In the past I’ve tried to do something new in every project, a new type of joinery, using a new tool, pattern routing, etc. This is probably one of the first real projects in a while that I’ve made a conscious decision not to do that (because this way the project will be easier and go more smoothy, right? :-) ) That said, I can’t help but try out a few new techniques to better accomplish the same steps I’m familiar with along the way. Last time it was using the jig-saw to rough cut the parts to length. In this entry it’s using hand tools in combination with power tools to begin to shape the wood.
I’ve been inspired by others on here who have been restoring hand planes and decided to give that a try myself. I’ll post a blog about that later, but for now you can see I’m using a Stanley #5 jack plane I’ve almost finished restoring (I just need to do a better job sharpening the blade and chip-breaker). Several of he boards I’m working with have a bit of twist. Cutting them to rough length helps a bit, but they still rocked a bit more then I’d like. In order to try to reduce the rocking I found the more stable side, then identified the high corners. A few passes with the #5 on the opposing high corners helped takel the rocking out of each board.
One area I need to improve on it securing the board while I work on it with a hand plane. Some day I dream of a dead flat torsion box work surface with bench dogs and a pair of killer end and face vices. For now I settle for a cruddy quick release clamp. This really does not work well at all. The board wants to move on you all the time. I switched to using two clamps but even that is not ideal. Bench dogs are really the way to go. Some day. :-)
After that it’s time for a trip to the surface planer. (As much as I’m having a good time working with hand tools, I don’t see myself ever planing down big hunking boards by hand). I tend to really baby my Dewalt 734, taking very light 1/32” passes, and ideally finishing up with a 1/64” pass on either side of the board. This photo is a little deceiving. I had already surfaced the opposite side of the board and had just flipped it over to surface the cup facing up side.
And finally, here is all the surface planed wood loaded up on top of my table saw (maybe that wasn’t such a good idea, but she held it!). I find this part of a project quite exciting. You finally get to really see what the wood looks like (and if it will work well in the areas you imagined or not). Fortunately, as far as I can tell, I think things will work out quite well the way I have it all planned.