Hand Tools

Subject:
Way different with hand tools, by the way
Response To:
Edge jointing accuracy ()

David Weaver
the guy who got me into woodworking has a long bed 8" delta jointer with a spiral head. I have no idea what kind of error it makes, but it never makes anything like a short 8 inch step down of several thousandths of an inch. I had a 6" jointer that was fixed bed and way out of parallel - even on short boards, it couldn't make a gluable edge, so when I did have it, it just knocked the roughness off of boards and I was forced to finish them by hand.

I'll give you a case of how much different hand woodworking can be, and I would appreciate if warren would comment on whether or not he thinks this is a reasonable technique.

I join rough boards. Learning the cap iron allowed me to get rid of the nonsense of orienting a board correctly for aesthetics and cupping, but worrying that I wouldn't be able to plane it, so I can usually tell what looks good from rough. Quite often, my wood is 5/4. if any of it is a little bit bowed or twisted (but not enough to worry about planing out), then I change little. When you use hand tools a lot, you feel square, at least reasonably close. I'm *sure* warren feels this if I do. I didn't read to find out that you get to this point, it just occurs - you can see and feel square a lot better. So slight mismatch isn't a big deal.

All of the above is typical.

On a longer 5/4 panel, I generally plane the edges of each board without checking anything other than a spot or two for squareness (I know the boards will be slightly hollow, because that's what I do). I lay one board on top of the other, check the joint (the gap, as well as whether or not the two boards are in nearly the same plane). This happens *very* quickly, just as preparation of the rough edge, not as a separate step.

It's uncommon for anything to be far off, but minor changes may need to be made (like the boards are slightly too hollow - common). without removing anything from the vise, I make changes to the bottom board with a smoother (usually clipping the near and far end to lessen the spring, perhaps a little bit of change in tilt so the boards are planar), add glue while the bottom board is still in the vise, clamp (never has to be that heavily clamped) and then loosen the vise and walk away with the panel and repeat with the next pair.

This tuning step is less than a minute usually, sometimes (often) not needed at all. If I have to match plane something narrower, the process is a lot alike - there's no need to constantly check or recheck things or handle both boards.

I avoided thin joined panels on the last case by saving boards that were big enough for those panels, resawing and thickness planing them.

If the tools work like you expect them to, it's not difficult. if someone working by hand wanted to match plane a joint and they had a hollow plane, they'd give up on it. I have no real issue with people using power jointers or whatever else they want to use (router table gimmicks, etc, to get a jointed edge), but no interest in it because as soon as something isn't compatible with the tool set, then you're left taking risks or buying more.

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