My first handplane experience

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Forum topic by Seer posted 11-25-2012 03:03 PM 1357 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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306 posts in 3636 days

11-25-2012 03:03 PM

Wekk here goes my foray into the world of handplaning boards. To start I do not own a power planer (cannot afford one at the moment) so at a yard sale a few months back I bought a #4 Stanley plane and it has been gathering dust ever since, that is until yesterday. I needed to make a lid for an urn I am making and had to resaw some 9/4 maple which left a real nasty jagged surface. So after glueing the edges and waiting overnight I dove into the plane which I have never used nor even tried to set one up but after about 20 minutes of trial and error I got the dang thing tuned in and proceeded to plane down the board I had glued up and actually got the same finish i would have with a power planer, but man does my upper back tell me all about it today (need to sharpen the blade haha) but I was pulling complete ribbons off the wood so I guess I was doing something right. Anuways just wanted to share this little experience.


13 replies so far

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

18707 posts in 2561 days

#1 posted 11-25-2012 03:08 PM

it certainly sounds like you did something right. So what is the proof?

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

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2280 days

#2 posted 11-25-2012 03:10 PM

That’s a lot of work for a number 4, look for a no 7 next time, lol. I know what you mean about the upper back thing. Between planing and lathing I can hardly move.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 2685 days

#3 posted 11-25-2012 03:11 PM

Another victim of the slippery slope!

My experience was similar. I needed to take a skim pass on some rough lumber for a project and discovered that my jointer blades were AFU and I was not in a position to replace them right away. I broke out a #5 I had picked up some weeks earlier at a yard sale and soon had it dialed in and the shavings were flying.

Now, I have several, a handful of users and a bunch waiting for me to rehab them and get them back in service. And my jointer blades still need to be replaced.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3797 days

#4 posted 11-25-2012 03:27 PM

Well done – one tip though, if your upper back is hurting either the height of the work was too high, or your technique was a little off. Try to think of the motion as coming from the hips, using your legs for a lot of the power, while your arms provide the guidance. The tip about using a #7 is a good one, but a bigger plane will absolutely thrash you if you are not using the big muscles of the core body.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3152 days

#5 posted 11-25-2012 04:04 PM

My first handplane experience several years ago was with a No. 5. The size is perfect and, as Russell indicated, longer planes will give you an easier experience (because of the mass) and will give you a little more feedback (it’s easier to know when something is flat). Those are the planes you use to replace a power planer.

But congrats on taking the plunge. Warn the wife now that you’ll need to be getting some more tools….a lot of them.

-- jay,

View eddy's profile


939 posts in 3358 days

#6 posted 11-27-2012 06:26 PM

good going jerry i need to use my planes more often just lazy i guess

-- self proclaimed copycat

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2481 days

#7 posted 11-27-2012 07:18 PM

How do you plug it in?

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Mosquito's profile


9302 posts in 2286 days

#8 posted 11-27-2012 07:24 PM

My first was shortly after I moved into an apartment. I wasn’t going to run power tools, so I layed down a canvas tarp, and ended up getting a #7 off ebay, cleaning it up, and using that. A #4 was soon to follow, and then it’s a blur from there… :-)

Sounds like good times in your future ;-)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2687 days

#9 posted 11-27-2012 07:24 PM

I’m with Russel, I’l skew with a #7 or 8 till flat. Take some long straight strokes with a #5 or 6, then make the fluffy stuff with the #4. Then scrape if necessary. Iusually like the appearance of a non-scraped surface, though.
That’s a helluva good outing for your 1st time with a #4. I just kept slamming mine to a dead stop in the wood. I can’t believe I kept after it.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Seer's profile


306 posts in 3636 days

#10 posted 11-28-2012 01:34 PM

This is the end result of the lid after hand planing and finishing. I want to thank Eddy again for help with the box. Also I mentioned it was my back that was so but I was wrong it only burned for a little while now it is the muscles in my thighs that ache so I must be doing it right and am on the lookout for a No 7 now.


View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

18707 posts in 2561 days

#11 posted 11-28-2012 01:39 PM

Nice job. Did you do the molding edge with a plane as well?

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

View Seer's profile


306 posts in 3636 days

#12 posted 11-28-2012 06:44 PM

The molding was done with a router ogee bit gives it some character and this is actually an Urn for a friends parents as they want to be together forever. When I showed it off the looks on her face was priceless so I can feel good about it.


View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2677 days

#13 posted 11-28-2012 10:45 PM

I’ve learned that when I’m stiff and store from the previous day’s session of planing, the best remedy is to get out there and plane some more. Seriously. Maybe it works the lactic acid out of the muscles. All I know is that the soreness and stiffness goes away and doesn’t come back (until I break out the plane again after a few days off).

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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