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How Necessary is a Specialised Scrub Plane?

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D_W

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got it. ECE sells that plane here, too, but I've never seen one. The primus planes are all over the place and little used.

I found a couple of vintage continental types on ebay and like them, though. Different orientation but a very practical plane without the adjuster that looks like it was designed by the automotive industry aftermarket shocks and struts companies.

Glad to see you back, by the way.
 

paulrbarnard

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I use mine a lot. I have a LN 40 ½
I don’t have a thicknesses or a jointer so all dimensioning is done by hand. I’ve been preparing a bunch of oak for a project and the scrub has seen a lot of use getting the rough boards flat and to thickness. The deep camber let’s you remove high spots and extra thickness very quickly. I then use a No 5 to remove the washboard finish. It’s a combination that works very quickly.
 

OldWood

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I'm not sure how to reference back to an earlier post partly relevent to this discussion so I'm just putting the URL


That post (mid August this year) was all about the re-creation of a Roman plane. Now at that point I had never heard of a scrub plane, and this current thread has re -inforced my opinion that at 78 I have not missed much and won't in future either. What is interesting about the Roman one, which that discussion described as a scrub plane, has a serrated cutting edge and to me a remarkably high blade angle. One can well understand that on those days such a plane would be a well required tool.
 

Jacob

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I'm not sure how to reference back to an earlier post partly relevent to this discussion so I'm just putting the URL


That post (mid August this year) was all about the re-creation of a Roman plane. Now at that point I had never heard of a scrub plane, and this current thread has re -inforced my opinion that at 78 I have not missed much and won't in future either. What is interesting about the Roman one, which that discussion described as a scrub plane, has a serrated cutting edge and to me a remarkably high blade angle. One can well understand that on those days such a plane would be a well required tool.
I'd never heard of the scrub either, until Lee Nielson started producing one a few years back. Then I spotted reference to "Bismarck" plane in Joyce which turns out to be the same thing (probably), with the name referencing European origin?
I'm interested in it because I've got a lot of old building timber to recycle - which was a very common practice in the old days and very noticeable if you work in old buildings - roof timbers with mysterious mortices, rumours of ships timbers etc.
Scrubs (or equivalents) must have been used a lot, by the Roman's as well, just a step up from the adze/axe, when timber was being riven rather than sawn in sawmills, or timber being used bushcraft style for log buildings.
Just had a look at Der große römische Hobel aus Oberüttfeld - it's a long bed scrub plane! Brilliant, and obviously very useful.
He's using it along the grain but the (un toothed) scrub works far better across. This is because lengthways means levering up and breaking out a thick straight grained shaving, but across the grain the shaving rolls more easily and comes out with less effort. Maybe the toothed version works better along the grain than untoothed
 
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D_W

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I'm curious regarding when it became fashionable for a 5 to leave smooth surfaces rather than scallops (aside from the site jack plane use where someone is flushing a joint where boards meet).

It sounds like a lot of people are using scrubs as a jack plane

(I had the LN plane, and a friend the veritas, or the other way around -I can't remember. Early on, we had this deal where when LV and LN came out with something, each of us would buy one and then we'd trade them back and forth to see which we liked better and then whoever really had a jones for one over the other would keep that one and the other would take the second. I bought the LN, ended up wanting the LV (it was easier to use like a jack as it's bigger and wider) and then ended up selling that after finding a stanley 40 to and also selling that in favor of the wooden jack
I'd never heard of the scrub either, until Lee Nielson started producing one a few years back. Then I spotted reference to "Bismarck" plane in Joyce which turns out to be the same thing (probably), with the name referencing European origin?
I'm interested in it because I've got a lot of old building timber to recycle - which was a very common practice in the old days and very noticeable if you work in old buildings - roof timbers with mysterious mortices, rumours of ships timbers etc.
Scrubs (or equivalents) must have been used a lot, by the Roman's as well, just a step up from the adze/axe, when timber was being riven rather than sawn in sawmills, or timber being used bushcraft style for log buildings.
Just had a look at Der große römische Hobel aus Oberüttfeld - it's a long bed scrub plane! Brilliant, and obviously very useful.
He's using it along the grain but the (un toothed) scrub works far better across. This is because lengthways means levering up and breaking out a thick straight grained shaving, but across the grain the shaving rolls more easily and comes out with less effort. Maybe the toothed version works better along the grain than untoothed
I don't believe any tooth planes were ever used for heavy removal, but more likely in single iron planes where breaking a chip to near finish a surface is desirable

(this is an obsolete idea now, but that doesn't keep modern boutique makers from pushing the idea along with things like steeper frogs.

