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First squared stock using handplanes

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Halo Jones

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I've just had a lot of fun using a no7 plane for the first time :D . After reading all about squaring stock in Robert Wearing's book I thought I would give it a go on a 3 foot length of walnut I'm going to use as part of a Christmas present. It did take me the best part of 45 min but I learned a lot as the direction of the grain changed at least three times along the length and the board was relatively badly bowed but I don't think I wasted any more wood than I should have (lost about 5 mm in thickness). Now having come indoors and rested for an hour or so I realise I must have been using my right arm more than my left. Is this normal or do I need to change my technique to use both arms more evenly?

H.
 

matthewwh

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You're on the black run now mate, with no brakes and the wind on your back!

The power comes from your right arm (assuming you are right handed) so it is natural that that one should be glowing a little more than the left. With timber that is significantly out of square you can save a heap of effort by taking relatively coarse shavings diagonally across the board. Hand planing legend Paul Chapman recommends a toothed blade for this work, the traditional alternative is one with a heavier camber.

If you have taken 5mm off using just a 7 end-to-end with stop shavings you have possibly worked a bit harder than necessary, the important thing though is that you have seen how incredibly accurate a surface you can produce with a hand plane and how much more intimate they are than power tools.

Welcome to the club!
 

Jacob

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No 7 is a bit big for basic planing. There is a bit of a myth about it, originating with the Barnsley lot, best ignored.
5 1/2 or 5 is better and would reduce your arm aches!
Basically you never plane anything until it has been cut to size according to your cutting list, plus planing allowance and slightly extra length to be on the safe side. Unless you are making very small components - then you might plane a board first (say 3ft max) before cutting to length.
 

Paul Chapman

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Halo Jones":ako74e39 said:
Now having come indoors and rested for an hour or so I realise I must have been using my right arm more than my left. Is this normal or do I need to change my technique to use both arms more evenly?
It's all about technique - not only how you plane but also how you set up your planes. I recently had to plane up a lot of reclaimed sapele



I started off using a toothed blade, set fairly coarse, and planing at 45 degrees across the boards



You don't have to use a toothed blade but I quite like them as they reduce tear-out - you could use a cambered blade. This gets the board more or less flat.

Then finish off with a plane set to take a fine cut



The best way to learn all this stuff is to do it and experiment as you go along. As your technique improves your arms will stop aching and you'll start to enjoy it :)

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

Pete W

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Two extra tips not mentioned so far...
1. Try using your legs to drive through the cut rather than relying on arms alone. It's a technique you'll need when you start working boards longer than 3ft.
2. Keep a bit of candle on the bench and scribble it over the bottom of the plane at regular intervals. Greatly reduces the effort required to push the plane. (Alternatives include all kinds of wax, pots of mutton tallow, etc, but I find a bit of candle easier and there's usually some around the house when you need one - a tea light works fine.)
 

ac445ab

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Paul Chapman":39qe3g22 said:
I started off using a toothed blade, set fairly coarse, and planing at 45 degrees across the boards



Paul
Ciao Paul,
the plane you are using in the pic is a bevel down type. Where do you find toothed blades for? Did they fit in a regular (Stanley-Record) mouth?
Thanks
Giuliano :D
 

Paul Chapman

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ac445ab":havss0ww said:
Ciao Paul,
the plane you are using in the pic is a bevel down type. Where do you find toothed blades for? Did they fit in a regular (Stanley-Record) mouth?
Thanks
Giuliano :D
Hi Giuliano,

The blade is made by Kunz and I bought it from Dictum in Germany http://www.mehr-als-werkzeug.de/product ... Blades.htm

The blade is good quality and works well. I found that it was necessary to modify the cap iron to prevent shavings from getting trapped. In order to move it back far enough I had to grind some from the end



The blade should fit without opening the mouth of the plane.

