Hand Tools Archive

Re: Followup Question from PPA

Sgian Dubh
David, when I talk about my perceived ability to flex a plane only comes into play inboard from either end of a board edge. Generally I prepare edges already straightened on the surface planer (jointer); not always, but that's the most common time for hauling out my no 7 plane. There's sometimes a bit of snipe to deal with on boards off the surface planer. If the boards are long and heavy, such as those that are commonly used for eight or ten person refectory type tables it sometimes the case that a bit of extra straightening with a hand plane is beneficial, even it's only to remove planer ripple on each of the mating edges.

Anyway, I usually start by working from the middle of the length taking longer and longer passes with the plane until I get to just shy of either end. This creates a bit of a hollow, and it's during this stage if the board's edge seems to need it that I have very occasionally tried to flex the plane's sole to emphasise a bit of convexity. I'm not sure that I do actually flex the sole, but it feels like I do, so it's really just an impression. After this planing in the centre bit, I put the two edges together, see if there's a gap in the middle, and adjust the gap to almost nothing by setting the plane to a finer cut and take full length passes along the edge to bring the sprung joint to a tiny gap, something that will close with very little pressure. Both board edges usually get this treatment until I'm happy, and it doesn't usually take long at all, maybe three to five minutes per joint.

Like you, as you mention in another post, I have pretty good instinct for being aware of when I'm planing at right angles to a board's wide face(s). Slainte.

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