Hand Tools Archive

Surface quality from the plane question

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Throughout the planing discussions are statements of planed surface appearance, sometimes described in subtle detail, and being the goal of planing successfully.

The recent discussions have been coincident with building a corner cupboard. And they have got me to thinking about planing and how it fits into my building stuff. Planed cherry is lustrous and pretty, but I don't know how to use this fact. As I apply the last coat of varnish to the project I am left concluding that surface appearance from the plane is irrelevant to me, so long as there isn't tear-out.

But this conclusion got me further thinking where is the surface from the plane significant? It must be to some, because it keeps coming up. Is it irrelevant to me because of what I build, or how I build it or how I finish it or all of the above? Or, because I am missing something I should have known about when building a corner cupboard?

Looking at my finished product I don't see where the surfaces David describes would make any difference in how it looks compared to what I did, or how one could achieve, and preserve, these surfaces on a corner cupboard as it was being made. Optically I am looking at varnish luster with color underneath. So where does it make a difference?

Taking the case of building this corner cupboard, is there any opportunity to benefit from the refined surfaces being described?

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