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Thread: Squaring Boards by Hand

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Tom, Here is a post of mine > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?272588 < it includes using different methods of checking different pieces for flat.

    Winding sticks by necessity are straight edges. Another way to make a straight edge as long as you want is to use a tightly strung piece of string. This method is also used in the link above. The project is still ongoing. Due to many other things my time on it has been restricted. Hopefully it will be finished this year.

    Here is a post on making straight edges and winding sticks > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?290331

    Amazingly, making a straight edge for yourself will give you insight in how to produce a straight edge or a flat surface. It is kind of practice, training and accomplishment all in one.

    Good luck with your endeavors,

    jtk
    Thanks a lot. Very interesting. I cannot seem to view any of the photos and get a permissions error when I click on them. Is there something that I need to do to enable picture viewing?

  2. #47
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    I'll not add to any specific advice here, other than to check you work often with straight edges and winding sticks. After checking mark out what you think are the high spots and plane those down, then re-check. Over time you will acquire a sense for how to attack a board that has a certain kind of error (twist, cup, etc.), and develop a feel for how many shavings it takes to correct a certain amount of twist.

    For reasonably sized boards at least (say, not more than 8-10" wide and less than 2 or 3 ft long, and not too thin) it is very possible to handplane within a few thousands of flat without undue effort. To get truly within 1 thou is possible but the fiddle factor goes up a lot. Longer boards, wider boards, and very thin boards are more challenging, but usually have less need of such tolerances.

    To do this task with something approaching efficiency is quite difficult and takes a lot of practice. It's more difficult than a lot of other tasks that get all the attention on forums and magazines. But if you put in the time, you will learn a lot about hand planing, sharpening, and geometry, all of which will be useful even if you end up buying huge machines for stock prep.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mayock View Post
    Thanks a lot. Very interesting. I cannot seem to view any of the photos and get a permissions error when I click on them. Is there something that I need to do to enable picture viewing?
    You need to become a contributor.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mayock View Post
    Thanks a lot. Very interesting. I cannot seem to view any of the photos and get a permissions error when I click on them. Is there something that I need to do to enable picture viewing?
    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Johnson View Post
    You need to become a contributor.
    What Nathan said, $6 well spent.

    Robert states a point that has helped me greatly:

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hazelwood View Post
    [edited]
    Over time you will acquire a sense for how to attack a board that has a certain kind of error (twist, cup, etc.), and develop a feel for how many shavings it takes to correct a certain amount of twist.
    For my last employer one of my tasks was to produce a technical manual for the repair of ticket vendor mechanisms. One section was on calibrating one's eyes to be able to judge the size of spacers. The same concept is useful in woodworking.

    People often make light of folks who measure the thickness of shavings. It can help a person to calibrate their eyes to the point of being able to judge not only how thick a shaving is but also how much difference there is between one side of an edge and its opposite side under a square.

    This helps me in squaring an edge on just about every project. Knowing how thick of a shaving my plane is cutting and how much of a gap is under my square helps me to determine how much of an angle to bias my plane when taking the next shaving. If the gap is about four shavings thick, my plane is held to take about a quarter of the edge on the first stroke. Then with the plane riding on the surface made by that stroke it should take three shavings to get a full width shaving and an edge square to the face.

    The $6 to become a contributor has been one of my best woodworking investments. If after becoming a contributor you do not feel it was worth it, let me know and my promise to you is to send you $6 via Paypal or check for a refund. That is how strongly my feelings are about the value of the content here.

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

  5. #50
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    I start on the jointer, but don’t stress with the final few thou of wind. By then, most of the bumps and valleys are gone.

    Next, winding sticks and a set of precision shims help me predict how many 0.002” or even 0.001” “stop shavings” I’ll need to take out any remaining wind. My shims start with 0.0005”, 0.001”, 0.0015”, 0.002”, 0.003”. There are nine more in the set, going up to 0.030”. The first five are more than sufficient to work on wind. Fast, accurate, and reliable, this method lets me confidently remove wind. Results match prediction without the “oh shucks” experience. Can’t ask for more than that.

    Then I can get on with flattening the face with a cambered plane iron. For final thicknessing, it’s a gauge line, the planer, and the cambered iron. Quick. Easy.

    I have a LOT to learn about woodworking, but I’m all set with the skills of removing wind and flattening. I encourage others to take a look at this method.
    Last edited by Bob Jones 5443; 04-07-2021 at 12:45 PM.

  6. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    You don't need to focus on a winding stick. Get your eye in a position so you can see over the near one, to under the far one. Raise, and lower your eye enough to judge the gap you see. [...]
    Oh my gosh: I just realized that I never got the hang of winding sticks and that's because I was looking top-to-top. I just couldn't judge wind successfully, and couldn't figure out why. Thought my eyesight was just terrible! Ironically, when I'm planing an edge, I can *feel* square, and know, before checking, when it's going out. Hopefully I'll get wind conquered now!

    Hahaha - thanks Tom! Sometimes it's the little things that nobody ever mentions, that really matter.

  7. #52
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    I start on the jointer, but don’t stress with the final few thou of wind. By then, most of the bumps and valleys are gone.

    Next, winding sticks and a set of precision shims help me predict how many 0.002” or even 0.001” “stop shavings” I’ll need to take out any remaining wind. My shims start with 0.0005”, 0.001”, 0.0015”, 0.002”, 0.003”. There are nine more in the set, going up to 0.030”.
    Hi Bob, I am guessing you are referring to a power jointer and planer. Many folks here do not have either one of those. Some of us do not care to have them.

