Questions for Handplane users on flattening panels

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Forum topic by Manitario posted 01-09-2012 12:46 AM 1478 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2301 days

01-09-2012 12:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have a few 20×20” walnut shelves I’ve glued up; my plan was to finish them using handplanes rather than sanding, but I’ve run into a few difficulties.
1)Removing the glue squeeze out; I scrapped off most of it before it was dry, but I’m still having to plane off some of it; it’s killing the edge on the blade of my #4; is there a better way to do this/different plane I should be using?
2)Tear-out: The walnut is fairly straight grained but I’m still getting tear-out in some areas; I’m using a well-tuned #4 with a razor sharp blade with a 25o bevel; would a higher angle frog help in this situation?

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

8 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


865 posts in 2370 days

#1 posted 01-09-2012 01:45 AM

Manitario, I am surprised that your blade is being beat up by glue. Did the blade lose its temper maybe? I don’t normally remove glue squeeze out with my planes, but I have done it before and never had any adverse effects on the blade. I usually deal with the squeeze out on a panel by getting the bulk of it off just before it is nearly dry with a beater chisel. Then I clean the rest up when the panel is out of clamps and such with a cabinet scraper or card scraper.

A higher angle frog would definitely help with tear out, but if you don’t have one you can make do with what you have. The following may help with the problem:

a) Try lightening your cut and taking less material.
b) Try closing the mouth of the plane by moving the frog forward.
c) Skew your plane to either side while planing.
d) Use a cabinet scraper if you have one. I built some stuff out of some pretty figured walnut a while back and the cabinet scraper was the only tool that would tame the tear out.

Good Luck!

-- Mike

View Don W's profile

Don W

17870 posts in 1985 days

#2 posted 01-09-2012 02:11 AM

I agree with paratrooper. I use my 604 from glue to finish all the time. No adverse affects. A high angle frog may help. So may a low angle. I don’t have a high angle (would love to try one) but I do switch between my 604 and 62 a lot. Really difficult I pull out the veritas scraper. Cabinet scrapers work as well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2301 days

#3 posted 01-09-2012 02:21 AM

Thanks guys, I’ll close up the mouth a bit more and see if I have better results. Using hand planes is so rewarding, but the learning curve is steep! As many books as I read and youtube videos I watch, it is still difficult.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Don W's profile

Don W

17870 posts in 1985 days

#4 posted 01-09-2012 02:32 AM

closing the mouth “may” help the tear out but not the glue situation. It sounds like your blade may be bad. That may be your “whole” issue.

For really fine shavings you want the mouth to be as tight as it can be. If you can slide a business card threw it, its to wide. Also start with the blade not touching and lower it very slowing until its just barely hitting. Skew it as much as you can. Experiment until it works. There is a magic moment when it all starts to work.

Also you can try grinding a steeper angle (or a back bevel). I’m not a back bevel guy, but it may be worth a try.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Robert Brown's profile

Robert Brown

143 posts in 2109 days

#5 posted 01-09-2012 03:08 AM

In regards to edge longevity try increasing the bevel angle. A #4 is a bevel-down plane so the blade will be presented to the wood at 45 degrees irregardless of the bevel angle. Try putting a 30 degree micro bevel on your blade to see if it helps. I used to sharpen my bevel-down blades at 25 degrees too. Now I do 30 degree primary and 35 degree secondary.

What paratrooper said for tear-out is all good. Another idea instead of buying a higher angle frog is to buy a another blade from borg or your favorite store. Sharpen this blade normally and then put a 5-10 degree back bevel on it. That will increase the angle of the blade to the wood to 50-55 degrees. You can then swap out the blades as needed instead of changing the grind back and forth on one blade and prematurely wearing it out.

Luck with whatever you try

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1769 days

#6 posted 01-09-2012 03:25 AM

I can’t see how glue could affect your plane blade, it’s made of tool steel, right? Many times harder than glue. Others here have given good advice. One other thing to look for is the grain direction, you want to be planing downhill or down the grain. Sometimes boards are not consistent relative to grain direction and that causes tear out in one particular area. You can try planing from the opposite direction or you can go to something with a higher cutting angle. If it is just a small area I would use a scraper for that area and plane the rest.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2301 days

#7 posted 01-09-2012 04:55 AM

I closed the mouth to barely a paper-width and although it improved the tear out in most places, there are still some trouble spots; I’ll have to give it a go with a card scrapper. Thanks for the advice guys!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1407 days

#8 posted 11-18-2013 03:29 PM

The best tear out remedy for a bevel down plane is to put a 70°-80° bevel on the chip breaker, ~1/16” or so high, and slide it up close to the blade edge – 0.010” or so. The plane mouth needs to be open – just as Manitario experienced closing the mouth does little for tear out. Take light cuts and have a sharp blade. If the chips are really acordian shaped, back off the breaker from the edge. Experiment with this until finding the correct position. This is the best way to tame tearout if you don’t have a high angle frog or a bevel up plane.

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