Hand Tools

Subject:
Re: planing failure
Response To:
planing failure ()

TomD
Yes some wood do tear out more than others. The worst I have ever seen is Osage.

In general crafts that are practiced with the intention to finish off the tool, like hand chair making; fly rods; Japanese furniture; use perfect wood. Chairs, today, often being made of veneer grade wood.

Crafts that use figured or secondary wood, do not finish off the plane, though the plane may well be used for the majority of finishing. The main techniques are to:

-Scrub the surface while reversing the plane as required. There is no attempt to take long flowing shavings the length of the board. You simply direct the plane where it will not damage the surface. The surface will end up patchy, but efficiently reduced. You then do the final finishing with a scraper, and sandpaper. This is extremely efficient.

-Use a scraper plane throughout. The plane allows one to do this without burning or wearing oneself out. I have a few of these planes, but for some reason I do not resort to them much. This is a technique that should work well on your walnut. Some very hard woods are going to require the scraper to be sharpened a lot, though the blades on these devices are very easy to set. If one goes though the most precious sharpening technique one will waste a lot of time. A quick zap on the belt, and working out with a burnisher will keep the maintenance to a minimum.

- Toothing plane. For me a specialty trick, largely for Osage, or very expensive guitar woods. Might be worth it for burl if I used much. Also good for some bonding tasks.

- Cross grain or diagonal attack with radiused blades. Works very well at roughing stage, and on down to fine work. Less effective than some of the other approaches when dealing with really extreme reversal.

I made my first planes over 40 years ago, and am an ardent devotee of planing, but there is a reason why so many furniture makers use belt sanders.

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