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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 08-02-2014 06:32 PM 706 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CharlesA

1437 posts in 454 days


08-02-2014 06:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut plane milling

I need two 12” wide walnut pieces for the project I’m working on, one 1bout 5’ long and one 18” long. I don’t use lots of walnut, so I only needed two 8’ boards for this. The woodworking store nearest me (Bargain Supply) was unexpectedly out of walnut, and they haven’t called to say they have more in. So I called Woodcraft—one short board, $12 bf! So I made arrangements with the closest sawmill when someone would be around (I hate to make them go through the trouble to meet me for a few boards). They had some boards, but pretty picked through. I could only find 3 boards I was willing to buy.

After milling them, I glued them together. One had very straight grain. The other was a bit more varied in grain, but nothing that jumped out at me. The straight board planed like a dream with my smoothing plane. See the shavings—makes me think I had it set up pretty well.

On the other board I kept digging in with the plane and then planing more to try to correct the damage. I adjusted the blade for a shallower cut, but that usually meant no shavings at all. I finally just went to the ROS to clean things up.

I tried planing from different directions, at angles, etc., but every time it would dig in somewhere. What am I doing wrong?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson


17 replies so far

View JohnChung's profile

JohnChung

255 posts in 731 days


#1 posted 08-02-2014 06:40 PM

What is your effective angle of the blade? Generally a dig in means that there is tearout. In this case you
would need to skew the plane at areas that are causing the tearout or use a blade with a higher effective angle.

Check out skewing the plane and how to create a higher effective angle of the blade. In short the hand plane can definitely produce a surface without much cleanup like the ROS.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3455 posts in 2617 days


#2 posted 08-02-2014 06:42 PM

What plane are ya using, sharp big time?
I have found that some boards just don’t want to be planed well unless all criteria is met.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

1437 posts in 454 days


#3 posted 08-02-2014 06:46 PM

this is a recently sharpened Stanley smoothing plane, #4. I tried going at it from different angles, but John, you’re saying trying different skewing angles as well?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3365 posts in 1470 days


#4 posted 08-02-2014 06:52 PM

There is a whole science to plane setup. Mouth openings (assuming your plane is adjustable) and a chipbreaker set close to the cutting edge are two keys. 1+ skewing the plane for less tearout. Also using your hand to assess the grain direction and plane accordingly.

That said, I have had MUCH better luck using my power planer. An 8” board can be skewed slightly in a 12-13” planer. Dampen the surface slightly with water on the last pass, and pay attention to grain direction.

Good luck with it.

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

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CharlesA

1437 posts in 454 days


#5 posted 08-02-2014 06:54 PM

No adjustable opening. I just set the chipbreaker pretty carefully.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Loren's profile

Loren

7567 posts in 2305 days


#6 posted 08-02-2014 07:01 PM

Is your chipbreaker honed and polished as well as your
iron?

It should be set very close, less than 1/64” I would say,
for difficult wood.

Be wary of fooling yourself about how sharp your iron is.
That’s easy to do.

There’s also double-bevel sharpening, but getting that
chipbreaker dialed-in is what I would do first.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

1437 posts in 454 days


#7 posted 08-02-2014 07:02 PM

I have not honed and polished by chipbreaker. Guess I need to look into that. I’m pretty sure it is set well, but I can check that.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Loren's profile

Loren

7567 posts in 2305 days


#8 posted 08-02-2014 07:08 PM

The back edge of the chipbreaker needs to be sharpened to
an angle so there’s relief when it is tensioned against the
iron. If the angle is not enough, the front edge of the
chipbreaker won’t form a tight seam against the iron and if
it doesn’t it won’t work properly. The curved top edge
should be honed and polished as well. This helps shavings
not to break off and instead they curl. Maybe this helps
get a better cut, maybe not, but I think it may contribute
to a smoother feel when planing.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

1437 posts in 454 days


#9 posted 08-02-2014 07:49 PM

I did clean up the edge on the chipbreaker when I got this (used), but I can’t say I honed it like I did the blade.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Loren's profile

Loren

7567 posts in 2305 days


#10 posted 08-02-2014 09:03 PM

Sometimes too there is not enough tension in the chipbreaker
curve. This is simple to fix generally by clamping the edge of
the chipbreaker and using the long end to lever the curve
a little tighter.

