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working with bubinga (surfacing)

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Forum topic by NoSpace posted 10-22-2018 03:37 AM 571 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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NoSpace

137 posts in 1416 days


10-22-2018 03:37 AM

I’m making a desktop for personal use. It’s 3/4” maple base, and after scraping two or three ideas, i went forward with cutting 4” wide strips of walnet veneer a little thicker than 1/8” to go around the perimeter. In the center—partially finished,—are strips of Bubinga veneer.

The grain to my eyes is stunning, it isn’t waterfall, but it’s very straight and exotic looking, probably the prettiest wood i’ve ever bought. Of course, of the 8 foot board, less than half had this pattern, and so from the beginning I already had limited material to work with. Then, I didn’t realize how warped it was for the length of the good part, and barely got enough for about 75% of the surface area I need after the most frustrating resaw operation I’ve attempted thus far. I’m happy with what I got, considering. It’s uneven, and of course, even carefully pushing it through my planer with nearly new knives, it chopped up part of one piece. tear out wasn’t too bad, but i opted not to risk it.

I carefully cut what I had on my sled and can’t complain (the desk is a corner desk and two 45 angles and so doing a lot of triangle cuts, and no room for error since i have no extra pieces, and miraculously, the fit of the Bubinga pieces thus far is nearly perfect). I’ve still got some left to do, but needed a sneak preview of what I’m in for with planing. I knew from the beginning this wouldn’t be fun, but boy, it’s worse than I thought.

I have a new Stanley SW 62 I used to flatten the maple base, and I think it did an awesome job and completed the whole thing in a couple short sessions. It’s tearing out nicking the Bubinga pretty good though, and so I’m stopping to assess how best to move forward. Fortuitously, the Bubinga veneers are pretty thick thanks to the resaw nightmare, and so there is some room for error, but I’ve removed enough material that about now is a good time to get a handle on the errors.

In an impulse decision, I’ve just purchased a Lie Nielson 1-85 scraper plane. I’ve never used a card scraper, and figured that was the best way to stack the deck in my favor, but it’s going to take a few days to arrive, so I’m open to suggestions if there is another angle of attack or better way to do this. If it comes down to sanding 10 minutes a day with 200 grit sand paper for the next year then that’s what it will be.


22 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1800 posts in 1973 days


#1 posted 10-22-2018 03:57 AM

I think your one the right track. A card scraper is always a good try.
I’ve never used a scraper plane heard they can be tricky to set up right.
I’m very Allergic to bubinga so I haven’t used it in years. But I remember not being able to handplane it so I sanded.
Boy did I pay a price
Good luck

-- Aj

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10502 posts in 1661 days


#2 posted 10-22-2018 05:25 AM

I’d try to find a drum or wide belt sander

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

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

4637 posts in 2484 days


#3 posted 10-22-2018 07:46 AM

Setting up a LN Scraper plane, covers your’s along with a couple others

https://youtu.be/tpgnS_zgE6Y

https://youtu.be/bHcgZiEOWPU

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1926 posts in 2165 days


#4 posted 10-22-2018 12:03 PM

You dont say what bevel angle is on the #62 iron. I have 1 iron for an LV BU smoother at 50 for working swirly grain. The 62 angle will prevent tear out in just about anything. A scraper plane is an excellent choice also – I have the LV. Wont tear out, but it takes some practice to set up and use. It can leave some little “cut” marks or blade stutter marks. A scraper plane is intended to take very light whisper thin cuts, and the amount of downward pressure can effect the cut. The fixed frog on that LN makes for a more finicky setup but it will do the job well. I dont think it flexes the iron, so the corners will need to be relieved slightly so no tracks are left. You may want to consider swapping the LN-85 for the LN -112 which has frog angle adjustment unless you have a specific need for the rabbit style. Here is my review of the LV scraper plane.

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NoSpace

137 posts in 1416 days


#5 posted 10-22-2018 02:46 PM

Thanks all.

OSU—If trying another iron will help I’m game. it looks like this one is 25 degrees. It says “A2 12-142 25 (degrees)”

so I need to get an iron that’s 50 degrees? Do those other numbers I listed tell me anything i need to know to make sure the iron is the right size?

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1926 posts in 2165 days


#6 posted 10-22-2018 03:52 PM

Dont get too caught up in exact angles. Typical bd bench plane is 45° cut angle, and as you know steeper angles reduce tear out (and increase push force). You want to be in the 55-62° range, so if the bed angle for a LA plane is 12°, that would be 43-50° bevel or so. At times a 50° cut angle will do). You dont have to buy one you can regrind to the higher bevel, tho I will say it takes a while to do by hand, better to have a bench grinder. Find the highest bevel iron for your plane you can and grind it to where you want. Not sure hi angle irons are available for that plane. Getting another iron is best – wastes a lot of steel and time switching the same iron.

Edit: some searching turned up that the 25° bevel, Stanley p/n 12-142-1, is the only replacement available, and not that easy to come by. Link to stanley/bostitch parts https://servicenet.bostitch.com/Parts/Search?searchedNumber=12-142-1&searchType=1. ~$35 + shipping. I noticed Grizzly had them in stock for $55. Hock may make a blade for it.

View NoSpace's profile

NoSpace

137 posts in 1416 days


#7 posted 10-23-2018 02:16 AM

thanks, yeah that’s a strike against the SW. Hock doesn’t and seems to have a low view of the SW. So, OSU, if you had to pick any plane by vendor (something currently available not made 200 years ago!) with iron to flatten crazy grain african woods, what would it be?

