Hand plane technique issues? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-20-2016, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Hand plane technique issues?

Hi folks, first post here! I'm new to woodworking and i'm finally taking a stab at my first project, a cutting board. I'm currently trying to plane down my pieces of wood so that they are nice and flat for glue-up. The problem is that every piece I have done so far ends up less flat than when I started. Yes, they are getting smooth but it seems, towards the end of the piece, there is more material being taken off. Like a downhill slope of sorts, the difference being approximately 1/16th of an inch.

Some info about what I am working with: Buck Bros. 9" plane from home depot (set-up according to a few youtube videos I watched and sharpened), 17" pieces of maple and padauk that are 1-3/4" square. I have them clamped with a black and decker work mate that is pinned against my work bench so it doesn't move everywhere.

Should I have a bigger plane for what I am doing or is this strictly a technique issue?
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-20-2016, 01:33 PM
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Most likely it's a technique issue. Mastering the hand plane is one of the harder things to do in woodworking.
Set your plane to remove a shaving so thin you can almost see through it.
Use a pencil to mark the high spots or low spots. Only plane the high spots.
Turn your plane at a slight angle and plane with the grain.
Good luck.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-21-2016, 09:32 AM
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I started with those buck bros planes as well. I tuned them up as well as i could and they worked ok, but it wasnt until i bought a few nicer planes that i understood what was really possible with hand planes. Woodriver makes decent affordable planes. If you plan to use them alot its well worth the investment.

That being said, a taper at the end probably means youre cutting too deep. It may also mean u have a hollow in the sole causing you to dip at the end. Try finishing each cut with less pressure on front hand and more on your back hand so youre not diving off the end of the board but rather gliding over it. And as mentioned above, set the plane for the smallest possible shaving, and check with straight edge and square constantly. The settings on buck bros tend to drift a bit so you may be readjusting alot.

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Last edited by sheperd80; 11-21-2016 at 09:34 AM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-29-2016, 02:03 PM
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That is one of the easiest mistakes to make with hand planes - making board slightly convex. Especially with the shorter planes like yours.

I plane all of my lumber by hand at the moment ( still haven't saved up enough for a mechanical planer), and to flatten rough boards I have concluded that the traditional sequence of jack, jointer, then smoother really is the best way to do it. The jack for initial smoothing, removing any twist or up. Check your progress with a straight edge. The jointer to even make it out, then the smoothing plane set very fine just clean up any plane marks left on the board.

When I am using the jack plane, I frequently check my work with a straight edge. Being aware of the possibility of making a board convex, my habit lately has actually been to accidentally make it slightly concave! But with the straight edge I can usually bring it pretty close to flat.

Then when I use the jointer I am very careful about my technique. Start with all the pressure on the front of the plane, push down evenly with both hands as you get the whole plane over the board, then let off the front as you approach the end of the board.

Another thing that I find helpful is to actually *try* to make the board concave with the jointer plane. For boards 5 feet or less it is physically impossible to do that with a 22" jointer plane set to take a light shaving. This trick doesn't work with a shorter plane, since our actually can make a board slightly concave with them if you try to. If your tendency is to accidentally make things covex, it could still be helpful to try though, especially on shorter pieces.

So basically what I'm saying is, it is a combination of your technique and not having a longer plane to keep boards flat. But I believe that with the help of a straight edge to check your progress with you should be able to make your boards reasonably flat. Keep in mind that your planing stroke doesn't need to start at the edge of the board and go the whole way to the other edge every time. If you're high in the middle, start and finish the planing stroke in the middle.
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-13-2016, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Cataldo View Post
Hi folks, first post here! I'm new to woodworking and i'm finally taking a stab at my first project, a cutting board. I'm currently trying to plane down my pieces of wood so that they are nice and flat for glue-up. The problem is that every piece I have done so far ends up less flat than when I started. Yes, they are getting smooth but it seems, towards the end of the piece, there is more material being taken off. Like a downhill slope of sorts, the difference being approximately 1/16th of an inch.

Some info about what I am working with: Buck Bros. 9" plane from home depot (set-up according to a few youtube videos I watched and sharpened), 17" pieces of maple and padauk that are 1-3/4" square. I have them clamped with a black and decker work mate that is pinned against my work bench so it doesn't move everywhere.

Should I have a bigger plane for what I am doing or is this strictly a technique issue?
I do the same thing, if I'm not paying attention. I know exactly why, too. For me, here's what happens.

1) At the end of the board near me, I set the toe of the plane down, and start moving forward. Since I'm holding the heel of the plane up, I take a very shallow cut at the beginning.

2) By halfway down the board, the weight is evenly balanced. The cut here is deeper here than it was at the beginning, so I've started the slope.

3) In the last 4-12 inches, depending on what plane I'm using, I leave too much weight on the front. The toe dives off the board, the cut gets deeper, and my board stops being an even thickness.

Here's what I SHOULD be doing:

1) Moving slowly and focusing on getting it right.

2) Starting the cut with more pressure on the toe, but keeping the plane parallel to the board.

3) Once the heel of the plane is on the board, make sure I have even pressure on the front and back.

4) As the toe starts to leave the board, reduce weight on the front, matching the change in pressure to how much of the plane has left the board.



I can't say for sure that it's the same problem you're having, but it may well be.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-15-2016, 12:09 AM
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I don't know if its been said yet but I was having the same issues and I solved it by resharpening my planes.

I had every thing set right. I done all the research that was humanly possible and nothing was working. I sharpened the blade again and paid better attention to my bevel angle and my polish. I am having zero problems now.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-24-2016, 01:29 AM
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I have found that it helps to move my whole upper body when planing instead of just moving my arms. This works best on smaller pieces.
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