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Hand Plane vs Electric <grin>

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Adam

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Now, I am aware of which forum I'm in but as its a free for all, well, I couldn't resist.

I got a second hand elcetric plane (hitachi) and due to some damage, and having to order some new parts, and it being christmas I only got it going this evening.

It's got brand new blades on it and all I can say is wow! the finish is absolutely fantastic. So that got me thinking - how much better is the best hand plane, over an electric plane?

Or in tearout situations, would an electric plane be better than a handplane?

I open to the floor (or ALF) for comments?

Adam
 

Jeff

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Well if what most people say is true I think a LieNielsen will win hands down every time. Don't think I'll ever know I can only dream of a LieNielsen. I would probably only wreck it anyway.
:lol: :lol:
 

Gill

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Hi Adam

In tearout situations I've yet to find anything to compare with a Stanley #80, unless it's a scraper. Both have succeeded in polishing wildgrain yew for me after electric machines and conventional planes have exacerbated the problem.

Yours

Gill
 

Midnight

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Adam
I'd agree with Gill. Only difference is that I use a 112 scraper. That said, the York pitch frog fitted in the 4 1/2 has virtually eliminated the tear out I was getting in highly figured Elm.

As for how much better... well (I'm probably gonna get fragged for this but) a tuned Stanley will give a far better finish than any electric planer ever could. The difference is in how they make the cut. Any rotary action plane will leave minute scallop shaped intentations in a board. They're probably too fine to feel but if you angle the board in the right light you'll see them as a series of horrizontal parralel lines. A hand plane should leave a smooth and perfectly even finish. Better quality planes (apparently) give a far better finish.
 

Alf

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Mike has put his finger on it. That's why it's a mistake to use a piece of timber straight from the P/T too. In our house there's an RSJ clad with pine straight from the planer and everytime I see it I grind my teeth at the ridges that catch the light all along it. Tricky to hand plane a ceiling though... Having said which, you can get ridges parallel with the track of the plane from the camber or corners of the blade, so <gasp> even hand planes aren't perfect. :shock:

Cheers, Alf

P.S. Electric? Wassatden? :lol:
 

gidon

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Aren't those ridges you're seeing from having your planer blades set fractionally too high - the wood then bounces over the blades? This setting also depends on whether you're planing hard or softwood.

I'm really enjoying getting more into hand tools - I think a well tuned hand plane does get a nicer finish than my Scheppach p/t (don't have a hand electric planer) - but to be honest there's not an awful lot in it. It depends very much on what your standards are and what you're making. And how much time you have! I've been very pleased with furniture I've made without any hand planing or scraping - just sanding to 240 grit. Of course it could be a lot better! But then it would probably still be sitting in my shed unassembled! As it is it gets used everyday.

Cheers

Gidon
 

Adam

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Out of a P/T yes, I know and can see the "ridges" that are caused by the blades, but last night, taking the cut very slowly and with the hand-electric planer with new blades, after finishing a cut, and holding it up against the light I couldn't see any ridges at all - and that surprised me.

So, presuming you can take a pass with an electric plane, slowly, and at that point the ridges are invisible to the human eye - does that still make them worse than a hand-plane?

I think I need to do another test tonight and plane a piece of rough stock, from one end with a hand-plane and the other with the electric plane. And yes, my hand plane is super sharp at the moment, so it is a like-for-like test.

Will report back!!

A_L
 

Gill

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asleitch":3vqmrtcr said:
I think I need to do another test tonight and plane a piece of rough stock, from one end with a hand-plane and the other with the electric plane.
Hi Adam

At the risk of being accused of trying to teach my granny how to suck eggs, I hope you make sure that you plane with the grain with both planes! I'd also suggest that you use a nice, figured piece of stock :twisted: .

Yours

Gill (who's a happy bunny now that Screwfix have just delivered a new 1850w Erbauer router and is off to play in the workshop :D )
 

Adam

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OK, my fault, I never even thought someone would presume otherwise :eek: so .....yes I will be going with the grain. :roll:
 

Adam

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http://www.geocities.com/asleitch/wood/ ... laning.htm

Answers please on a post card, or in here will do......

Left or Right? (with reasons).....

Adam

Apoligies for the website - if you can call it that - it's the best I could manage between getting home late, conducting the experiment, taking photos, eating, having a pint :lol: (after I was back in the house), transferring the pictures to the PC, creating a website, finding a random site to put it on, and uploading it. Then remembering unix doesn't recognise capital letters, so editing all my HTML code manually to fix the filenames. Yawn. And taking some pictures to put with my review of the Scheppach TS2500 on SawDustAlley site......
 

