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Thread: Hand planing for the beginner?

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    Here is a video I made of flattening a shutter panel. This will give you an idea of the motion for removing fairly thick shavings. The first no. 6 takes shavings of about 12 thou, and the second about 7 ( not exact-just by memory). This was my first attempt at making a video, and I forgot to turn the mic on. I was talking the whole time, but never got around to doing the video setup again.

    The hump on the near corner was taken off by left handing the plane, but I thought the video was already long enough to get the point across, so I stopped it before turning my back to the camera.

    This was for exterior shutters on a mid 19th Century museum house. The wood is Cypress, and the planes are Stanley, with stock irons.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SED7B65cppM
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Tom M King; 06-23-2020 at 12:35 PM.

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    I also consider it a valuable learning material.
    Depends on the morale and the objectives of the people learning. With kids, I usually go with more "rewarding" woods, such as oak, which never fail to impress the first time hand plane user. With people that "just wants the job done", I start with pine/fir, since that's what they will use anyway.

  3. #33
    "Pine" also tends to be a generic name for "conifer wood dried to 19% or so moisture cheaply available at the building lumber yard" and can be pine, spruce, balsam, larch, fir, hemlock, etc.

    White pine planes beautifully, as does red, and sugar. Ponderosa can be OK, some other varieties can be challenging, southern yellow can be hard as a rock.

    Spruce can be a nightmare, depending on species.

    Doug fir can be like SYP; the true firs are hit and miss for ease of planing.

    Hemlock/Fir often have such big growth rings that they are useless to anything but being a 2x4

  4. #34
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    Excellent video.

    Kudos

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Mathews View Post
    Ok, I just purchased about a 100 lbs. of Lie-Nielsen handplanes, all of Rob Cosman's "Top 10 Handplanes" and more, and I'm knee deep in the minutiae of blade sharpening. But I have to admit I know next to nothing about using any of these tools. So where do I begin? I don't know where the idea came from but it seems to make sense to start off preparing a rough sawn piece of wood and make the sides square, parallel and flat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley
    For rough work, I use a double iron jack plane that I made 42 years ago. It weighs less than three pounds. Cosman recommends a seven pound jack plane; I cannot imagine anyone wanting to use this thing in a serious way. He recommends the 5 1/2 jack plane so he can swap back beveled blades with the 4 1/2 and 7 planes. Woodworkers who have learned to use double iron planes do not need back bevels. Cosman lists no plow, no dado plane, and only the dinkiest of moving fillisters.

    Here is a list:

    Wooden jack
    Wooden trying plane
    Jointer
    Smoothing plane

    Universal plow (a plow with movable fence, multiple cutters)
    Moving fillister
    Dado plane
    Rabbet plane.

    After this Badger plane, Strike block plane, hollows and rounds etc.
    Steve, enjoy the hell out of your planes, use every one of them as much as possible, get to know them well - what they can do, how well they can do it, and what tasks they are best suited for, and not. At the end of the day you may decide that Warren's list is the way to go. But you cannot get there without first experimenting and deciding from experience what works for you. There are no right and wrongs in woodworking - so many ways to skin a cat. All good.

    The best way to learn is to be prepared to make mistakes. It is just wood. And pride. Get over the pride. Learning that one can make mistakes and correct them is the way to confidence.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  6. Warren's vacuous and idle criticism is completely baseless and without detail.

    I think he has worked in a very different workshop to mine, and by the way I have been at it for about 50 years.

    Almost all modern workshops have router tables which make many of the wooden planes redundant.

    He will see that several of the above do not share his prejudice and have enjoyed my DVDs a great deal, and found them useful.

    Best wishes,
    David Charlesworth

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    28
    You are going to like these planes! I think this an approach that gets missed a bit around here. Back when I got my first LN, I too was frustrated by a handful of antiques and a few mid range planes and I didn't have enough experience to sort out what issues were the tool and which I was to blame for. I also didn't have the vacation time for a proper class (not to mention that a LN plane is a fraction of what most classes costs). For me, the LN took all the tool questions off the table and pointed out my specific skill gaps which were easy to tackle with some research. Then, knowing what a good plane is capable of, I knew what to tune on my other non-LN planes.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Germany
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    Based on my experience, the advice of getting a bunch of lumber and plane, plane, plane until you get it right might not be the best advice if there is no point of reference of what "right" is supposed to be. I prefer the face-to-face approach to learning new skills that require hand and eye coordination. Fortunately, I didn't have to unlearn years of doing it wrong and walked into the classroom as a nearly blank slate with no ego.

    Before I moved to Germany, I worked partial weekends at a Harley-Davidson shop in Virginia in exchange for deep discounts on parts and accessories. One of the weekend rituals was buffing the showroom floor every Sunday morning before the shop opened for customers. Jim, the primary owner, refused to let anyone else buff the floor because he didn't want anyone to hit the display cases or bump into any of the bikes on display. It was painful watching him struggle with the Hild buffer as he manhandled it around the floor, between the bikes, and near the display cases. About 45 minutes later, he was done and was wringing wet with sweat.

