Thursday, May 24, 2007

Planing Board by Hand

A couple posts ago I wrote about how I am saving space in my basement workshop by using hand planes in place of a jointer to flatten boards. I also said it will take a little extra manual labor. I'd like to revise that initial assessment. It takes a LOT of manual labor.

Over the past few nights, I've put in about 3 hours flattening a 43" x 9" x 1" piece of canary wood. I'm using my 4 1/2 smoothing plane. Granted, it would probably go faster with a jack plane, and this is the first time I've ever tried to do this, so I'm very much in the early stages of refining my technique, but still. I'd say I have at least that much more to go.

To create a reference line, I jointed one side of the board, then placed my 48" level on the wide face of the board right above the newly jointed side, and used my Incra T-rule to slide on the level, scribing a straight line along the jointed edge. To make the scribed line more visible, I placed a flat rule along the scribed line, and colored in the short space (the part to be removed) with a black wax pencil (a glass marking pencil).

I've been slowly working my way down through the black line using diagonal strokes with the plane. Every so often, I'll cover the face of the board with loose chalk, and scrape it off with a straight edge to reveal the bumps and valleys. That keeps me on track for now until I get close enough to the goal to get out the true bar, and really be critical of the flatness.

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