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Hand planing maple

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Forum topic by MapleHead posted 03-04-2014 05:20 PM 885 views 0 times favorited 52 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MapleHead

25 posts in 210 days


03-04-2014 05:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi All
Newbie here. I’ve read several posts from this site and I am going to make it my home for woodworking info.

I am entering the hobby luthier world. I have a pine Tele guitar in progress that is coming out pretty good. I bought some 8/4 maple for another guitar body project and I am in the process of getting two pieces ready to be edge glued for a body blank. This went well with the pine. I can’t even see the edge lines. However, with the pine body, I edge glued two 7/8 pieces, and then two more, and then sand which glued them together. So the only edge planing was with 7/8 thick boards. With the maple, I’m using 1 and 3/4 thick boards, thus eliminating the need for gluing top and bottom pieces.
But….
I cannot edge plane these two pieces for the life of me. I’ve already put in twenty hours trying to do so. I have a cheap jack plane from Buck Bros that is nice and sharp. So is my issue here related to the width, the hardness of the wood, my inexperience or what?

Like I said, I edge planed the pine really well, using all the techniques I’ve read about here. So what gives?


52 replies so far

View Tim's profile

Tim

1273 posts in 626 days


#1 posted 03-04-2014 06:44 PM

Pine is more forgiving in some ways. Your plane needs to be better tuned and sharper to plane harder wood as well. Your cheap jack plane is probably just not up to the job, even if it were fettled properly. It flexes too much and probably has casting and other problems. Better would be to get a vintage plane in good shape as they were very well made back then, or buy a new premium plane.

Oh and welcome to Lumberjocks.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7619 posts in 2313 days


#2 posted 03-04-2014 06:49 PM

Get a 100 grit sanding belt. Cut it and tape it to a flat
surface. Rub your edges on it until they are flat and
square.

Maple is unforgiving and you’ll struggle with it unless
you have seriously sharp tools. What kind of sharpening
system are you using?

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12290 posts in 2762 days


#3 posted 03-04-2014 06:55 PM

Buck Brothers plane is a red flag for me. I would look for a pre-WW2 Stanley or equivalent plane (Sargent, Ohio, Union to name a few)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Monte Pittman

14334 posts in 1003 days


#4 posted 03-04-2014 07:28 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks

Not that trial and error aren’t an effective learning tool, but you may want to practice on more scrap before tackling it with good wood. That being said, I am a power tool person who would Butcher the crap out of it with hand tools.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15057 posts in 1233 days


#5 posted 03-04-2014 07:29 PM

^After all that, let us know what “I cannot edge plane these two pieces for the life of me” means. Describe the outcome and somebody here will most likely have the answer.

Welcome to LJ’s.

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

View MapleHead's profile

MapleHead

25 posts in 210 days


#6 posted 03-04-2014 07:42 PM

Hi All
Thanks for the replies.
Don, I am planing convex. The ends just keep getting lower than the middle. I’m following the method of front pressure first, then pressure over the whole plane, and then back pressure, to no avail. If I ever manage to get them near flat, I then check squareness and discover that that is way off. So I square them up, only to discover they are no longer flat again. It’s a viscous cycle.
I sharpened my iron with the Scary Sharp method. It worked pretty good. One thing I noticed about the planing is that, no matter how I set the blade, it seems to change within a few strokes. I am always having to stop and tune it in.

View TerryDowning's profile

TerryDowning

1004 posts in 782 days


#7 posted 03-04-2014 07:43 PM

You also need to pay close attention to grain direction. If planing against the grain or “uphill” you will have lots of tear out regardless. Grain direction is very important when using hand tools.

Try the “scoop” method for applying pressure to the plane. Try to scoop out the middle of the board. You can’t because the plane won’t let you, the end result is a flat board/edge.

You can also make a fence to attach to the side of your plane to help keep things square. (The sides of the plane need to be square to the sole for this)

Click for details

If you’re planning on gluing these together, then more important than square to the face of the board is relative flatness to each other.

Book match both boards together and plane both joining edges at the same time. This way they are in the same plane when you “open” the book to do the glue up. The joints are flat relative to each other but not necessarily square to the face.

Try tightening the lever cap screw a bit. It may be too loose. Make sure that the frog adjusters are tight as well.

Practice on scrap hardwood until you get the hang of it. Figured maple is a terrible thing to waste.

-- - Terry

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Loren

7619 posts in 2313 days


#8 posted 03-04-2014 07:48 PM

Shifting iron: your lever cap screw may be too loose. The
lever cap should require some effort to clamp and unclamp,
sometimes almost enough that you’ll be tempted to pry
it up with a screwdriver. It varies from plane to plane and
some of mine perform well with a less-tight lever cap screw.
Also, the screw that tightens the chipbreaker to the blade
should be tight to pull some of the spring out of the
chipbreaker.

In terms of your bulging middles, that’s a technique problem,
but you’ll struggle to resolve that issue if your iron is shifting
around on you.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View MapleHead's profile

MapleHead

25 posts in 210 days


#9 posted 03-04-2014 07:57 PM

I definitely go with the grain. I finger tighten the cap and chip breaker screws. I also ground and honed the chip breaker so that it’s flat on the iron.

Is the width of 1 and 3/4 inches a lot to edge plane?

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MapleHead

25 posts in 210 days


#10 posted 03-04-2014 07:59 PM

Terry and Loren, the rest of your replies just came in. Weird. I only saw just a sentence at first.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7619 posts in 2313 days


#11 posted 03-04-2014 08:00 PM

View TerryDowning's profile

TerryDowning

1004 posts in 782 days


#12 posted 03-04-2014 08:02 PM

Yeah, I saw your reply to Don and did a quick edit to add more info.

-- - Terry

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unbob

419 posts in 568 days


#13 posted 03-04-2014 08:02 PM

A couple of things you might try with less then perfectly flat and tuned hand plane.
The blade needs to be sharp, at least sharp enough that it will dig into a fingernail held at a shallow angle-say 10degrees.
Watch the grain direction of the wood. Try skewing the plane at an angle, so as the sole has less contact with the wood, the blade is more slicing at an angle.
Might help you to get by for now.

View MapleHead's profile

MapleHead

25 posts in 210 days


#14 posted 03-04-2014 08:08 PM

Terry, if I book match, don’t the two boards together need to be less wide than the iron? Mine together would be 3.5”.

I’ll try tightening up the screws. I think I might have had the plane skewed a bit when I did the pine. I’ll try that again.

My iron is definitely sharp. It easily cuts fingernail.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15057 posts in 1233 days


#15 posted 03-04-2014 08:16 PM

If its sharp and you get decent shavings, then the problem is probably you. (Except for the moving iron, Loren dealt with that)

First, its the reason jointers are a lot longer than jacks. A jointer would help with the convexing. That’s not to say with a little practice and the right technique you can’t joint with a jack, its just harder. It also depends on how long the stock is. If its over 4’ or so, a jointer would help.

Lay off the method of front pressure first, then pressure over the whole plane, and then back pressure. Put even pressure throughout the stroke. I think you’re taking it to literal. The idea is to keep the plane flat 100 % of the time.

Skewing the plane will help cut, but to me it would make it harder to keep it flat when jointing. I always skew the plane when smoothing, but its harder to do when jointing.

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

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