I don’t exactly hone my chipbreakers unless I’ve just being
weird. What I do it stone them up to about 1000 grit
on both sides and make sure there’s no wire edge. I
might buff the top with jeweler’s rouge. Then I use
paste wax if I remember.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

15037 posts in 1224 days


#11 posted 08-03-2014 12:24 AM

I polish the chip breaker on my planes. It makes a difference. Skewing the plane helps as well. You can also help control your depth of cut with the pressure you apply to the plane.

You will however find some grain that is just difficult to plane. That’s why they make high angle planes and scrapers.

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

View JohnChung's profile

JohnChung

255 posts in 731 days


#12 posted 08-03-2014 03:19 PM

@CharlesA: Skewing the angle of the plane does help on tearouts.

Here are the list of items I do:

1) Set the chipbreaker close to the edge of the blade. This will break the shavings quicker.
2) The depth of cut is shallow. Thicker shavings can cause very nasty tearouts.
3) Skew the plane at problematic areas. mark this area with chalk or pencil. You can change the planing action with the grain direction. Just angle the plane against the grain at that problematic spots. You can’t plane from end to end when there is grain reversal. Straight grain : planing along the grain. Grain reversal: skew the plane or turn the plane around and plane the other way. Skewing generally is enough.
4) If all fails above start using an iron with higher effective angles. With high E.A the plane would be harder to push.
5) Tighten the mouth. If the depth of cut it deep this would help. But if the cut is shallow this does not affect it much.

As for the chipbreaker, if the shavings are not caught underneath it then it is fine. From what I gather the wood you are planing has grain reversal.

Check Paul Sellers on planing tips:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10RPOPBTwZA&list=UUc3EpWncNq5QL0QhwUNQb7w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m231_HKCOWs&list=UUc3EpWncNq5QL0QhwUNQb7w

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1377 posts in 840 days


#13 posted 08-03-2014 04:40 PM

Yeah, sometimes you just get one of those boards that is a pain. A perfectly tuned plane going the correct direction still means tearout.

If you have an extra blade, you can add a slight back bevel to it to increase the effective cutting angle. So a 10-ish degree back bevel on a typical blade would make the effective cutting angle 60 degrees. As John mentioned above, that makes it harder to push but usually works much better on difficult or highly figured grain that is tearing out.

Going one step further, you can use a scraper plane or cabinet scraper. This essentially eliminates all tearout, but is mostly good for final smoothing, not dimensioning.

What I usually do in these situations is do initial dimensioning to rough size, accepting that there will be some tearout, and then use a high-angle plane to get it close to final, with a final scraping pass.

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

View Tim's profile

Tim

1270 posts in 618 days


#14 posted 08-03-2014 05:19 PM

No adjustable opening. I just set the chipbreaker pretty carefully.
- CharlesA

The opening isn’t adjustable on a #4 but you can move the frog forward to achieve nearly the same thing. Also a $3 buck brothers blade from a big box store is a good way to try out a back bevel without ruining a good vintage blade or whatever.

I adjusted the blade for a shallower cut, but that usually meant no shavings at all.
- CharlesA

That’s just part of the deal with fine shavings. The finer the shaving the less tearout but the more shavings you have to take. Find the high spots, hit those and eventually you’ll be able to get it flat. Ideally you do want to switch planing directions to go with the grain, but when it switches several times in a few inches that’s not too realistic. That’s when finer cuts, skewing, higher effective angle, etc comes in.

View mantwi's profile

mantwi

312 posts in 553 days


#15 posted 08-03-2014 05:50 PM

You might try wetting the wood to soften it up a bit, this will help to offset the brittleness that causes the tear out. I know it works on end grain and it might work just as well on the long grain. If you use water just be sure and use a blow dryer to remove the moisture from the tool when you are finished. You can also use mineral spirits and eliminate the risk of rust on your hand plane. The moisture both tightens and softens the wood which will prevent the fibers from breaking off ahead of the cutting iron.

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