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Thread: work bench - hand planing

  1. #1

    work bench - hand planing

    Hi Everyone

    I'm working on laminating some lumber to make a workbench top. Unfortunately, I don't have a thickness planer so I'm having to plane by hand. Its not terrible but certain boards seem to not like the plane. I'm planning with the grain but it just doesn't want it. Any thoughts?

    Here a pic of what's happening

  2. #2
    This is an orientation issue where some boards are planing "uphill" vs "downhill" on the grain (when viewed from the side) so you are getting tearout. When laminating, you can test plane the boards before and align them all the same direction so you minimize this, but after the fact you have a few options too. Make sure your plane is very very sharp and take thin shavings. Depending on what type of plane you have, you can increase bevel angle, use proper chipbreaker position etc. Your options will vary depending on plane type, so posting that will be of help.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Couple of thoughts:
    1). It appears you are taking a pretty thick shaving. You might hone/sharpen the blade.
    2) it looks like in the photo you've already laminated thesee pieces and it appears the grain on the left is not running in the same direction as the board on the right. If this is the case you really want lighter shavings.
    3). For a bench your main goal is flat. Smooth is nice but not critical. Some even intentionally use a toothed blade to create some texture on the bench top. Focus on flat by planing diagonally across the width of the bench. Buy or make some winding sticks and concentrate on getting it flat first.
    4) when working on the final smoothing skew your plane as you work the length of the bench. Search on the benefits of a close set chip breaker. That coupled with a really sharp blade and tight set chip breaker will help limit the tear out if you keep the shavings thin.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Dublin, CA
    Reinforcing what Joe says: That looks like what happens when you take an overly deep shaving against the grain with an insufficiently sharp blade.

    The cutting angle may be too low as well. What sort of plane are you using and what's the edge angle?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    Blog Entries
    Howdy Joshua and welcome to the Creek.

    My opinion on what is going on with your bench top is about the same as above.

    What planes do you have to use?

    It also appears there is a knot on the other side of the raised shaving, is that the case?

    Planing around knots is rather precarious.

    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
    Thanks for all the responses.

    I discovered I oriented the boards wrong. Going in the opposite direction seems to minimize this issue. I will probably sharpen my blade I've been using it to level the boards and it probably isn't sharp.

    I'm kind of in 'winging it' mode. I've only got a block plane and a jack plane (i think a 6). I've been having issues finding a smoothing plane that isn't $150+. I would just buy a planner at that point .

    Thankfully, I've been glueing up 3 at a time so I can fix this issue in the remaining sections. Thanks everyone!
    Last edited by joshua Khan; 03-21-2018 at 9:12 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    North Virginia
    You could always resort to some 40-60 grit sandpaper to smooth out this section and get rid of the tearout. I actually sanded my bench after I flattened the top with my jointer plane. The rough grit sandpaper gave the benchtop a bit of texture which caused boards to slip around a little less.


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