Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
strangest thing you've planed?

david weaver
I spent part of the day yesterday fabricating another corian-type (livingstone, different brand) countertop for an add-on cabinet that the mrs. wants.

I don't have the pictures on my phone at this point, but anyone who has ever made a corian countertop, this isn't like smooth planing wood (the face of the counter top is already polished, you just sand and then polish - if you desire - the final product).

But, the planing comes in because the process of making the countertop involves building an edge that's 1 1/2 inches thick when the surface material itself is only 1/2 inch. That means a trick glue that mixes in an applicator (perhaps the most useful glue product I have ever seen short of hide glue on wood - it is really spectacular and dries to an invisible line so that the three layers of countertop look like one), but it's slick like anything else clamped in a two part glue and you end up with some unevenness to plane off.

Most people would rout or CNC it, and I will rout or saw it if the waste is big enough, but I plane normal undulations, check for square and then sand it as it has little conviction to itself and the surface is just less than perfect when planing it as it sort of fractures off.

It is hard on a plane, but will plane with anything - not hard in the sense of being abusive, just accelerated wear. When I can track down the pictures, I"ll post them.

Anything less than commercial dust collection and the tiny feathers of corian that come off with a router bit are just horrid - they stick to everything and they have a static charge. Even if 10% of them escape a vacuum, you have flying snow that sticks to everything around. And I always have a bite of some sort on a router that I end up needing to plane out, anyway.

That's probably the strangest thing I've planed. The second strangest is MDF (my router table when I had one was MDF - it needed to be planed twice before it stopped expanding and becoming uneven. I wasn't aware at the time that you're "not supposed to plane it, and still think planing it is a good idea if you're willing to sharpen your iron a couple of times. like corian, it's abrasive, but it doesn't really damage an iron, just wears the edge and resharpening is easy).

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