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How does one use a smoothing plane instead of sanding?

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Forum topic by Chelios posted 08-08-2010 10:41 PM 4231 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chelios

568 posts in 2528 days


08-08-2010 10:41 PM

I have heard and read many times that preparing for the finish on a project is much better using smoothing planes and scrapers. I have tried it a couple of times but with bad results and end up back sanding. Can anyone out there outline the proper steps to doing it correctly with the planes and scrapers….What are some tips to make it work?

As usual all your comments are appreciated.

thanks


12 replies so far

View Timberwerks's profile

Timberwerks

355 posts in 2623 days


#1 posted 08-08-2010 11:03 PM

Hi Chelios

The first step is to make sure your planes and scrapers are well sharpened and tuned. What sort of problems are your experiencing with your planing that require sanding? What type of plane are you using, standard #4?

-- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timberwerks-Studio/126415221682

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2577 days


#2 posted 08-08-2010 11:21 PM

realy sharp plane and scrabers set up right and the plane with a realy tight mouth
set for less than paperthin shaves so you nearly can see thrugh them
shuold do the trick most of the time when you use the smoother as all other things
its a matter of practish and get the feeling in your hands it takes time to learn
but you are in no doubt the day you got it

Dennis

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Chelios

568 posts in 2528 days


#3 posted 08-08-2010 11:24 PM

I can sharpen the planes ok…I do have a number 4 smoothing plane. I get a bit of tear out at times and lines that I can’t seem to get rid of. The edge of the blade makes them. I also can’t get my blades to hold a sharp edge for too long.

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2577 days


#4 posted 08-08-2010 11:37 PM

hey what branchname is this nr.4
and to me it sounds like you haven´t a flat back on the blade
or havn´t rounded the corners slighly on the blade

View Timberwerks's profile

Timberwerks

355 posts in 2623 days


#5 posted 08-08-2010 11:43 PM

First step would be to flatten the back of the blade and add some camber to the blade. Always try to plane with the grain. Another tip for tricky grain is to plane on a skew. If you get tea rout try another direction of attack or dampen the wood with mineral spirits.

-- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timberwerks-Studio/126415221682

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 3589 days


#6 posted 08-08-2010 11:50 PM

Quick answer:

Knives (including planes, scrappers, et.) work by cutting.
Sandpaper, steel wool, nylon, pads, etc. work by abrading (scratching).

Problems:
1. Even the best planes, scrappers and with proper technique may leave tool marks.
2. Most stains and some finishes actually take better if the prepped surface is not too smooth.

Solutions:
1. Use tools that are set-up properly and with the best technique.
2. Consider a little sanding after smoothing to remove tools marks and to prepare the surface for stains and finishes.
3. If you pretreat the wood with a thin wash coat of 1lb cut shellac, it may help to tame tearout.

Note: I mainly use Japanese and Asian planes, but also vintage Western planes.

-- 温故知新

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Timberwerks

355 posts in 2623 days


#7 posted 08-08-2010 11:56 PM

You should be able to get a highly reflective surface with planing and have consistent width and thickness to the shavings.

-- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timberwerks-Studio/126415221682

View Chelios's profile

Chelios

568 posts in 2528 days


#8 posted 08-08-2010 11:57 PM

Thanks everybody, I ‘ll give it a try. I am really much more enthusiastic about using planes rather than sanding. I hope I can make this work.

View Chelios's profile

Chelios

568 posts in 2528 days


#9 posted 08-09-2010 12:01 AM

Dennis

My smoother is a LN

Thanks

View docholladay's profile

docholladay

1287 posts in 2521 days


#10 posted 08-09-2010 12:40 AM

If you are getting tear out, you should also look at the grain direction. If you are planing against the grain, it will tend to pull the grain up and cause tear out. Sharpening and tuning the plane will help, but probably would not eliminate that. Sometimes simply try going in the opposite direction to see if it works better. If it does, you probably were planing against the grain. Also, some boards may have grain going in all kinds of directions, so you may have to change directions often. Having a slight (emphasize slight) camber to the iron will also help so the plane will not be prone to dig in on the corners of the blade. Also, you may be trying to cut too much. For smoothing, you want very fine, thin shavings. As for sharpness. I used to think that my planes were sharp, till I had the chance to use a plane that was owned by a gentleman that I consider to be a master craftsman. I found out that my idea of sharp, was not really very sharp. At the minimum, you should have a mirror polished edge and about 1/2 inch of the back should also be polished to mirror finish. Also, if you couldn’t shave with it, it aint sharp enough.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3199 days


#11 posted 08-09-2010 02:05 AM

A couple of other things to think about. What is the angle of the plane? A high angle or standard? I believe LN has three different frog angles for certain smoothers. You can double bevel the edge. I always cut on a skew to grain with a plane.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1056 posts in 1451 days


#12 posted 09-19-2013 08:28 PM

On bevel down planes, adding a 70°-80° bevel about a 1/16” or so high on your cap iron will help tearout. This works by creating force downward through the wood fibers. ..you will have to open the mouth of the plane so it is not choked with shavings. Search for “Kawai and Kato video” which will explain it in detail. This helps any 45° angled bevel down plane with a cap iron. It’s a lot cheaper than a new frog or plane – it’s free.

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