    One Sunday, Jim was nowhere to be found and the store was due to open in 30 minutes. I grabbed the buffer and my cup of coffee and started buffing the floor as I had done many years before in the military. I was almost finished when Jim arrived and he was furious that I was buffing with one hand around his precious inventory. I then learned that no one had ever taught him how to use a buffer, so I showed him how to control the left and right movement and let the buffer do all of the work. In a few minutes, he had mastered the buffer and was now very upset at the other owner, another former military person, for never correcting him. The other owner was now upset at me for ruining his Sunday morning entertainment. Bottom line, some things just can't be learned by some people "just doing it" and hoping for the best.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Inkerman, Ontario, Canada
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    687
    I had a friend that moved to Japan to learn woodworking; he told me a story of trying to buy an expensive plane from a maker one day; the maker refused to sell it to him saying that he did not yet possess the the knowledge and experience to use this quality of tool, and told him to come back in a few years.

    The forums are great places to get information.

    The workshop is a great place to find understanding.

    My suggestion would be to read about chip-breakers, read about sharpening, read about Japanese planes, Think about it.
    Then get a cheap #4 strip it down, tune it up and use it, observe, analyze and tinker with it until you get it to work flawlessly.
    Make a million shavings with it.
    Then Grasshopper, you will know what planes you need, what they do and how to use them.






    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Mathews View Post
    Ok, I just purchased about a 100 lbs. of Lie-Nielsen handplanes, all of Rob Cosman's "Top 10 Handplanes" and more, and I'm knee deep in the minutiae of blade sharpening. But I have to admit I know next to nothing about using any of these tools. So where do I begin? I don't know where the idea came from but it seems to make sense to start off preparing a rough sawn piece of wood and make the sides square, parallel and flat.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    New England area
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    293
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Mathews View Post
    Ok, I just purchased about a 100 lbs. of Lie-Nielsen handplanes, all of Rob Cosman's "Top 10 Handplanes" and more, and I'm knee deep in the minutiae of blade sharpening. But I have to admit I know next to nothing about using any of these tools. So where do I begin? I don't know where the idea came from but it seems to make sense to start off preparing a rough sawn piece of wood and make the sides square, parallel and flat.
    The extremely competent maker in the videos below appears to be using a Lie-Nielsen smoothing plane at points in them, along with other L-N planes too. Perhaps some plane handling tips will evidence themselves to you. It's helpful to see how it's done with one's living at stake:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7otLVAZh0Y

    A Townsend block front reproduction. Make sure to watch this one to the end.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRbIq-kxIgQ

    Moving around all those "heavy" planes seems to be keeping him lean and fit. The results of having used them don't seem to be substandard to my eyes.
    Last edited by Charles Guest; 07-03-2020 at 3:38 PM.

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by david charlesworth View Post
    Warren's vacuous and idle criticism is completely baseless and without detail.

    I think he has worked in a very different workshop to mine, and by the way I have been at it for about 50 years.

    Almost all modern workshops have router tables which make many of the wooden planes redundant.

    He will see that several of the above do not share his prejudice and have enjoyed my DVDs a great deal, and found them useful.

    Best wishes,
    David Charlesworth

    I dunno, I thought Warren's advice was typically blunt but basically spot on.
    The idea of starting out with "10 favorite planes" is pretty silly…no wonder the OP seems paralyzed by information overload.

    For the OP, expanding on Warren's list a little, if you just want to dimension and smooth wood, you only need three planes:
    - jack
    - try or jointer
    - smoother

    That might be all you ever need. But if you decide you want to make joints by hand, rather than power, you'll need to make rabbets and grooves, so you'll need:
    - rabbet plane or fillister
    - plow or dedicated grooving planes

    You could spend all your life with just these, but if you eventually want to make moldings by hand, you'll need some molding planes. I'd follow Matt Bickford's excellent advice and start with just two pair (4's and 8's or 6's and 10's).

    I'm up to nine planes and most people will never do more than these nine can do. Of course there are many more great planes! But start small and you won't get overwhelmed. Stay away from Youtubers who sound like used car salesman, require you to buy a trunk full of tools, or preach reliance on jigs and fixtures.

    By the way Mr. Charlesworth, not everyone has a router table (I don't, though I have a lot of machinery), and having one certainly doesn't make molding planes redundant. Some people just hate routers; others prefer the far superior surface quality and versatility of hollows, rounds, and other useful molding planes.
    "For me, chairs and chairmaking are a means to an end. My real goal is to spend my days in a quiet, dustless shop doing hand work on an object that is beautiful, useful and fun to make." --Peter Galbert

  12. #42
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    The idea of starting out with "10 favorite planes" is pretty silly…
    Especially when it is someone else's "10 favorite planes."

    The next step is to learn to use what you have.

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

  13. #43
    [QUOTE=Mark Hennebury;3034429]I had a friend that moved to Japan to learn woodworking; he told me a story of trying to buy an expensive plane from a maker one day; the maker refused to sell it to him saying that he did not yet possess the the knowledge and experience to use this quality of tool, and told him to come back in a few years.

    Mark, you forgot " Grass- Hopuh". All of those stories have that ! Origin was probably U.S. TV

  14. #44
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    Aug 2019
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Hey Warren, I bought this Badger plane, it looks to be in good shape and with plenty of steel in the iron. On its way from the UK, looking forward to it.

    Badger plane.jpg

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Virginia
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    1,108
    Nice video Tom. Thanks for posting.

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