Gill

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Hi Adam

I'm guessing that the machine planed the left hand side. There seems to be some scalloping and rather more tear-out than the timber on the right hand side.

That said, I am grossly overdue a visit to the optician :) !

Now, all you need to do is run another test, this time with a scraper plane or hand scraper thrown into the mix :wink: .

Yours

Gill
 

Adam

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>That said, I am grossly overdue a visit to the optician !

That's cheating, choosing one then adding a statement which covers you in the event of it being the other. Although blurry, the giveaway is at the bottom of the pictures. Go have another look!

A_L
 
A

Anonymous

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Adam,

My understanding is that the power plane was designed for jobbing carpenters as a fast way of removing stock to leave a reasonable finish. I've never heard of them used for anything remotely resembling fine furniture work.

When I see an article in FWW or F&C about the use of tailed planes to achieve a final finish on a cabinet, I'll reconsider my decision to not buy one yet. But by then all my hand planes will be worthless as everybody will be getting rid of them in the race to the nearest Bosch/Makita/etc stockist...

Interesting test too - I'm not sure that the photo is enough to tell the difference with. I tested my LN LA smoother on some cat's paw oak (lots of small knots and swirly grain) against a decently setup old Stanley #5 and a sharp Clifton #3 over Christmas. There's no way that a photo could tell the difference, but a quick brush over with my fingertips told a very different story. The finish from all of them was pretty good, but from the low angle LN was very nearly good enough to finish, and I couldn't make out anything you could call tearout. Considering the number of knots and a complete grain reversal around them, this was quite an achievement.

Cheers,

AG
 

Philly

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Hey All,
Just to add another opinion-if you sand through the grades after the timber comes out of the planer/thicknesser you remove the mill marks. Mind you, if the wood is friendly, i.e. not some crazy grained hardwood, a swipe with a finely set plane is way cleaner, more satisfying and leaves a beautiful surface.
Bottom line, whatever your working methods there is no excuse for leaving mill marks on your "fine furniture"!
regards,
Philly
 
A

Anonymous

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Probably the easiest way to show up the difference between a hand plane finish and a machine planed one, whether a dedicated table type or hand held, is to apply a high gloss finish to it. No matter how fine the ripples, they may defeat the naked eye and even touch in the raw, but with light bouncing of the peaks and troughs left by the cutter block once it has been polished, you will soon wish you had put a hand plane, scraper or sanding block over it!

Andy
 

Gill

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Hi Adam

If you reserve the right to embarrass me in public then I reserve the right to cheat :) ! I'm quite capable of embarrassing myself without anyone's help, thank you very much :? .

Looking at the piccies again, you've aroused my suspicions that there might be some snipe on the right hand photo, which is very difficult to produce with a hand plane. As AG says, it's difficult to tell from photographs.

To be honest, both finishes appear to be of a similarly high standard and either would be acceptable to most woodworkers. It's just that I think anyone who is seeking the finest finish of all really ought to look at hand scrapers or scraper planes.

Yours

Gill
 

Adam

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I will apply some oil, to try and emphasise the surface.

Nontheless, I think I stand by by original assertion that, an electric plane, with new blades, at low forward speed provides a superb finish. I mean honestly, if I have to oil it, to see the difference, it's getting pretty close? If nothing else, could it mean you could go straight from electric plane to scraper and cut out the hand plane altogether? I say this partly in jest, as I did try to indicate in the photographs that the safety gear, and the hassle of the electric plane means for small areas the setup doesn't outweigh the benefit of fast stock removal.

However, given the majority of manufacturers are no longer actively developing hand tools, or perhaps to say it another say, the most active area of R&D seems to be in power tools, we have manufacturers offering TS blades which offer "glue" ready finishes, - my test shows a power plane is pretty smooth - I know in the trade, the use of hand tools has dwindled as they find a power version to do every task they need - but surely this will creep into professional cabinet makers and enthusiasts as the difference in finish gets less and less?

Good news for collectors (cough cough ALF) as more stuff becomes redundent?

Adam
 

Adam

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>If you reserve the right to embarrass me in public then I reserve the right to cheat

Ahh, well, I haven't actually yet said which side is machined and which is hand planed, I'd like to see what other folks say. You need to look closely!

A_L
 

Adam

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So thats 1-1, ..... come on everyone else.....!

A_L
 
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