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Workbench top progress

Posted by is9582 on December 18, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

My No. 6 sitting ready to start planing.

My No. 6 sitting ready to start planing.

 

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.

 

This is after the first pass (you can already see the large spelching) and the chips begin to fly.

This is after the first pass (you can already see the large spelching) and the chips begin to fly.

 

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.

 

On longer boards, I work my way down them in segments, especially when I'm not starting with completely flat slabs. The red arrow is pointing to a block I clamped to prevent the board from moving to that side.

On longer boards, I work my way down them in segments, especially when I’m not starting with completely flat slabs. The red arrow is pointing to a block I clamped to prevent the board from moving to that side.

 

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.

 

This is after about an hours worth of planing (just look at all of the shavings/chips).

This is after about an hours worth of planing (just look at all of the shavings/chips).

 

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.

Lee Laird