered/curved blade.

The ideal plane for you is probably a decent block plane, or maybe even a No 2 bench plane. It sounds like these two options would work best with your workflow. Note that the very small bench planes can be effectively used one-handedly, and probably more aggresively as well since you have a more secure grip.

If you have a chance to borrow a No 2, you can see what you think. If not, just get a good block plane and keep it sharp. Keep it simple…

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15567 posts in 2762 days

#3 posted 09-27-2016 06:14 PM

I second the jack plane suggestion. A #2 is way too small for such work IMO.

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

View ColonelTravis's profile


1887 posts in 2038 days

#4 posted 09-27-2016 06:41 PM

I don’t have an end vice in my bench so I adopted the holdfast and batten way. Works great.

View HokieKen's profile (online now)


6270 posts in 1283 days

#5 posted 09-27-2016 06:50 PM

I use a #3 plane with a heavy camber for this very purpose. Although, if you liked the way the 9-1/2 worked, then I’d stick with it. The “best” tool for any job is the one you use and get the desired results.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View ChickenChaser's profile


102 posts in 1224 days

#6 posted 09-27-2016 08:33 PM

I think HokieKen has it right. What works best for you, and you use, is the best tool. I tend to use a scrub to knock the board relatively flat, then I have a heavy sent 6 with a cambered Iron, then a finer set 6.
I would suggest going to estate sales or garage sales and find a cheap 4 or 5, put a pretty good camber on the iron an try it out. you might even find a cheap block plane while your out there.

you don’t really need a vise or dogs. On my first bench I just screwed some scrap plywood on the end as a planing stop. But be warned collecting planes can be quite addictive.

View Kirk650's profile


566 posts in 893 days

#7 posted 09-27-2016 09:32 PM

I use a #4 for that task. I might take off too much with a scrub plane.

Probably the fact that the closest plane to hand is a #4 is why I use a #4.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18961 posts in 2712 days

#8 posted 09-27-2016 10:04 PM

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View JohnChung's profile


415 posts in 2218 days

#9 posted 09-28-2016 03:32 AM

It depends on the length of the work piece. I would use a block plane if the stock is less than 12 inches long and a narrow board. I doubt a Jack will do well on that size.

View BurlyBob's profile


5914 posts in 2410 days

#10 posted 09-28-2016 04:23 AM

Be very careful my friend. You keep playing with hand planes and your going to get addicted. They will consume you!! Only in a good way.

View TheFridge's profile (online now)


10290 posts in 1630 days

#11 posted 09-28-2016 04:44 AM

I’d use a slightly cambered jack. A block plane may have a tendency to scrub a bit lower on long stuff. On short stuff a block would be fine if that’s what you have.

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

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