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Best tool to square and straighten some 70mm posts

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jeztastic

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Hi, total noob here.

I have a lot of birch (I think) 1 metre posts about 70x70mm. I'm trying to make a Paul Sellers style workbench, and I need to get them square and straight. I've made a start with my jack plane, but I've realised how long it's going to take this way.

Would anyone recommend a cheap tool that will handle the initial rough straitening and flattening? I'm thinking one of those tabletop surface planer things you feed the bit of wood through and it pops out the other end? I'm afraid I don't know the name. Obviously I can then clean it up with a hand plane, but getting all the bows and twists out takes ages and I just don't have the time.
 

M_Chavez

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I thought the whole point of Paul Sellers style working was to take forever with hand tools and refuse to use machinery? :twisted:

Just kidding, quality hand tools, properly sharpened and set up are a dream to use.
Do you already have a workbench to plane the board on? What plane are you using? Is it sharp? Is it set up? Apologies if these questions are too daft. :oops:

Put the posts side by side and level them as if they were one large board perhaps?

Cheap machinery might disappoint you with the results. Best course of action would be to find somebody near you with a workshop full of "proper" machinery.
 

Ttrees

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Match two of them together and keep these aside, or use them clamped up to plane on.
Thickness them aswell to a consistent thickness, use a caliper like this, so you can check them
It along with the square will make the job easier, one of my most used tools,
I like the manual ones like these, recently I bought another one but with fine adjustment also,
this is not suitable for the job, and I'm sorry I bought it even if it was a reasonable price, its a pain in the a***e.
4269V_P.jpg

It won't take long to do after having a flat surface to work to using your hand plane.

You are not getting the best from your plane because you don't have a reference surface, and are chasing your tail.
This is what I'm hearing when someone mentions something along the lines that hand planing is slow or a whole lot of work.
You could also use a composite fire door if you have seen one locally in a skip for planing on.
So a reference surface, a square, vernier calipers and an angle poise lamp, along with your plane and sharpening gear is the tools you need.
Tom
 

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Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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jeztastic":3lv7guiu said:
Hi, total noob here.

I have a lot of birch (I think) 1 metre posts about 70x70mm. I'm trying to make a Paul Sellers style workbench, and I need to get them square and straight. I've made a start with my jack plane, but I've realised how long it's going to take this way.

Would anyone recommend a cheap tool that will handle the initial rough straitening and flattening? I'm thinking one of those tabletop surface planer things you feed the bit of wood through and it pops out the other end? I'm afraid I don't know the name. Obviously I can then clean it up with a hand plane, but getting all the bows and twists out takes ages and I just don't have the time.
Efficiency with hand planes comes from knowing what parts to plane and what not to plane.

Use a straight edge to determine the high spots and take them down first. Only then use a long plane to joint the length.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

jeztastic

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Thanks all.
I'm using a Stanley no. 5 and I am at the stage where I know what I am doing with it, more or less, working it out ad I go along. I'm new to woodworking but not completely new I suppose!

I have a large workmate style frame that I've put a worktop and small vice on, it works well enough for planing although I have to keep my foot on it. It's too low though, and I have a bad back, hence need for a proper workbench. I also have small children, so a whole weekend just planing is not an option. It's an hour or two here and there. I've straightened out 4 posts but it's taken weeks...

They're bearers from pallets so some of them need quite a lot taking off in places. They're also pretty rough on the outside, although nice and clean wood when planed. I could clean them up with a belt sander and take them to the local timber mer hamt to square up I suppose...

I'll look into planer/thicknessers, thanks for the advice. I'm not 100% sure it's the right solution yet.
 

Ttrees

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I find having a flat bench makes planing much faster as it covers the multiple errors that can accumulate trying to sort another error out
An hour or two here and there is more than enough time to get them right.
You need to butt that bench against the wall, or make some contraption for inbetween the temporary bench and the wall.
Shim the bench so its dead flat if you can, this can be checked with a flat piece of timber.

The best way of knowing you timber is truly flat, is to plane and thickness using that caliper, so that the timber is parallel along its edges.
Match this timber with another the same length, and compare the two together...
If both timbers are bowed they may well sit together with no gap, but flip one around and it will double the error, so still could be way out of flat.
Shim your bench so you have some sort of bearable tolerance.

Sounds like you could do with another plane, I find the no. 5 1/2 my preference, a different beast to a 5 if you haven't held one before.
I'd use the 5 for a heavy cut, and the other lesser so.

Not too sure what accuracy you can get with a thicknesser, if the stock is not surfaced to begin with...
Probably could make a fancy adjustable sled for it somehow , but that would take time and would wonder if you might run out of capacity if you had a sled.
Some of those lunchbox thicknessers likely makes a hell of a scream if they have brush motors.