I'd guess the bismarck planes were used either with really really soft woods, or more likely to do dimensioning while wood was wet (just as a lot of the simple single iron planes with really big mouths were used - wet wood allows sloppier use and is easier to deal with like that).
 

Hedjmunky

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I concur with woody2shoes the Veritas scrub plane is a joy to use, light enough for prolonged sessions and simple to adjust .
I recently used mine to finish off an octagonal post in Lelandii (non structural) ,loads of knots to contend with but work towards them and the scalloped grooves are very tactile, the metal sole marks just enough to show the high spots, A light sand with 320 and done.
 

Exluthier

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Lie Neilson advertise their 40-1/2 scrub plane (shown in one of their videos; ‘Lie-Neilson scrub plane’ will find it) as being designed not only for thicknessing but also for ‘cutting to width‘ as they put it, of stock. It’s a fairly high-exertion exercise, when compared with ripping it with a table saw, but a lot less noisy, which counts, from my point of view.
 

Jacob

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Lie Neilson advertise their 40-1/2 scrub plane (shown in one of their videos; ‘Lie-Neilson scrub plane’ will find it) as being designed not only for thicknessing but also for ‘cutting to width‘ as they put it, of stock. It’s a fairly high-exertion exercise, when compared with ripping it with a table saw, but a lot less noisy, which counts, from my point of view.
I was going to post that the ECE works brilliantly too (see posts above) but at less than half the price. I think I paid £50 or so, then I checked and Amazon have it at just under £200 inc pp!!
Bit of a con trick I think, will catch out just a few very casual buyers. You get the same with sought after books - if they haven't got it they put it in at £200 and if somebody is mad enough to order it they'll be on their bikes scouring the country for a copy, or just ring one of their mates.
73 euros here Scrub Planes with single Iron | FINE TOOLS
 
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Cabinetman

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I was under the impression that a toothed blade was used to prepare a surface for veneering to in the old days when thick veneers were normal. Ian
 

Jacob

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I was under the impression that a toothed blade was used to prepare a surface for veneering to in the old days when thick veneers were normal. Ian
Never used one myself but I've also heard that they are good for flattening difficult grain with less tear out. I suppose you'd finish with a very fine smoother or a scraper.
 

Cabinetman

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Never used one myself but I've also heard that they are good for flattening difficult grain with less tear out. I suppose you'd finish with a very fine smoother or a scraper.
No I think the idea is that it’s rough for the glue to easily grab hold of. I shall have to get my old books out.
 

profchris

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No I think the idea is that it’s rough for the glue to easily grab hold of. I shall have to get my old books out.
A toothed blade is used for both, or at least I would do if I ever applied veneer. The toothing for veneers is a little fine for working curly grain, but it still does the job.
 

D_W

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I was under the impression that a toothed blade was used to prepare a surface for veneering to in the old days when thick veneers were normal. Ian
It is. the segmented blades being offered by boutique makers now work about half as well (half as fast) as a cap iron, but most of the boutique makers either don't acknowledge that or they say that it's too difficult to learn.

I haven't ever come across an older toothed iron that was mostly blade with a few grooves vs. just as much groove as tooth (the latter being more for scuffing a surface to prep for gluing).

I have seen some replica planes or pictures of older planes (long before double iron) that have irons like that, but it's a modern fix for something that isn't a problem. Like "high angle frogs". Solve a problem by creating a bigger one.
 

D_W

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The key commentary is in the first part of that thread. Fear of tearout. That fear is now gone.

I have to admit that before I figured out how to use the cap iron effectively, I had high pitched planes and for some reason never bought a toothed iron, but I'd heard of it from LN and saw testimonials from people who used them.

