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ARRRRRRGGG!! Stupid Hand Planes!

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Forum topic by Bsmith posted 386 days ago 976 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bsmith

294 posts in 1254 days


386 days ago

Am I doing something wrong? Purchased some old Stanley Planes. Flattened bottom, scary sharp on the irons, skew the plan a little when using, cuts good on the board edges, but when I try it on face of a panel… %#@#!!!! Digs in, chatter and over all leaves it looking worse that when I started. I’ve glued up a cherry table top. Trying to smooth out the glue joint a little and causing more harm than good. Am I destined to joint the edges and rely on sanding to level it out? How many of you are actually using your planes to flatten boards?

-- Bryan


17 replies so far

View LarryB's profile

LarryB

54 posts in 1212 days


#1 posted 386 days ago

Okay, Bryan. I have both a recommendation and a suggestion:

Recommendation: Contact Randy Maxey, Senior Editor of ShopNotes Magazine. He’s a master with the smoothing plane. I sat in on a seminar with Randy at a Woodsmith seminar and learned a lot.

Since then I have restored my grandfather’s old Shelton No. 9 plane and it works wonderfully.

Suggestion: Practice on scrap glueups before you ever touch your project. It’ll save you lots of frustration as well as save your project.

Once you learn this technique you’ll not only use it more often, but use it with confidence. Good luck!

View Dave's profile

Dave

11133 posts in 1424 days


#2 posted 386 days ago

Grain direction?
Was the top dead flat before you started with the smoother?
You want to be taking a thou off.
Are the corners of the iron 90 degrees?
Is the frog tuned?
How large do you have the mouth set?

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9492 posts in 1202 days


#3 posted 386 days ago

I use planes to flatten boards. Blogged extensive in my Roubo Cabinet series here on LJs. Dave speaks truth.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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BTimmons

2055 posts in 1069 days


#4 posted 386 days ago

Grain direction is the most important factor. The plane can be perfectly tuned but if you push it against the grain, you’re gonna have a bad time. Check this out.

-- Brian Timmons, Big T Woodworks - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BigTWW - http://vimeo.com/98821147

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3202 posts in 1397 days


#5 posted 386 days ago

I have a Veritas plane that works well, but it has a feature that many older planes do not… an adjustable throat. You slide the plate very close to the blade to limit tearout.

Truth be told, for large tabletops I take them to a local woodworking shop with a 50” drum sander. For a nominal cost, I smile as the monstrous sander yields a perfectly flat top. No tearout, no gouges, just perfect.

For smaller coffee tables, and dresser tops I use a different approach. I glue up pairs of boards. Then I plane down these planks while they still fit in my planer. Then I will glue the two planks together. That way, I only have one glue line to sand flush.

Are you familiar with the “I’s and O’s” technique on the jointer? It helps to produce flat tops that don’t need much sanding… http://lumberjocks.com/pintodeluxe/blog/33797 about half way down the page there is a description.

Good luck!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8475 posts in 2232 days


#6 posted 386 days ago

sounds like you are going against the grain which can lead to digging in, chatter, pooooooor finish (tears and rips)...

if you glued up your panel with boards alternating grain direction than it’s more tricky to smooth those out, as 1 of those boards will always be addressed against the grain.

things to try:
  • on top of skewing the handplane, also plane at 45 degrees to the grain (not parallel to grain)
  • Try pulling the blade even further to take super-light passes,
  • use a scraper instead of a handplane.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6067 posts in 1384 days


#7 posted 386 days ago

I had the same problem. Then I realized I had the blade in backwards. And I was planing on concrete, not wood. And I was using an airplane, not a hand plane. And I was having a dream.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

7154 posts in 2232 days


#8 posted 386 days ago

Set the chipbreaker very close to the edge for cherry, like
1/32” back. The chipbreaker should be polished on top
and the bottom of the front edge flattened so it bears
evenly against the iron.

For smoothing, set the mouth fine. Camber the iron
a bit and set it for a fine cut.

You still have to watch the grain direction and cherry
is not one of the easier woods to work with hand planes.
You’ll need to scrape here and there, perhaps a lot.

When you encounter an area where the grain reverses,
mark the surface with a pencil so you can see where
the reversal is. This way you can move on and do
some more work going in direction A. Then, after
you’ve got some satisfactory work done in direction
A, go back and plane in direction B. Be careful to stop
your strokes so you don’t tear up direction A areas
you’ve already planed. Some areas will still be tricky,
but most of the surface should be workable with
a plane this way.

You can also “back bevel” the iron by 5 degrees
and this will raise the effective pitch of the plane
to 50 degrees, resulting in a more scraping cut
that handles wiley grain better.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

887 posts in 1274 days


#9 posted 386 days ago

Scraper card – much easier for fixing up glue joints. Works on the pull instead of the push, much easier to control.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14475 posts in 1151 days


#10 posted 386 days ago

Chatter is usually a dull blade, taking to much at once, loose frog, loose cap, bad chip breaker,

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3145 posts in 2407 days


#11 posted 386 days ago

Loren instructions to set the chip breaker as close to edge of blade is bang on and should show great rewards. If you still get chatter the frog opening needs to be closed down some…good luck

View 1750carl's profile

1750carl

3 posts in 439 days


#12 posted 386 days ago

I am always impressed with the helping hands on this website. Easily my favorite website.

View Bsmith's profile

Bsmith

294 posts in 1254 days


#13 posted 385 days ago

Your so right Carl. Great web site. Once again my faith is restored in the lowly hand plane. Patience and perseverance. Dave – I am watching grain direction, but with Cherry it’s hard for me to tell. I did grind the corners down which helped a lot. Smitty – I’m heading to your blog for more lessons. Purplev – I’m having pretty fair luck with a card scraper, but need to flatten the tops more before I can use the scraper. Stumpy – Silly man, you can’t plane concrete with a wood plane. Besides, concrete is what I’m using to sharpen the blades. Don – My Stanley #6 is working pretty good. I think I just need to hone the blade along with my technic.

Thanks all for your input.

-- Bryan

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9492 posts in 1202 days


#14 posted 385 days ago

I will say that cherry can be tough re: tearout. You picked a tough customer for an early trial… But you’ll get there! Good luck.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4283 posts in 566 days


#15 posted 385 days ago

After all the good advice, I just encourage you to persevere. Hand planes are kind of like learning to ride a bike- there is a large learning curve in the beginning. If you can push past it, you’ll be cruising. And you’ll be very glad you did.

-- Red -- "The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out WHY." -Mark Twain

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