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.