    It is kind of like my use of open end wrenches as calipers while turning something on the lathe. it makes great sense to me, but not all wood turners are going to have a set of automotive tools.

    Oh my gosh: I just realized that I never got the hang of winding sticks and that's because I was looking top-to-top.
    Patrick, my use of winding sticks has only been for a few years. It started with some rather large pieces of lumber. The ability to have a quick way to map the surface has been very helpful.

    Being a woodworker, the ability to make straight edges or winding sticks is a fundamental element of the craft. If one cannot make two pieces of wood with straight edges to check for wind, how would they expect to make two straight edges to glue together to make a table top or cabinet?

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

  8. #53
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    So many ways to skin this cat....one detail that has been left out......unless the lumber is of the clear variety.....one has to deal with...knots...and how they tend to warp their little "neighborhood"....

    Speaking of eyeballs.....how many of you all can look down a board, from one end....and tell IF there is any twist? Yes, you do have to use BOTH eyeballs....and don't squint.

    Used to form concrete walls for a living....and got to the point I could indeed look down a line of forms....and tell you IF they were straight and plumb...Then we'd come back, after the concrete had been "placed" ( not poured) and check to see how well the wall stayed straight....

    I usually work with boards under 4' long....and will just lay the board on the bench, and see IF it "rocks or rolls"....and correct IF need be. Prep edges to glue up panels...I have a steel yard stick, used by Tinsmiths, as a straight edge....I do the first part of the panel, and then use it's jointed edge to check the next in the panel....until all the boards in the panel can be "stood up" from the leg vise, no glue, no clamps, and the panel will sit there...I still will check for any gaps....if none seen, glue clamps and cauls will get used. hmmmmm..
    Bathroom Cabinet, left pair.JPG
    Before....and...
    Door build 101, 1st panel.JPG
    Clean up the glue joint, before the panel gets "raised"..
    Door build 101, 4 cuts done.JPG

    you all are trying to turn this into a "Rocket Science"......

  9. #54
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    You win! that's the funniest post by far.
    You use your eyes....rocket science...haha

    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    So many ways to skin this cat....one detail that has been left out......unless the lumber is of the clear variety.....one has to deal with...knots...and how they tend to warp their little "neighborhood"....

    Speaking of eyeballs.....how many of you all can look down a board, from one end....and tell IF there is any twist? Yes, you do have to use BOTH eyeballs....and don't squint.

    Used to form concrete walls for a living....and got to the point I could indeed look down a line of forms....and tell you IF they were straight and plumb...Then we'd come back, after the concrete had been "placed" ( not poured) and check to see how well the wall stayed straight....

    I usually work with boards under 4' long....and will just lay the board on the bench, and see IF it "rocks or rolls"....and correct IF need be. Prep edges to glue up panels...I have a steel yard stick, used by Tinsmiths, as a straight edge....I do the first part of the panel, and then use it's jointed edge to check the next in the panel....until all the boards in the panel can be "stood up" from the leg vise, no glue, no clamps, and the panel will sit there...I still will check for any gaps....if none seen, glue clamps and cauls will get used. hmmmmm..
    Bathroom Cabinet, left pair.JPG
    Before....and...
    Door build 101, 1st panel.JPG
    Clean up the glue joint, before the panel gets "raised"..
    Door build 101, 4 cuts done.JPG

    you all are trying to turn this into a "Rocket Science"......

  10. #55
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    New England area
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    Imagine trying to flatten a board with a block plane and you'll understand the theory -- you only hit the high spots until it's flat. Planing willy-nilly all over a decent sized board, even with a long plane, will inevitably result in planing areas that were low to begin with -- the board won't get flat and it'll end up too thin.
    Last edited by Charles Guest; 04-08-2021 at 9:58 AM.

  11. #56
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    I’ll add also, that even a 3/4 board of average length can flex while planing. Say you are working on the convex side of a board placed flat on your bench. As you work to plane out the “hump”, it can flex down and give you a false sense of flat...or the plane won’t take a shaving when you know it’s a high spot. In cases like this, I will often shim the underside with a few playing cards to keep the bottom side “flat” while planing the top. This was a huge frustration for me early on until I realized the issue.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Young View Post
    You need to be further back from the winding sticks if you can't hold a focus that shows both clearly. Or update your prescription.
    Winding sticks are essential. Anybody who can't focus on both of them is almost always too close. They do accentuate error, especially on edges as Warren mentions. Using them effectively will prevent baffling errors during glue-ups, assembly, and fitting.

  13. #58
    Can't but agree about thin stock deflecting, but I don't get the shimming.
    It looks slower to me than to just flip the board over or around,
    Well I say that, as I use no more than a single batton so it's easier than if the work was held down,
    and using the close set cap iron no need to do any wrangling around areas on any piece of timber, so can just treat every piece the same.


    I believe I've seen a video here not so long ago, of planing thin stock held in a tail vice.
    I am going to try that some day for the fun and compare, when I finish my scandi bench,
    Curious to see if it helps some thin stock for the initial few swipes, while curious to see what the board looks like on the bench afterwards,

    Might make sense for some thin stock which it would be wasteful to flatten completely, and might have use for lesser precision projects bonded
    with a suitable glue.
    Not too big of a deal to make a second planing batton for the tail vice to try it out, and possibly useful for other projects.

    Tom

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Johnson View Post
    You need to become a contributor.
    Thanks. I must have missed this when I created an account. This is a totally different board when you can actually see the images!

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mayock View Post
    Thanks. I must have missed this when I created an account. This is a totally different board when you can actually see the images!
    Agreed.
    It's a bargain.

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