A reasonably priced Planer thicknesser should be mentioned, so here's my take on it...
VFD's for planer thicknessers seem complicated to set up, from what little I have read about them, compared to a single motor machine like what most woodworking gear has.
(I do hope someone proves whats written above, [inot to be the case][/i] on this someday :wink: )
Should you find an affordable one locally it would be the proper job, but would probably need fixing up and money sunk into it also.

A surface planer might suffice,
I've never seen anyone surface four sides with one though.
You could get a nice 3 phase one locally, for about say less than 200 pounds, and a vfd costs about 60 pounds to run a 2.2kw motor from a 13a household plug.
It wouldn't have the complications like what the infeed/outfeed rollers could have with a planer thicknesser.
If this could be anyway efficient on its own I can't say.

Tom
 

timber

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A piece of cake with a LOM lathe /mill
There must be one in your area.
I have two but up in Bedford too far away me;thinks
 

MikeJhn

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I only have a cheap planner thicknesser, working off a single phase 13amp supply, no VFD to complicate matters, with Arthritis in my hands elbows and shoulders and now days even my big toes, a hand plane is not an option, but I manage to get timber square in very short order, the essential pice of equipment is a decent chip extractor, as these things throw out a lot of debris.

Below shows an oak log after going through the band saw to start the process.

Log Band sawn.jpg


This after a few passes over the planner and then through the thicknesser.

A few pass's later.jpg
 

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M_Chavez

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Thinking back to the errors that I made when getting into woodwork a few years ago:

1) Not holding the work properly or work not properly clamped to workbench. (initially, due to the lack of a workbench!)
2) Plane blade as sharp as a screwdriver
3) Cap iron ignored
4) Starting with old Stanley planes - those old Stanley and Record planes really belong in the scrap metal bin if you ask me (I appreciate, some will disagree with me here, but realistically, if you don't already know how a plane should work, you won't get it set up correctly. Usual advice is to flatten the cast iron sole (ouch!), re-fit the frog to the bed, replace the blade with a Hock (£50?), enlarge the mouth to take the thicker blade etc - assuming you've never done any of these operations and you are not set up to do them, adding all the money spent + labour you can buy a couple of Veritas for that price!
5) Not using the right plane for the right job
6) Plane sole straight as a rollercoaster.

How about building your first bench out of pine boards from B&Q? Softwood is cheap and easier to work with and it will give you a great bench that you can then use to build a hardwood one - at least you'll have a proper worktop and clamping facilities and get to try out a design)
 

jeztastic

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To be clear, I don't have any major problems with my plane, my existing work surface or vice or my technique.

I do have all the tools people have suggested and have straightened some successfully.

I am just slow because I'm new to this and because I don't have much time. So I want to know if using a planer will save me time. Sounds like its a "yes but"... So perhaps I just need to keep practicing and be patient! I may give the timber merchants a quo k call though, they're in my village.
 

profchris

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I reckon your workmate's frame is a huge part of the effort this involves. They are springy, and so absorb the energy you put in to the plane.

Once I got a bench I was amazed how much easier planing was!

If you can somehow fix the frame to the ground and stop the top moving sideways as you plane, life will become so much easier.
 

M_Chavez

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"To be clear, I don't have any major problems with my plane, my existing work surface or vice or my technique."
Then squaring off a blank should really take just a few minutes.

Of course, a good surface planer and a planer thicknesser will save you a lot of time, but it won't be Paul Sellers style working and you won't be working with hand tools (which may or may not be what you're after).

phil.p - I'm sure that a well maintained and set up stanley will do the job just as well as any other plane. I do, however, wonder how many people have been put off wood working when trying to do something with an average garage-find neglected stanley...
 

jeztastic

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phil.p":2rmz9oza said:
If you're using a workmate, clamp a piece of timber in its jaws that reaches to a wall - at least you'll be pushing against something dead.
This is a really good idea. It's not actually one of those small workmates, it's a sturdier frame. I've removed the jaws and added a solid flat wood top with a small record vice on it. I can clamp a bit of wood to the top to butt onto the end of my shed.

The Stanley is well set up and sharp, I haven't flattened the sole, I checked it when I got it and it seemed fine.

These are 1 metre long 70mm by 70mm hardwood posts. I'll need at least 15 - 20 of them. I don't really understand why people are saying the problem is with my tools. Surely that's a lot of work even for someone experienced? That's got to be, I dunno, at least half a full working day for someone at professional level? I am learning as I go, and can only get in an hour or two here and there. I'd rather do it the Paul Sellers way, but I want to get this finished before autumn..

Please, tell me how long hand planing that much wood would take you? M. Chavez says a few minutes... Wow Maybe I just need to get practicing...
 
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