Hand Tools Archive

Re: Slowness
Response To:
Slowness ()

Sgian Dubh
Patrick, I suspect many might struggle to keep up with me on a white oak piece like the one below currently under construction for a client using your advocated, or is it preferred(?) hand plane only approach.

The top is approximately 2550 mm X 1110 mm (100-1/2" X 43-1/4"). Now that it's assembled there are smallish undulations in both the length and the width that might challenge even a short plane (a No. 4 for instance) and a bit of stepping between the clamped ends and the main panel. The work it will get will be a bit of skimming with a handplane to knock off the steps, followed by a belt sander and finished off with a random orbital sander, and maybe a bit of hand sanding.

The last image is of one of the laminated pedestal legs, approximately 225 mm square (~9") prior to roughing out the curves and other details with a router and a bandsaw, with the feet and bearers yet to follow, both of which include curves and shaping one way or another. As you can see, my choice here to smooth out the bandsaw ripples and the routing steps is a bobbin sander. Planes simply aren't a practical option except for rounding the currently square bead running around the leg's perimeter just to the right of the tighter of the two arcs, and a shoulder plane will find a use here (plus some sanding).

Then we come to a philosophical point: if the pedestals, feet and bearers are to be sanded by machine and some hand sanding, then why would I consider hand planing the table top polish ready? It would create a different type of surface to that produced by sanding, and for those that reckon they can spot the difference between a planed and sanded surface under polish, that surely creates a bit of conundrum - the legset would end up with a different appearance to the table top. Is that acceptable?

In reality, for me, there's almost always a client expecting delivery by a deadline, this being no exception, and having been in the craft furniture business for a while I now usually have a pretty shrewd idea of how to tackle projects of this nature in a cost effective manner. Slainte.

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