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Hand-planing to thickness

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Pete W

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Could someone who's done this (as per the subject line) give me some tips on technique.

Even Tage Frid's book, from which I've learned much, is a little short on detail, and it's far better than most. The trouble seems to be hitting the marked thickness line - when concentrating on levelling the centre of the board I often find I've overcut too much on the edges. Would chamfering the edges to the right depth help as a first step?

Or is it just one of those things that takes much practice?

PS: Read today that Master Frid died recently. It was posted as sad news, but I couldn't find much sadness in it - he lived well into his 80s, had a great life, achieved wondrous things (many outside of woodworking) and enjoyed enormous respect and affection. I'd like to die having done half as much!
 

Chris Knight

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Pete,

I don't do much thicknessing by hand these days if I can help it but for what it's worth here are my two cents of things I find useful.

1. Use a cutting gauge to mark the lines or knife a marking gauge's lines a little deeper. This way, when you hit a line, you can see it from above, not just from the side as is the case with a pencil mark

2. Use a plane of the right size. If thicknessing a narrow piece and planing at say 45 to 60 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the workpiece, a long plane will overlap the edges so much that it is all too easy to put a camber on the work by pressure on the tote and front knob as they move over the edge so use a shorter plane or you just have to switch to planing along the grain - which you will do as you arrive at thickness anyway.

3. Depending how much you need to take off to achieve thickness, use a plane with the most agressive cut you can - a scrub plane if need be. You don't want to be planing forever - just more margin for error. Similar to the reasoning behind using a fairly agresssive cut rip saw for dovetailing.

4. I think chamfering the edges would just make matters worse.
 

Alf

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Pete,

What Chris says, by and large. Also Jeff Gorman has a little bit about using a gauged line but more as a footnote than anything, and there's some good stuff in this Old Tools thread (amongst others if you care to search for them). But as with so many things, a lot of it is practice. I must admit, most of the time I turn to the tailed apprentice 'cos it's better at this kind of stock dimensioning than I am. :oops: Although now I have a working scrub plane, I may start doing it just for fun... :wink:

I agree btw. I don't see Tage Frid's death as a time for sadness; better to thank your deity of choice for his life and contribution to woodworking I reckon. Hope he gets a good spot at a workbench in the afterlife. :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

Pete W

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Thanks to both.

I kind of assumed this operation was one for the machines, hence my question elsewhere about noise levels from planer-thicknessers :).

However, since a new roof for the garage workshop is my most pressing need (ruthlessly emphasised by the recent monsoon) the tool budget is going to be severely limited for a while. So it looks like I'll be getting a lot of practice!
 
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One important tip for this is not to use a regular marking gauge, with a pin scoring the wood. Instead, use a cutting gauge, or a marking knife (as suggested previously), or something like the TiteMark gauge (or cheaper equivalents - see APTC or Lee Valley). Reason for this is the pin in a regular gauge will leave a 'V' shaped grove, the centre of which is the required depth. Once you reach the feather edge on hand planing, it's all too easy to miss the centre of the 'V' and over plane. The cutting knife or cutting gauge leave a very noticeable shiny mark that's much easier to spot.

Once again, that non-tailed bearded wonder DC describes it all in vol 1, and also how to tune a regular pinned marking gauge to avoid the problem.
 

Pete W

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Just discovered a wonderful source of information on this and other hand tool tasks, and one which also covers another recent question of mine: which planes for which kinds of tasks.

It is a book, Traditional Woodworking Handtools by Graham Blackburn. Fantastic book, loads of detail on hand tools *and* techniques, nicely illustrated and well-written too :).

Hard to tell whether it's still in print (Amazon UK is somewhat confusing on the subject) but I picked up my copy a few weeks ago at a discount book fair for just £5. Now that's a gloat!
 

Alf

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Pete,

Hmm, I haven't got that one. Nice to know it's worth having. I've got Peter Korn's "Woodworker's Guide to Handtools" on order at the moment, so I'll try and remember to report on whether it's worth considering for the newcomer to The Slope.