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NoSpace

137 posts in 1416 days


#8 posted 10-23-2018 03:55 AM

might have a limp-along solution for now. I also have a SW #4. Of course I’d tried it and the chatter was awful wheras the 62 no chatter but tearing out (lighting was bad and didn’t realize how severe the tear-out was as I was doing it).

but after the comments about a higher angle (btw, no i didn’t know that steeper angle reduces tear out!) I’ve given it another try backing the blade off to about nothing and gradually increasing. the shavings are stringy, but no tearout or chatter, looks like the part I’m working is clearing up. it might barely win the race against a 220 block sander but material is definitely getting removed.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1800 posts in 1973 days


#9 posted 10-23-2018 04:00 AM

If I remember correctly bubinga I had was high in slica. And unplaneable.
So I would be very surprised if you found a way but I’m rooting for you.
Good luck.

-- Aj

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1926 posts in 2165 days


#10 posted 10-23-2018 11:54 AM



thanks, yeah that s a strike against the SW. Hock doesn t and seems to have a low view of the SW. So, OSU, if you had to pick any plane by vendor (something currently available not made 200 years ago!) with iron to flatten crazy grain african woods, what would it be?

- NoSpace


A Veritas 4-1/2 custom plane with pm-v11 iron, 40 for end grain and 55 for swirly grain frogs. The only hesitation for me is which frog angles. Would also get the #7 custom for jointing. Another option is the Veritas large scraping plane, and the Mujingfang woody smoother 2” wide blade set at 62 about 8-9” long – only paid about $65 for it several yrs ago. It does require some tuning but works very well.

View Blindhog's profile

Blindhog

89 posts in 1224 days


#11 posted 10-23-2018 01:48 PM

I can only share what I learned working with bubinga for panels on a bed frame I recently completed. Resawed using 17” BS (no real problems) and then planed to 1/4” using shelix head on 735 DW planer. Planing went well with virtually no tear out. I tried scraping but that was pretty unsuccessful (or at least I gave up) and then used ROS to take down to 320 grit. I followed this up with Aqua Coat grain filler (that made a huge difference for the finish I wanted to use); GF Arm-R-Seal gloss.
Very pleased with the results, but as mentioned by others, the dust is very irritating and needs to be minimized with dust collection every step of the way.

Good luck with your project!

-- Don't let perfection get in the way of plenty good enough

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

845 posts in 1394 days


#12 posted 10-23-2018 04:33 PM



I’d try to find a drum or wide belt sander

- TheFridge

dang,fridge- you ok??? i thought ya woulda said,”id try to find alder.”

View NoSpace's profile

NoSpace

137 posts in 1416 days


#13 posted 10-24-2018 04:09 AM

to both comments so far about the dust—yeah, i think it’s making me sick. i’m pretty careful with dust (even have a laser counter) but even with a face mask on I’ll have sneezing bouts. well, i’m definitely not feeling right the last few monrings. I’m not prone to conspiracies, but i’d been thinking this dust is special somehow.

the #4 is getting material off, but it’s also making a glass-like surface – go figure—some parts went pretty fast but overall this is going to be many days of slow effort. stopping for today so i don’t do something stupid.

Aj, you probably had a much worse piece of wood than I do, I don’t think foreign materials are a problem here. ‘hog’s pictures there have far crazier grain than mine. lack of experience probably explains a lot for my issue. As I’ve selected the grain that appears “straight”, I imagine the waterfall stuff is much worse. Strangely though, on boards with the grain seeming to flow in one direction, the first 3 inches of board (width-wise) must be planed in one direction and the other 3 in the opposite direction even though it looks like the same pattern on both sides.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1800 posts in 1973 days


#14 posted 10-24-2018 04:22 AM

That’s sounds great, I’m glad the grain is mostly in your favor. Bubinga dust is my kryptonite :(
Good luck

-- Aj

View NoSpace's profile

NoSpace

137 posts in 1416 days


#15 posted 11-17-2018 09:17 PM

Part of my problem is this is the desk i use for work so i can’t just work on it here and there, i have to clear things off and move it to do just about anything, so it’s really slow going.

Of course, the biggest problem is the Bubinga itself. My LN 85 scraper plane came in. It’s a fascinating tool, but not nearly aggressive enough to get material down, and so I figured if OSU55’s super no. 4 was the ultimate tool, i should at least get my SW no.4 passable, and with some more tuning it worked pretty well getting material down. didn’t tear out too much, but leaves nasty nicks. I’m finding that Bubinga is incredibly unforgiving, and the slightest nicks are highly visible.

The LN scraper is pretty incredible in its own right, it’s easy to set up and except for some highly aggressive cross-grain flattening i did, pretty much can’t tear out. It can leave mild cuts which are difficult to fix. Oh, and the blade has to be sharpened about every 10 to 20 minutes of use. Most of that need appears to be the “brandishing”. This wood gets glass-like, and flipping the blade over and gently running it over my sharpening diamond to curl the edge back on itself slightly is the difference between doing nothing and producing modest dust and proto-shavings.
(when “dull” enough to do nothing to the Bubinga, it still works fine for the walnut trim.)

For nicks the LN isn’t fixing, hand sanding does okay with lots of patience. Anything coarser than 120 grit appears pointless, I guess like trying to cut glass with a brick. The RO included: I bought 60 grit for it and does about nothing. So at this point its a circle; finger pressure with 120 to get nicks out, then some scraping, then the RO, and a small portion is clearing up. I’m actually considering the original belt sander suggestion, with 120 or even 220, they aren’t that expensive. power sanding has been the death of more than one project though so I don’t really want to go there.

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