Hand Tools Archive

Things that weren't obvious (to me)

Jim Matthews
It will be beneficial to try all the steps on a smaller panel of similar thickness before the Big Show with large stock. It's a cumbersome process until you find a comfortable working height for each step.

I followed Terry Gordon's approach on my last project which involved matchplaning two White Oak panels, 50 inches long.

This approach lays boards flat - on their sides - with a plywood spacer underneath.

Terry covers most of the pitfalls in selecting which edge and direction, among other things.
It bears repeated viewing.



If the boards to be matched cannot be clamped together for planing, they will never yield a flat panel of any appreciable thickness.

Each board in question will have a "direction" that allows easiest planing.
Make sure those face the same way, when matching.

Get close to straight with *each board FIRST* before matching.
I use a small square to get a rough idea of the edges.

The plane blade needs to be at least 1/3 wider than whatever you're planing.
A little exposure of the blade on either side.

I like to take a clean "heavy" shaving from edges. If you can read a newspaper through the shaving - you'll be there all day.


These are big panels. It's ambitious to take this on. Setbacks are likely, but if you hold off on finishing the panel until after gluing up you won't lose hours of effort.

At some point before glue is applied you should stack the panels up and inspect the joint.
Handscrew clamps can hold a panel edgewise on your bench - clamp those *to the bench*
lest you have a physics lesson in the dark.

A sliver of light near the middle is enough.

If it's dead straight along the length - you're a prodigy. A successful "rub joint" near 5 foot long defines rarity.


Practice clamping dry.


Leave it alone for a day - don't even look at it.


If the joint fails, rip along the glue line and try again.

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