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Michael G
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm still new to using hand planes, but I've finally got to the point where I have my No.5 plane in decent working order, with a good, sharp blade. But I find that every time I plane an edge, I pretty consistently end up taking more wood off the far edge of the board. Then I end up having to spend time on the closer edge to bring it down to match the far edge, which I find really difficult. Most recently, I've been working with hard maple about 1" thick, held in a small vise. I'm guessing it's got something to do with applying uneven pressure on the work piece. Has anyone else had this problem and if so, how did you overcome it?
 

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I'm not really new ... just don't use them as much. I'm getting more and more into it, though. In my understanding, sounds like you're keeping too much pressure on the forward "knob." When you get the full length of the plane on the wood, most of your pressure should be on the rear handle.
 

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It also helps to gently lift the front edge as you leave the board. Otherwise it dips and the blade cuts deeper.

When I was restoring the old planes I inherited I would put scrap wood in my bench vice and just plane it down to nothing, or turn a 2x round. There is more technique involved than it looks like.
 

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where's my table saw?
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I'm still new to using hand planes, but I've finally got to the point where I have my No.5 plane in decent working order, with a good, sharp blade. But I find that every time I plane an edge, I pretty consistently end up taking more wood off the far edge of the board. Then I end up having to spend time on the closer edge to bring it down to match the far edge, which I find really difficult. Most recently, I've been working with hard maple about 1" thick, held in a small vise. I'm guessing it's got something to do with applying uneven pressure on the work piece. Has anyone else had this problem and if so, how did you overcome it?
Just flip the board around every once in a while. Pay attention to your body position as you make your pass down the length. Depends a lot on the length of the board, but typically you would naturally be pressing a bit lighter at the end and heavier pressure at the start. Your shaving thickness will tell you whats actually going on. The ability to sight down the board and visually determine where to remove the most wood it a skill you must acquire for straighting the edge of a board no matter if you are using a hand plane or a jointer. Your nboard will intially have a concave or a convex curve, so first remove the high areas gradually. Your No 5 plane may be on the short side as well. A jointer plane would be used to straighten the edge of a longer board, and they run about 18" to 20" long on the sole.
 

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These guys are essentially right on. More pressure on the front as you start a stroke, and then transfer pressure to the back of the plane as you get to the end of the stroke. You can reverse the board on some woods, but on others you'll get tearout unless you have the mouth closed really tight and the iron super sharp.

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I'm still new to using hand planes, but I've finally got to the point where I have my No.5 plane in decent working order, with a good, sharp blade. But I find that every time I plane an edge, I pretty consistently end up taking more wood off the far edge of the board. Then I end up having to spend time on the closer edge to bring it down to match the far edge, which I find really difficult. Most recently, I've been working with hard maple about 1" thick, held in a small vise. I'm guessing it's got something to do with applying uneven pressure on the work piece. Has anyone else had this problem and if so, how did you overcome it?
Another thing you might consider is sharp is a relative term. Using a hand plane should be relatively effortless under most situation. Although the blade may seem sharp, if you are using a more pressure than you need to, it may be the blade. I find I have take care of my blade every 1/2 hour of use or so. Also what may help is making sure the bottom of the plane is slick. A lot of people use a paraffin block every couple strokes of the plan. I like to use Bostik Topcoat. It keeps the bottom of the plane slippery which results in less effort.
 

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Michael G
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Discussion Starter #7
Another thing you might consider is sharp is a relative term. Using a hand plane should be relatively effortless under most situation. Although the blade may seem sharp, if you are using a more pressure than you need to, it may be the blade. I find I have take care of my blade every 1/2 hour of use or so. Also what may help is making sure the bottom of the plane is slick. A lot of people use a paraffin block every couple strokes of the plan. I like to use Bostik Topcoat. It keeps the bottom of the plane slippery which results in less effort.
Yeah, I wondered about this. I think I've managed to get my plane as sharp as it's ever going to get. And when I use it on a piece of pine, it's basically effortless. But right now, I happen to be working with some hard maple. I'm not sure if hard maple should be effortless if your blade is sharp enough. I wouldn't say I'm putting tons of pressure on the plane with the maple, but it's definitely more pressure than with the pine, and definitely not effortless. I feel like I could manage the pressure much better on the pine, though I haven't really had a chance to spend a lot of time on pine yet. Still very new to this, and the hard maple is my first real project with my #5 plane. I would have chosen an easier species to start with, but I already had this stuff lying around and it's really nice wood.
 

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Hard maple will certainly require more pressure to cut. But here we're getting into the issue of how well tuned your plane is. On something like maple, it is especially critical to have it well tuned and to take as thin a shaving as you can to do the job you need. The blade will really need to be sharp enough to shave hair off your arm. Paper cutting is an okay test, but depending on how you hold the paper, it can be a little deceptive.

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Egg Spurt
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All the above, but try taking thinner shavings. I typically take very thin shavings unless I'm in a hurry and it doesn't really matter or planing a a lot of material. A lot of times I'll completely let go of the front knob towards the end and just push from the rear.
 
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