But since then (and this is unrelated to the OP) , the most excited folks here in the states in regard to the toothed irons are people who just wanted to get them, try them, and they were happy that they worked. That creates a pretty low bar in terms of effectiveness. Dimensioning 100 feet of wood over a couple of projects puts effort into focus very quickly (and if the work is reasonably fine, adds an appropriate demand for planing right to a mark, and not short of it or past it).
 

Exluthier

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Never used one myself but I've also heard that they are good for flattening difficult grain with less tear out. I suppose you'd finish with a very fine smoother or a scraper.
I use a toothing plane (wooden one, made in Germany) both for keying surfaces which will be veneered, and for creating a glueing key on the non-visible side of joints in some hardwoods that might otherwise ’hold’ less well. A couple of gentle swipes diagonal to the grain will do the job, in the latter instance.
 

Bedrock

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Having sold my P/T before we moved, and not yet replaced it, I bought a European scrub plane for £12 and have to say I am totally converted. My plane has no maker's mark on the blade or body, but it works, so who cares. Seeing the prices Jacob mentions, I am even more pleased.
 

deema

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I have the LV scrub, the original question which is a dedicated Scrub necessary has to be it depends! If you do very little dimensioning of rough stock, then no. If you do a lot, then from having both modified a No4 and having the LV scrub I have to say yes.
The Scrub is lighter, narrower, and has a far stiffer blade which for deep cuts stops as much chatter reducing the effort required.
The scrub is for fast rough removal of stock, getting initial twist or bow out of stuff, hogging off 1/4” or any other such requirement. It’s not for refining the stuff.
Now, I have machines, so what do I now use mine for? Well if I have a 10 foot length of 5”x3” oak to plane straight and true then the scrub is my first weapon of choice to get it near enough before sticking it on the PT. Saves my back, arms and minimises the time taken.
A 4’ section of 3x2 just gets the PT as it’s easy to handle.
 

Nigel Burden

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A few years ago I won a bid for two coffin smoothers on ebay. I paid £4 for the two including postage. When they arrived the smaller of the two had a tighter mouth, but the single iron blade, no makers mark, and was useless. I bought a new, old stock blade from G & M Tools and it work s fine now. The larger plane had a very wide mouth so I cambered the blade, one cheap scrub plane to go alongside my no 4 that I bought at a car boot sale for £2. When I cleaned the no 4 up I could see that the edges of the mouth had cracked on either side. The previous owner must have been using it as a scrub plane judging by the camber on the blade. Both of these planes work well sa scrub planes though.

Nigel.
 

D_W

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I still think you guys are making life difficult for yourselves, but you're entitled to. I found out just by using one vs. the other for a while (jack vs. "scrub") but have since found that texts from the early 1800s and before describe no short planes with really coarse mouths for this work (because it's less productive).

If you search for Nicholson's "mechanic's companion", a description of bench plane is given. It starts at jack plane, lists doubled iron characteristics, 17" long, and describes the radius to be based on the difficulty of the wood worked (as in, go coarse if the wood is easy working - coarse and deep). No short planes.

The work done with initial dimensioning is to be done in the direction of the wood in lengths that equate to extended arms, moving forward to the next length if the board is longer than that - until done and ready for a trying plane.

If you're going to do this seriously, you owe it to yourselves to set up a coarse jack plane of the type (vs. a narrow metal plane) and see how much easier it is to do neat work as fast or faster than the coarsest short plane you can think of. The reason that it's not prescribed cross grain is simple - it feels good to take a big scoop cross grain, but if the grain is workable in the long grain direction, it's faster to work with the grain. You work with longer shavings and they're more continuous.

If this isn't believable, I'd propose:
* get a jack plane. use it for a while, set it up optimally for what you do in terms of rough work
* work some volume of wood from rough to finish with a jack plane, and then do the same with your scrub plane. Time it and see both how you feel in comparison and how long it takes

You'll be done faster starting with the jack plane every time. It requires getting comfortable with using the jack plane first - as in, the popular thing in the internet will be to buy one, use it for 10 minutes against something used for 3 years and then declare it not as good. That's not going to help you.
 
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