Hand Tools Archive


Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Most of the planed surfaces I deal with on a piece of furniture prior to finishing are generated by an industrial sized thickness planer. When it is freshly tuned up I can start with 120 and an air driven ROS. Otherwise its start at 100. A hand plane working properly for me is will the blade pick up a shaving and no tear-out.

David's metrics for a properly planed surface are something more refined than 400 grit paper. For the finishing schedules I use I rarely sand beyond 180 grit. Clearly our desires for surface off a hand plane are different.

I don't know what I would do with a surface as refined as David's goal. There is no way I can preserve it through the building process. I can't handle a 150 pound piece of furniture during the build (typical chest of drawers) without it getting some scuffs and the like. There are places where these scuffs could not be replaned in the finished piece. I always find myself going over the piece with 180 on a sanding block just before staining and then it is forge ahead without hesitation until a protective finish is in place.

For the record I have carbon steel blades in the planes I use, except in the shooting plane where the PMV11 blade gets dull about as fast as a carbon steel blade as best I can tell. The only 3V blades I ever made were for a Krenov style plane that I now never use. So I am sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if something better ever shows up for sale and watching David's work with great interest. Occasionally look at my jointer whose particle steel M2 blades get sharpened about every 5 years and wonder, what if.......

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