Shaping end grain with hand tools

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by grego posted 05-24-2012 06:28 PM 2125 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View grego's profile


73 posts in 2606 days

05-24-2012 06:28 PM

I’d like to shape a profile around the edge of a solid slab top for a small box using just hand tools, and I was thinking of picking up a couple of hollow and round planes from Lee Valley with a gift card I have. (They advertise a line of “traditional asian hollow and round planes” here:,41182

Would these work okay on the end grain “sides” of the lid, or would they tear it out? Or is there a better (hand tool) solution?

Appreciate any advice.


6 replies so far

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3778 days

#1 posted 05-24-2012 10:27 PM

I have seen those planes. I would love to hear anyones reviews about them myself.

View Chrrriiis's profile


22 posts in 2219 days

#2 posted 05-24-2012 11:11 PM

It depends on what profile your going for really, how complex and uniform you want it, and of course if the tool is worth the investment for the one(?) job. Tearout is very possibly going to occur somewhere if, as it sounds, you are carving the full circumfrence of the board. Very few blades can sidestep the chracter of the wood and endgrain will not necisarily be your issue here. These planes are probably bevel up and and have narrow mouths so chatter and tearout will likely be minimal, if your timber is right, that’s the fundamental here. It depends how the grain is playing.

I’ve just carved a piece of Ash for a base which kind looks like a wooden surfboard, with nice uniform bevelled edges. I don’t like to sand if i can help it, and while the profile looks perfectly round, i like he illusion given that i used stright edged tools to create it and im eager to see it with a finish on. I used my standard Bevel edged chisel, record block plane and cab scraper to achieve this (all stright edged tools, and all the way around the board) and only expereinced tearout issues in a couple of specific places (surprised me considering its ash, and bum tearout was actually along odd twists ‘along’ the grain, rarely on edgrain) so i think that the character of the timber is a bigger concern than the tool used, assumin all is tuned and sharp. This was a laborious but valuable excercise for me.

I think for you, it boils down to whether it’s worth the investment, and of course the figure of your timber, and how uswd to sharpening profiled blades you are. Me, well i don’t own any LV tools, so I’d probably get sometuing with brass on it’s sole :).

-- Hear today, gone tomorrow

View grego's profile


73 posts in 2606 days

#3 posted 05-25-2012 02:23 PM

Thanks Chris.

Well, I just went for it and bought the 1/2” hollow and round pair. Tried them on a few scrap pieces. The hollow plane worked great after a little practice, and no tearout on the endgrain of either pine or walnut when doing a roundover around the perimeter of a slab. I’m still figuring out the round plane – it seems to require a bit more fiddling to set the blade right and keep it from slipping.

Overall these look like they will be fun planes to use on small projects like boxes. They are very small, though, so for bigger projects I think I’d need to go to one of the more traditionally-sized molding planes. But for $20 each they are fine.

View Col Baker's profile

Col Baker

17 posts in 2221 days

#4 posted 05-27-2012 01:13 AM

Hi Grego – I have used wood fillers in end grain to repair them but with little success especially when staining the timber as the fillers do not take the stain like the end grain which soaks it in like blotting paper. Are there any fillers or methods you can use to fill tear-out that will take staining? Do a lot of pine work and it is always a problem for me ?

-- Col B.

View Philzoel's profile


302 posts in 2368 days

#5 posted 05-27-2012 01:25 AM

Tear out in end grain is type of wood dependent. Hard tight grain woods just go for it snd likely no problem with sharp tool. Pine or plywood or other softwood that is grainy likely none uniform edge. I do end grain cutting boards with no problem, but use only hard tight wood.

-- Phil Zoeller louisville, KY

View grego's profile


73 posts in 2606 days

#6 posted 05-27-2012 05:17 AM

Sorry, Col – no experience with fillers,

Phil, that’s encouraging. Subsequent tests on pine scrap didn’t work do well.I’ll try something with a tighter grsin.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics