I was planning to plane the larger 6’+ sections of the Soft Maple, that I bought for my workbench upgrade, on my saw horses. This morning I had some time scheduled to start on these bigger slabs, and when I looked at my saw horses, I just wasn’t sure I would get the results I was after. When I saw how solid the stack of wood looked, where I had it stickered, I decided I’d just work it as it lay.
The first board had a bit of twist going on, so I found a big Ash wedge from my Drawknife horse, and slid it in nice and tight. I noticed there was a substantial hump running the length of the slab, which I wanted to remove in the course of removing the rough sawmill surface. I grabbed my Stanley No. 6, as usual, and set the cambered blade to take a thick cross-grain shaving. I clamped a couple of boards onto the stickering boards beneath this slab, to help minimize the wood from moving around. I started working from the right end of the board, and keeping my passes with the plane so they overlapped the previous stroke. I knew this large of a slab was going to take some time, which likely led me to set my iron a little deeper than normal, and before I put a chamfer on the out-flow side of the slab, bam! I knew I should have taken the time to make the chamfer, but the nice splintering really drove the point home. To rectify my mistake, I first trimmed the thick spelching with a large paring chisel, and then used my plane to create a decent chamfer.
As I was working the wood so close to the floor, most of the time I knelt on the floor, while using my arms to handle a bit more of the work than normally. I was still able to get into a decent work flow, and the work progressed fairly quickly.
It took just over an hour to get the first face-side 95% complete, which wasn’t nearly as long as I initially thought. And, if I already had a workbench large enough to support the size slab, I may not have used quite as many breaks, since my body did seem to wear out quicker working in the alternate kneeling position.
After getting the slab fairly far along, I decided to work directly down the length of the hump. with another cambered-iron plane with the iron set to a more reasonable depth. The first few strokes felt somewhat awkward, so I shifted to using a side “throw”, where I had the plane about 90-degrees to my body. I faced the side of the board, and moved the plane so it was going the length of the slab, which actually felt much less awkward. I saw @Paul Sellers use this planing technique in a video he posted some while ago, so figured I might give it a try. Everyone reading this, should give this planing motion/position a try, as it can help to spread the load around to other muscles, since the load can be significant on bench top constructions.
I’m going to head back out to the shop, but thought an update on progress could both give me a little break, and keep all of my readership informed.
Thanks as always for stopping by. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
In my last post, I mentioned using a hand plane across the grain, so I could remove more wood, faster and more easily. In fact, if I had my plane set to the same depth of cut as I do when working across the grain, I’d likely just stick the iron into the wood and the plane would go no further.
The first time I used a hand plane to work across the grain, I was a bit surprised by the type of shavings it produced, and at the relative easy I could work. I thought it might prove useful/interesting to show some shavings I took this evening, from the Soft Maple board, and discuss it a bit.
The photo above is something like you might expect to see, if the iron in your plane has some camber. Specifically, notice the edges of the shaving are very slightly tapering, so you might see them getting thinner. If I’d been using my Lie-Nielsen #8 Jointer Plane, and had my heavier camber iron in (I have one with just a little camber, and one that is more significant), the thinning edges would be more obvious. If I had no camber on an iron, and used it across the grain, it may not release completely from the board on one side or the other.
I held my middle finger and thumb against the cross grain shaving above, and just lightly separated them, which was enough to cause it to break into two pieces. There is relatively low strength in this direction, and why you can plane a thicker shaving, with less effort than expected. Also notice how the shaving almost just separated, rather than really broke or tore.
Last is the shaving from my plane going with the grain of the wood (on the right in the photo above), which may look like what you are used to seeing when you think of a plane shaving. This shaving, even though it is fairly light and not very thick, is still much stronger if you were to try pulling it apart from each end. You can hopefully see the difference in the edges, compared to the cross grain shaving (left in photo above), as well as the overall structure of the two types of shaving.
I hope that might fill in a blank or two, or answer some unasked questions.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
This is somewhat of a continuation on my previous article, talking about the cambered iron in my old Bailey No.3. Well, I got back to work on the 8/4 Pecan, and I’m still resolving some slight twists in the board. I’d resharpened my No.3’s iron last night, just before calling it quits, so I was […]
I have a number of Lie-Nielsen hand planes in my kit that work beautifully, but I also have an old Bailey I bought many years ago, that was set up differently than I’d ever seen, at the time of purchase. What made the No.3 a bit unusual to me, at that time, was the somewhat […]