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I will get this grain smoothed... I hope

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AndyG

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Hi All,

I'm currently working on building a coffee table. The build is going well, but I'm having some real trouble taming the grain of the surface.

The timbre is African Padauk (Yes, I was sucked in by the colour, and yes I subsequently found out that it's likely to end up a dirty gray, but that's a subject for another thread!!)

The problem is that the grain changes direction very frequently, so I'm getting a few inches of smooth planing, then a few inches of tear-out. I've tried attacking it with a 4 1/2 and a Low-angle Jack, the latter being more successful, especially when planing with a very serious skew. But I'm wondering if there is any other advice on how to get a nice flat finish.

With the LA plane (A LN 62) I'm using a very light cut with the mouth closed right up, and as sharp a blade that my honing skills can get.
I'm thinking perhaps a cabinet scraper might be the way to go. Is this an excuse to buy a scraper plane perhaps?? Either way, I really want to avoid having to resort to sanding.

Any advice would be really REALLY great.
Thanks
Andy

P.S. Wasn't sure if this post should go in General Woodworking, hand tools or finishes. It kinda seemed to apply to all...
 

Chris Knight

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A high cutting angle (eg 55 or 60 degrees) is usually the first attempted cure for exotics and difficult grain. These angles are easy to achieve with the right planes which are made/set-up for these angles. You can get the same effect with your LA smoother (a bevel-up plane), by regrinding the bevel at a steeper angle.

However, for a coffee table (only a small area really), I would just use a card type scraper. It will take you all of ten minutes with a properly sharpened scraper and will provide a surface that you only need to sand with a 220 and 320 grit for a fine finish. Don't spend money on a scraper plane at this point!
 

Philly

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Andy
Ah, Paduak! What an amazing colour when first milled-and that smell! Peppery or what!
I made a couple of items two years ago-they have got darker in colour, but are obviously red. Don't think you need worry about it going grey for quite some time!!!!
It can be very awkward to plane-I find a higher angle works better. Try grinding the blade on your #62 to a higher one-a combined angle of 60 degrees will plane pretty much anything. Other than that, try planing the areas that will plane with minimal tear-out and scrape the rest.
(I know you said you don't want to sand, but for some timbers its the only way :? )
Good luck and enjoy
Philly :D
 

Alf

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Chris Schwarz of PWW claims it's worth having a 80 deg (?) beveled iron and using a bevel up plane like a scraper plane. FWIW.

Cheers, Alf
 

MikeW

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Hi Andy,

I just finished a small wall display case in Paduak. I did have acceptable results with the LN 4.5--but ultimately the high angle smoothers from Steve Knight did the best with zero tear-out.

So I would try as Philly suggested and regrind to a higher angle--didn't think of trying that myself. #-o

As for the color change, Paduak I used on jobs several years ago have definitely darkened, but I think it even looks better now.
 

AndyG

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Thanks everyone for your replies. Well, it looks like I don't really have a reason now to justify a new plane. Oh well, I'm sure I'll find another reason pretty soon :wink:.

In fact, with a little more thought last night the idea of getting a York pitch frog for my 4 1/2 did cross my mind. But perhaps the 50 degrees still wouldn't be enough. However, using a new angle on my 62 is a great plan, though I think I'll order a new iron, rather than regrind the original one.

Any pointers on what sort of bevels to use. Seeing as the angle is so high, a single 60 degree bevel wouldn't be too long, and so hard to put on in one go. However, I guess a double bevel would speed up quick re-honing, perhaps a 30 primary and a 60 (70-80??) secondary, how does that sound?

It's nice to hear some encouraging words on the aging effects on the timbers colour. It is amazing, and I agree the smell is something quite special. That said, it does get everywhere. The filters on my new air filter have pretty quickly turned an interesting orange!! Mind you, rather it's there and not in my lungs... Never known a timber to have so many spellings either; padauk, padouk, paduak.... :?

Thanks again everyone, will let you know how I get on.
Andy
 

AndyG

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Aha... Almost fell into the bevel up trap :shock: , that secondary bevel will be minus the 12 degree frog angle...
 
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