Hope this helps.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

ac445ab

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Thank you Paul.
The blade is not quite cheap but has the right thickness for moving more often my Stanley #6 from its shelf. :wink:

Ciao,
Giuliano
 

Fromey

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For a while now I've been discovering for myself how to prep boards using a No. 5 as my largest plane. I finally bit the bullet and bought a scrub plane. What a revelation! The scrub is a very satisfying planing experience. Followed up with the No. 5 and it's now becoming routine to prep boards from rough lumber. Come December I intend to add a No. 7 to the stable. I'm also tempted to get a toothed blade. My children will love making bird's nests out of the shavings.
 

Jacob

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Fromey":qlrcqkzb said:
For a while now I've been discovering for myself how to prep boards using a No. 5 as my largest plane. I finally bit the bullet and bought a scrub plane. What a revelation! The scrub is a very satisfying planing experience. Followed up with the No. 5 and it's now becoming routine to prep boards from rough lumber. Come December I intend to add a No. 7 to the stable. I'm also tempted to get a toothed blade. My children will love making bird's nests out of the shavings.
"Prepping boards" makes me wonder if that's what you are doing literally. It also gets called "prepping stock".
But in fact nobody should ever "prep stock" other than to saw it to length and width as dictated by the cutting list for the project. Then you plane the individual components one at a time. Except small components sometimes you might leave together in one piece say 3ft max length.
I mention this (often) because an old mate of mine set up a new workshop with a PT, bought a load of timber and set about "prepping stock" i.e. planing it square all round. A total fiasco - very difficult to do the longer boards without losing a lot thickness and the following morning everything straight was now bent etc, etc. Basically he destroyed about half his stock by "prepping" it. He was in tears by day three. He had been used to buying PAR but that is not how it's done in small workshops.
 

woodbloke

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Paul Chapman":i5v4vzwt said:
Halo Jones":i5v4vzwt said:
Now having come indoors and rested for an hour or so I realise I must have been using my right arm more than my left. Is this normal or do I need to change my technique to use both arms more evenly?
It's all about technique - not only how you plane but also how you set up your planes. I recently had to plane up a lot of reclaimed sapele



I started off using a toothed blade, set fairly coarse, and planing at 45 degrees across the boards



You don't have to use a toothed blade but I quite like them as they reduce tear-out - you could use a cambered blade. This gets the board more or less flat.

Then finish off with a plane set to take a fine cut



The best way to learn all this stuff is to do it and experiment as you go along. As your technique improves your arms will stop aching and you'll start to enjoy it :)

Cheers :wink:

Paul
Paul, can we see some pics of what that was turned into?..some chunky bits of stuff there - Rob
 

Halo Jones

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Thanks to everyone for the encouragement. My left arm also has a slight ache today so perhaps I wasn't too far out on my appliance of pressure and I was definitely moving my legs as I tripped on my lace at one point!

Jacob: I missed your point on your first post but totally got it on your second post and will keep it in mind (I waste enough time scratching my head never mind in planing and then replaning). My little project is being made of scraps and this piece was the thinnest and the most curved of parts that will jointed to make a board so thought that I should work out what the other pieces need dimensioned to.

I have a no.5 plane which I haven't used as the blade is a bit of a mess and I wanted to make shavings last night not sharpen a blade!, but take the point I should have started with that (although I did think a no.5 plane was the equivalent of a jack plane :oops: )

I'm not sure I will ever be a handtool fundamentalist (how slippery is that slope?) but during the week my time in the shop is only after I have the kids in bed and tidied up the dinner dishes and I do like my neighbours and want them to keep liking me so learning handtools will be important!

H.
 

Fromey

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Jacob, "prepping boards" probably wasn't the best terminology. I do cut down my wood to approximate dimensions before truing it up. No point in planing wood that will only end up being cut off and fed to the fire. I also understand that it will generally mean less wood needs to be planed off, although my usual problem is that I want lots of wood to be planed off (e.g., I start with 1.25" thick and I want 1" thick), hence my new love of the scrub plane.

As an aside, I noticed after scrubbing a longish board of beech (it's a shelf and of the approximate length!) that the texture it left was really quite appealing. Artistic if you like. Does anyone know of any contemporary furniture made with highly textured (after planing) surfaces? I was wondering how it would look after oiling or varnishing.
 
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