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How do you get ultra thin plane shavings

ChrisB's picture

Hi folks,

I'm an intermediate level woodworker and thought my plane knowledge was fairly solid. Apparently there'a more to learn.

The other day I saw a photo of about a six inch long, one inch wide plane shaving and the thickness was being measured with a digital electronic caliper. The reading on the caliper was 0.000" meaning the shaving was less that half a thou thick. WOW!

Just to see how well I could do, I went downstairs and grabbed my trusty LN 41/2 which had been recently rehoned on my dead flat 8000 grit waterstone and not used since, and started making shavings. Try as I did, I could not get anything thinner that .002"without ending up with dust instead of a one piece shaving.

Bummer. I tried pine, aspen and rock hard sugar maple in that order. I could have cheated by applying a lot of pressure on the caliper but chose not to.

Anybody have a suggestion as to what I need to do to get those ultra thin shavings? Not so much because I can conjure up a need for such performance, as there must be something about plane maintenance or use I don't know.



CajunDan's picture

(post #103269, reply #33 of 36)

What a great tip! Have you tried veneering that way - by putting fancy shavings in the escapement?


JeffHeath's picture

(post #103269, reply #34 of 36)

ROFLMAO!!!!!  Thanks for that!  I had a rough day, and you just made it a little better!


A distinguished graduate of the School of Hard Knocks
DickG's picture

(post #103269, reply #26 of 36)

Recently at a woodworking show a L-N rep showed me the following technique, which assumes you've sharpened the blade properly in the first place:

Put a thin strip of wood edgewise in a vise.

Plane the edge first using only the left side of the blade.  Then plane using only the right side.  Adjust the depth and alignment of the blade until you get uniform shaving thickness on both sides.   

Raise the blade until it stops cutting. 

Lower the blade until you get the desired lacy shavings.

Hope this is helpful.



Kleck's picture

(post #103269, reply #27 of 36)

Why not just plane a flat board and check that the shavings are uniform? works for me. Besides which, when I close up the mouth I can tell if the blade is skewed if it isn't parallel to the movable toe which I keep quite close to the blade.

DickG's picture

(post #103269, reply #28 of 36)

Just passing along what Mr. Lie-Nielsen recommends.  Do whatever works for you. 

My reaction is you can eyeball the shavings from his method more easily than yours, but to each his own.

wdrite's picture

(post #103269, reply #36 of 36)


I started using Stanleys long before L N was making tools and it is hard to change old habits.  I also drive Chevrolets instead of Cadillacs.  My suggestion to you as a woodworker is to put your mike back in its case.  Forget about the thickness of your shavings and concentrate on the surface you are producing.  If the surface is good enough, then throw away the shavings.  If not then check to make sure your iron is properly sharpened,  that the iron is properly installed and adjusted, and finally check to make sure that your plane bottom is perfectly flat.  By the way, the only thing I have against LN tools and Cadillacs is that I can't afford them.