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Thread: Hand plane panel edge help

  1. #1

    Hand plane panel edge help

    I've glued several boards together to make a panel and between two of them is a slight (1/16th") raised edge. I could sand it all down, but I want to get better at using my bench planes. Try as I might, I can't seem to get the planes to touch the uneven edge to cut it down. I have a block plane, #4, and #7. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    Blog Entries
    This is a common problem. There is likely some cupping somewhere side to side and end to end that is keeping your plane's iron from touching the surface to shave it.

    Do you have a straight edge you can use on the panel to determine your high and low spots?

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    SE Michigan
    Mike, there are a couple of ways you can address this. If I understand you correctly, one of the board edges is sitting about 1/16” higher than all the other boards (?). You should be able to use the #7...planing across the grain, start with the front of the plane resting on the high edge and the back of the plane on the low side and plane across the grain down the length of the board. This should knock down the initial high edge and then allow you to continue to flatten the entire panel. If this method does not produce a shaving, I would venture to guess your iron is not extended enough.

    Alternately, you could use any of your planes with the grain and initially knock down the high edge. Then follow up across the grain with the #7 to flatten the panel.

    Either way, then use the #4 with the grain for a final finish.

  4. #4
    Alan Peters used his no.7 for everything, just sayin.

    Deffo agreed on having a straight edge of some sort, making three wooden ones to guarantee flatness by offering up with each other, a spirit level, anything but a long ruler.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    If the glue line pulls tight, clamp lightly and persuade the "show" face to be level - leave the thicker board to proud underneath.

    Once the panel is dry, you can get 1/16th easy as the plane will register on the adjacent boards.

    It's the surfaces you handle that matter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    From what you described I think you have a dip or cup at that point on both boards. A plane may not be the tool for this. Depending on how large the panel is I would be tempted to use a card scraper to level it out and feather it out. Otherwise you just have to take the whole panel down to the lowest point. Picture it as a hole in an otherwise level surface. Straight edges will tell the story. It's not an easy task to take a 1/16" off of a 6' long panel.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Lots of good advice already. Whether you want to use a scraper or something, or flatten the panel probably depends on what you are using it for. If you want the final product to be flat, you need to flatten the panel.

    It will not take that long if you set your No. 7 to take a moderate shaving. If you set it for see through stuff it will take forever. Take your time and avoid tearout or you will create as many problems as you are fixing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Stone Mountain, GA
    Also look out for the panel flexing as you plane. This can cause weird effects, like not being able to plane what should be a high spot. Shim under the panel where required to keep it from flexing.

  9. #9

    @ Robert - good point about the panel flexing. Clamping between dogs and tapping the dogs down will usually bring the panel flat.

    The point I want stress is the panel isn't flat.

    If you're going to flatten the panel, that process will take care of the glue line discrepancy. Phil previewed that process.

    If you're just looking to get the glue line flush, try skewing the plane and if that doesn't work try planing cross grain.

    At the end of the day, it may be the best attack it is with sanding.

    But the 'right' way to address it is to flatten the panel.

  10. #10
    Thank you everyone for the advice. The easiest way would be sanding, but I am using this as an opportunity to practice and so will continue to work to flatten the board completely by planing.


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