Hand Tools Archive

a day of planing in my shop *PIC*

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Once when I was extolling the virtues of "infinite" edge life W.Pan asked in exasperation whether I was Superman. Didn't I need the break offered by the need to sharpen? I realized we lived in different worlds.

I was recently fitting coped M&T joints. Ideally, the front and back (back towards viewer) intersections mate perfectly. Anticipating not ideally, I work to ensure the back comes together at the same time or before the front show intersection. If the back is tight and the front has a tiny gap the joint is rendered perfect by shaving the back surface until both front and back mate coincident. At most a few or as few as 1 shaving is taken. Surface quality irrelevant. If the plane picks up a shaving the operation is a success.

Once the joints are assembled into a door it is common for me that the stile and rail are off-set more or less. A few passes with the plane is the best way to level the joint. If the plane picks up a shaving, and there is no tear out- success. It will all be sanded before staining.

Cases are assembled with half tails. If the tail is tight it is thinned by removing shavings until the fit is perfect.

These are three examples of operations critical to a good fit and certainly not demanding of plane or planer. Annoyance is getting part way though any of them and having the plane become too dull to pick up a shaving. Given the piddly, but critical, amount of planing I do, it would be grand to get though the entire project without the need to sharpen till the piece is done. Then put everything in perfect order to begin the next project with confidence unexpected dulling would not show up to spoil the day. .

The apparent 2X shaving lifting edge life David found for some blade steel over others is a huge advantage to me.

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