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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In the recent L-N newsletter it mentioned that Rob Cosmans' new video is about to be released-preparing boards by hand. Obviously I haven't seen it but his other three are great.
Hope this of some help,
Philly :D
P.s. whats wrong with your thickness planer? :lol:
 

Pete W

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Alf,

In my ever-so-humble (and ignorant :)) opinion, the Blackburn book does seem to be a good 'un. He discusses at length and in detail the differences between rabbet, dado, plough, sash fillister and moulding and beading planes, and when you'd want to use each. Bench planes are well covered, too (naturally).

Although planes form by far the biggest part of the book, there's a lot on standard jigs like shooting boards, mitre boards, etc; a section on saws, another on chisels, and good advice on sharpening. Just about everything you could imagine really. And 400 handsome, hand-drawn illustrations :).

Philly,

I'll keep an eye open for that video - sounds interesting.

Oh, and I'm sure my planer-thicknesser is fine. Apart from the technical issue of it not being mine until I hand over the cash. Which I don't have :roll: :lol:.
 

Alf

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Pete,

Sounds good. Drat, and I'd sworn I'd lay off buying woodworking books for a while too... :( :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Pete W":47v69ar6 said:
Just discovered a wonderful source of information on this and other hand tool tasks, and one which also covers another recent question of mine: which planes for which kinds of tasks.

It is a book, Traditional Woodworking Handtools by Graham Blackburn. Fantastic book, loads of detail on hand tools *and* techniques, nicely illustrated and well-written too :).

Hard to tell whether it's still in print (Amazon UK is somewhat confusing on the subject) but I picked up my copy a few weeks ago at a discount book fair for just £5. Now that's a gloat!
Yes, it is still in print. You can get a signed copy directly from Mr. Blackburn. He also has the third book in his "Traditional" series available in a special prepublication offer.
One caveat on buying "Traditional Woodworking Handtools": please do not buy the Lyons Press version. I have one and I took it to a seminar Mr. Blackburn was giving. I asked him to autograph it and he informed me that Lyons Press had bootlegged his book and he does not get paid!
Gentleman that he is, he signed it anyway. I purchased his other books directly from Blackburn Books.
 

Pete W

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Well, my copy appears to be by Gramercy Books ("an imprint of Random House", it says here).

But thanks for the link - I may have to invest in one or two of his other titles.
 
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Newbie_Neil":1p3o2zjq said:
Hi Pete

I thought I'd remembered somebody doing this recently and I've just found the link https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1791&highlight=hand+plane+table

I'd send Bean a pm. He's a nice chap, even though he's from Leicester. :wink:

Cheers
Neil
Neil

Until last November I lived in Leicester and have to say that you are clearly mistaken. There are no nice people in Leicester now that I have left :wink: :lol:

Cheers

Tony

Now if I could just get this tongue out of my cheek
 

Bean

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Ere neil you know how to offend :wink:
I'm not from Leicester, I'm from Rothley which is just to the north of the centre of the universe......But in the middle of a wood desert.

Now any way what do you want or was there a question ?? :?

Bean
 

Pete W

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Hi Bean,

The question was mine, and had to do with hand-planing. As outlined in the original post, I've been having trouble planing to thickness.

So, if you have any tips, I'm all ears.

Pete
 

Bean

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Pete
I'm not an expert as you can tell by the length of time it took me to plane a table top flat. The table top was 2.5m x 1.1m.

The method I used is as follows

1. I made sure that my trestles were level and true.
2. I then placed my top upside down on the trestles and packed it up until it was approximately level, Then using a straight edge and a spirit level I marked the high spots on the wood, using the number of pencil marks to show relative heights,
eg 1 stroke is slightly high or 1 pass with the plane,
2 strokes for two passes with the plane and so on...
3. I then started planeing using a No. 4 and a No.5. Initially I used a no.4 smoothing plane and tackled the high spots by using the number of strokes as a guide to the no of plane passes required.
Once the top had lots of marks about the same ie the top was nearly flat I used the No. 5 Jack plane all over the top, to finally level off taking a fairly fine cut, checking frequently with my strait edge and level.

Once I had this side flat I turned over and repeated the above upon the top of the piece, taking measurements for thickness along the edges and relating that to the readings I was getting from my straight edge and spirit level.

Does this make sense :? If not post again or pm me and i will try to explain any points that confuse you. :D


Bean
 

Pete W

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Thanks Bean, that's very understandable :).

As for putting it into practice - that's something else. I think I just need a lot more time invested in mastering my tools.
 
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