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Question About Trimming End Grain With A Block Plane

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Forum topic by Targa posted 03-31-2014 09:34 PM 1818 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Targa

117 posts in 1201 days


03-31-2014 09:34 PM

I’m very new at woodworking and have an old craftsman block plane in very good condition that was given to me that I’m trying to learn how to properly sharpen and use.

I’ve done some searching in this site’s archives and on the internet trying to learn what I can. I’m having trouble with trimming end grain and I’m not sure if I’ve got the angle of the bevel on the plane iron wrong, or the blade is not sharp enough or if I do not really know what to expect.

I can take my sharpened plane and cut a nice thin wood ribbon from the face and sides of a piece of wood.

But when I try to trim end grain, I don’t get a nice continuous ribbon but instead get small curled pieces of wood. So I’m not sure if that’s what to expect when trimming end grain?

I would appreciate any comments

Thank you

-- Dom


23 replies so far

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DrDirt

4167 posts in 3203 days


#1 posted 03-31-2014 09:50 PM

end grain cuts easy enough,but doesn’t stay a nice curled shaving.

Look at the surface left behind, and feel if it is nice and glassy.

Also you should be able to shave your arm hairs with the blade, or it isn’t sharp enough.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

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JayT

4772 posts in 1672 days


#2 posted 03-31-2014 09:51 PM

First off, pics always help.

You will not get long ribbons when planing end grain, because of how the wood fibers are running. Since you are cutting across the fibers instead of along them, they do not stay together near as easily as planing with the grain. The small curlies is about what you should probably expect with most woods.

If you are getting a clean cut with no tearout, then your iron is sharp enough.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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mahdee

3550 posts in 1228 days


#3 posted 03-31-2014 09:56 PM

What you are describing indicates that you have properly sharpened your tool. The reason you get curled pieces of wood instead of nice ribbon is because you are cutting end grain. I am not sure using a plane is the best way to achieve what you are trying to do. Maybe explain what is your goal.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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shampeon

1711 posts in 1644 days


#4 posted 03-31-2014 09:57 PM

That’s just the nature of end grain. You need a sharp, sharp blade and a pretty thin cut. Watch out for blow-out on the ends. If you make a shooting board, you’ll be a lot happier.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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Targa

117 posts in 1201 days


#5 posted 03-31-2014 10:05 PM

mrjinx007 said – ”I am not sure using a plane is the best way to achieve what you are trying to do. Maybe explain what is your goal.”

Actually, my goal is simply to learn as much as I can.

I figure I’ll have a need on a future project to use my block plane to trim or smooth pieces of wood so I thought it makes sense to learn how to sharpen and use this plane before I need it.

-- Dom

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1153 posts in 1095 days


#6 posted 03-31-2014 10:19 PM

As everyone said that’s pretty normal. You didn’t say what the angle was.

Is this a low angle block plane? The lower you go the easier it is to cut endgrain.

And if you want to watch an interesting thing, watch this Japanese craftsman cut the most beautiful endgrain… Someone sent this out today on the REC.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/hjhTbePvyXc

-- Jeff NJ

View Don W's profile

Don W

17959 posts in 2028 days


#7 posted 03-31-2014 10:35 PM

End Grain will look look this.

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

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Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1409 days


#8 posted 03-31-2014 10:42 PM

That little asian guy is awesome. I would have turned that to a pile of fire starter before ever getting 1 single useable slice from there.

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Targa

117 posts in 1201 days


#9 posted 04-01-2014 09:10 PM

”Is this a low angle block plane?” To be honest, I really do not know since this is my first plane.

Don W, my end grain shavings do not look anything like the ones in your photo. They are much smaller curly ones! The shavings in your photo look a lot like regular shavings to me. But what do I know, this is all new to me.

-- Dom

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WayneC

12642 posts in 3558 days


#10 posted 04-01-2014 10:11 PM

Some info to read…

http://www.woodmagazine.com/woodworking-tools/reviews/hand-tools-power-tool-accessories/low-angle-block-planes/

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

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WayneC

12642 posts in 3558 days


#11 posted 04-01-2014 10:14 PM

This is even better

http://www.leevalley.com/en/shopping/Instructions.aspx?p=33287

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

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WayneC

12642 posts in 3558 days


#12 posted 04-01-2014 10:24 PM

Examples of the difference. The top is a standard angle block plane with is bedded at 20% and cuts at about 45%. The bottom is a low-angle plane bedded at 12 degrees and cuts at 37 degrees.

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

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Targa

117 posts in 1201 days


#13 posted 04-01-2014 10:42 PM

WayneC, thank you so much for the insightful information.

Using the information and links you provided, tomorrow I’ll determine whether my block plane is a standard angle or low-angle plane. I’ll also carefully check the bedding and bevel angles to see if they are where they need to be.

I appreciate the help.

-- Dom

View Don W's profile

Don W

17959 posts in 2028 days


#14 posted 04-02-2014 11:34 AM

End grain requires a better sharpness. As Wayne mentioned, a low angle plane is best for end grain, but a regular angle that’s good and sharp will work. My bet is your almost sharp, but not quit. The back of the cutter needs to be flattened and polished as well.

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

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Targa

117 posts in 1201 days


#15 posted 04-02-2014 02:00 PM

I just checked out my block plane and the findings probably explain why I’m having difficulties trimming end grain.

My block plane is definitely not a low-angle plane. In fact, it’s probably a poor excuse for a standard block plane.

What I found was that the bed angle is 24 degrees (checked using my Wixey angle finder) and the bevel angle is 37 degrees for a total cutting angle of 61 degrees.

Obviously I can adjust the bevel angle, but not the bed angle. Since I’m just getting started in woodworking, it probably makes sense to purchase a good quality true low-angle block plane.

Therefore, what recommendations do fellow LJ’s have for purchasing a good quality low-angle block plane that won’t break the bank or get me in trouble with my wife?

Thanks for your help

-- Dom

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