Hand Tools Archive

Re: Will you elaborate
Response To:
Will you elaborate ()

Wiley Horne
Hi Bill and al,

Truth in advertising: I may have already made my last piece of furniture and that was a few years ago, so I don't want to give a wrong impression. However I will speak in the present tense below.

What I actually do....I think in terms of starting with a fresh iron, and doing a module of work. What’s a module of work? You mentioned 3’ x 2’ table top. So there are three boards. Suppose starting from 4/4 rough-sawn, suppose no twist and minimal bow or cup...crosscut somewhat over long...Strategy is to get them flat enough to edge join, join and glue up, then plane flat and no wind. Two-stage planing is to hold as much thickness as possible.

Module 1: With a foreplane, plane one side of each board flat enough to go thru a lunchbox planer, skin the other side in the planer. There are now 6 edges to be jointed. Using the same foreplane, knock the high spots off the six edges to get the edges ready for the try plane. That’s a module for the foreplane: 3 sides more or less flattened and 6 edges readied for try plane. The plane isn't dull, but I’m going to sharpen before I use it again. I want to hear a singing sound when I start anything new. Dunno how many feet were planed, but it isn’t anything near 1,000.

Module 2, 3...With try plane, joint the six edges, two by two by two. Glue up. Go back to resharpened fore plane.....well, yadda yadda yadda...suffice to say the foreplane and try plane will get the two sides of the top flat, no wind, ready to smooth one side. That’s a module for the try plane. Smoothing one side will be a module for the smoother. It’ll be resharpened before starting another task.

Bill, just trying to give the idea of when I resharpen.

If I haven’t used a plane in a while and pick it up to do something important, it gets fresh sharpening without testing whether it’s already sharp or not.

I think I would only be interested in duration planing if (1) I were fully dimensioning from rough with no machine aid, or (2) if I were woodworking for a living in the 1800’s.

My bias I mentioned is simply that I’ve noticed that the singing sound of a fresh iron, and the eager pulling into the cut, fades on O1, 3V or M2 while the plane is still doing respectable work. That gives me the notion that the very best strokes on any iron tend to be fleeting, but I never truly test it because of the ‘module’ approach mentioned.

Notwithstanding all this blarney, I still am avidly interested in David’s findings, and in the mysteries of carbon steel, alloyed or not.


Six long-grain edges to be shot before glue-up.

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