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By Mr T
#1213391
Last weekend I taught my first ever ladies only beginners course to coincide with International Womens day. The course went well, although it did overriun slightly. This was mainly because of problems with mastering the plane, there is quite a lot of planing in the course. It's partly a problem with lack of upper body strength but also there seemed a problem with technique, just keeping the plane flat on the workpiece. I tried different planes and found that the low angle jack worked best. The LAJ is lighter than other planes of that size and also requires less strength to drive.

I wonder if others have any veiws on the best plane for a woman.

Some might also want to comment on whether a cambered blade would be better for a woman :D

Chris
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By custard
#1213422
There are more and more women taking up cabinet making and training to a professional level. I've met a few and very fine craft workers they are too, by and large I've never noticed they use tools any differently to their male counterparts. But these are younger, fitter women.

If your ladies Chris were elderly hobbyists then I can see why a low angle jack might help at the beginning, and that's probably also true for a lot of elderly male hobbyists.

I suspect that a traditional 04 or 04 1/2 isn't the best plane to learn with because there's so little sole in front of the cutting edge. When I see people planing for the first time they often fail to plant the plane firmly on the workpiece before commencing the cut, so end up massacring the first inch of the board, the equivalent of machine snipe but with a hand plane! So I agree, a slightly longer but still fairly light plane makes a lot of sense.
By D_W
#1213430
Standard planes. Where are the people who were hassling me last week?

The ladies are a perfect candidate for learning to use a cap iron early to keep the plane working smoothly through wood rather than crashing in and out of the cut.

If they are slight, keep the cut thickness down, camber slightly increased and wax handy.
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By MikeG.
#1213438
D_W wrote:Standard planes. Where are the people who were hassling me last week?


Here, because.....

The ladies are a perfect candidate for learning to use a cap iron early to keep the plane working smoothly through wood rather than crashing in and out of the cut........


Your same old hobby-horse. You may be right, but it's irrelevant. Bring this sermon up when it is in context.
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By Mr T
#1213439
Sheffield Tony wrote:I thought Womens' day was supposed to be about "gender parity" ? That went well then.


Me no understand!

Chris
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By Mr T
#1213443
D_W wrote:Standard planes. Where are the people who were hassling me last week?

The ladies are a perfect candidate for learning to use a cap iron early to keep the plane working smoothly through wood rather than crashing in and out of the cut.

If they are slight, keep the cut thickness down, camber slightly increased and wax handy.


Actually I find that a close set cap iron, while it gives a fantastic cut, means you have to use more effort to drive the plane which you want avoid if you lack upper body strength.

custard wrote:There are more and more women taking up cabinet making and training to a professional level. I've met a few and very fine craft workers they are too, by and large I've never noticed they use tools any differently to their male counterparts. But these are younger, fitter women.

If your ladies Chris were elderly hobbyists then I can see why a low angle jack might help at the beginning, and that's probably also true for a lot of elderly male hobbyists.

I suspect that a traditional 04 or 04 1/2 isn't the best plane to learn with because there's so little sole in front of the cutting edge. When I see people planing for the first time they often fail to plant the plane firmly on the workpiece before commencing the cut, so end up massacring the first inch of the board, the equivalent of machine snipe but with a hand plane! So I agree, a slightly longer but still fairly light plane makes a lot of sense.


I often have women on my courses, perhaps about 20% of my students are women and I have not noticed they this problem so much before, they often out perforrm the men on the course. It just seemed they all had problems this weekend. I agree about the No. 4, one of the biggest problems for the inexperienced is starting the cut, the short end on the No. 4 does not help. The standard plane in my bench kits is the 5 1/2.

Chris
By Mrs C
#1213449
I personally find a 5 easier than a 4 as mine feels better balanced, but that might just be me! I think that bench height has more to do with it than the plane itself (oh, and not to mention the concept of getting it sharp, but best not go there!).

Where I have really struggled is planes meant for one handed use such as block planes as my hands just aren't big enough.
By D_W
#1213472

Actually I find that a close set cap iron, while it gives a fantastic cut, means you have to use more effort to drive the plane which you want avoid if you lack upper body strength.
Chris


Hi Chris - that'd be described as setting it too close. Setting it a notch just back from that is productive. The effort of planing is little more, there is no interruption in the cut, any minor tearout that occurs will be small, and the plane requires less downforce.

