Hand planing - Boards end up hollowed

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by jimbotheconflictor posted 12-16-2013 05:04 PM 1260 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jimbotheconflictor's profile


3 posts in 2060 days

12-16-2013 05:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hand planes planing stock preparation

I’m just getting started with hand planes and prepping stock by hand and have my first question about planing technique I can’t find an answer for anywhere else.

I’ve been trying the method Robert Wearing recommends of intentionally hollowing the center of the board using a jack plane till it stops cutting, then planing from end to end till a full length shaving is produced. Unfortunately I’m noticing the board is still hollow even after the full length shaving. Does this sound like something caused by my technique? A faulty plane? Maybe I should be using a longer plane?


6 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#1 posted 12-16-2013 05:12 PM

I’m not a hand plane expert but for flattening purposes, I’ve always used the planing at an angle from both sides and then planing with the grain for final clean up.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2774 days

#2 posted 12-16-2013 05:23 PM

It matters on on how bowed the board is and the directions of the bow. I have seen some boards that are 2” thick and it is better to cut them into smaller pieces than try to make them flat or you would end up with a 1/4” board.

As for flattening by hand, there are several methodologies. One of them involves laying the board on the ground and letting the moisture get back into the board and it will straighten in the sun.

I currently have several boards that were seriously warped and are now straight because I dried them correctly. If the board is not dry, and you flatten it, it doesn’t mean that it will stay straight. Get it dry inside and out. Then you learn to flatten the board with tools.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2381 days

#3 posted 12-17-2013 04:44 AM

If the board you are planing is longer than your jack plane, then you can indeed plane a hollow in it, even using the good technique you are describing…thats why you don’t use a block plane to joint a 6 foot board…some people even do that on purpose in order to create a “sprung joint” (look it up).

so…you should still check you work with a straightedge, and realize that the middle-out approach you describe is useful to making sure you aren’t making a convex surface.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Loren's profile


10384 posts in 3645 days

#4 posted 12-17-2013 04:47 AM

You’re jointing edges or flattening board faces?

If jointing edges, realize that there are limits to what you
can do with a jack plane. I joint with a jack sometimes
but I don’t mess with it if the board is over 3 feet long.

A longer edge needs a longer plane, generally. You can
learn with practice to do longer joints with a jack,
but I suggest buying or making a longer plane if
you’re committed to hand tools. Personally, I don’t
think it’s worth the fuss and I use power tools
for straight-lining and jointing anything other than
the odd short board.

If you’re doing board faces, your bench may be

View jimbotheconflictor's profile


3 posts in 2060 days

#5 posted 12-23-2013 06:00 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone. I started switching to my fore plane after getting mostly flat with the jack and have seen much better results. Not surprising, right?

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2651 days

#6 posted 12-23-2013 08:35 PM

Just so you know you can also decrease the hollow created by the plane by making the cut shallower. Try it out when you don’t want to switch planes.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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