Trust me, it's less. It's good practice for everyone.
By D_W
#1213473
MikeG. wrote:Your same old hobby-horse. You may be right, but it's irrelevant. Bring this sermon up when it is in context.


I think you know little about planing and you're willing to stay that way. That doesn't mean everyone else wants to remain ignorant, though. Keep that in mind.

If you think that it's a peripheral issue (using a cap iron to make planing easier), then I could probably teach a rank beginner to outwork you in two weeks. That is almost as pitiful as your attitude.
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By Tasky
#1213479
Mrs C wrote:I think that bench height has more to do with it than the plane itself

I agree with Mrs C... which sounds like a campaign slogan- "I Like Ike", sorta thing. :lol:

As you may know, I've been struggling a bit with learning to use my planes on low sawhorses, but I did let my wife 'have a little go' on my 4 and 5 when she came in to see how I was getting along.
She's notably shorter than me (and has a bit more bodyweight, but we won't go there), so was able to get behind the plane and shove it better than I could with my lanky gibbon arms.
Same concept as Mrs C's bench height, but bringing the woodworker down to height rather than the bench up to it.

Incidentally, also the exact same concept as the body mechanics behind delivering a hook punch to the ribs or kidneys in boxing - that's something else I'm usually too tall for, but at which my shorter wife absolutely kicks buttocks at!!

I'm starting to wonder if *I* should be watching TV and cuddling up with the dogs, while my wife freezes her backside off working wood in the garage...!!

Mrs C wrote:Where I have really struggled is planes meant for one handed use such as block planes as my hands just aren't big enough.

The wife also has smaller hands, so did well with both bench planes, whereas mine still ache.

Felicitously, the latest blog from Paul Sellers is all about Hannah, a young lady who has been working with him for a year (as an intern, I think) and done exceedingly well. He's blogged about her before and is always gushingly proud of her achievements, but she bloody well deserves it. She's absolutely fantastic.
Thing is, she's so thin and scrawny, you'd think she'd snap if you breathe too hard around her... but she can clearly handle a plane more than well enough!!

So I guess it's again down to body mechanics, at least a big part of it, anyway.
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By Ttrees
#1213481
Tasky wrote:
Mrs C wrote:I think that bench height has more to do with it than the plane itself

I agree with Mrs C... which sounds like a campaign slogan- "I Like Ike", sorta thing. :lol:

As you may know, I've been struggling a bit with learning to use my planes on low sawhorses, but I did let my wife 'have a little go' on my 4 and 5 when she came in to see how I was getting along.
She's notably shorter than me (and has a bit more bodyweight, but we won't go there), so was able to get behind the plane and shove it better than I could with my lanky gibbon arms.
Same concept as Mrs C's bench height, but bringing the woodworker down to height rather than the bench up to it.

Incidentally, also the exact same concept as the body mechanics behind delivering a hook punch to the ribs or kidneys in boxing - that's something else I'm usually too tall for, but at which my shorter wife absolutely kicks buttocks at!!

I'm starting to wonder if *I* should be watching TV and cuddling up with the dogs, while my wife freezes her backside off working wood in the garage...!!

Mrs C wrote:Where I have really struggled is planes meant for one handed use such as block planes as my hands just aren't big enough.

The wife also has smaller hands, so did well with both bench planes, whereas mine still ache.

Felicitously, the latest blog from Paul Sellers is all about Hannah, a young lady who has been working with him for a year (as an intern, I think) and done exceedingly well. He's blogged about her before and is always gushingly proud of her achievements, but she bloody well deserves it. She's absolutely fantastic.
Thing is, she's so thin and scrawny, you'd think she'd snap if you breathe too hard around her... but she can clearly handle a plane more than well enough!!

So I guess it's again down to body mechanics, at least a big part of it, anyway.

Tasky
Just have a look round for the nearest skip you can find, you will probably find some blocks to jack those sawhorses
up a bit.
Incidentally. you stand a good chance of finding a fire door aswell, along with some more bits that might be handy.
Look around some hotels, pubs or the dump