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Edge joining with hand planes

M3's picture

Hello,


 


 I mostly read this forum for inspiration and knowledge but today I need to jump in with a question concerning edge joining boards for panel glueup.  I live near a DOD facility and have access to the MWR facilities, including the woodworking shop.  The jointer there is nice but the blades are not sharpen on a regular basis – money/abuse issues.  I am renewing my interest (old in age but new in interest) in woodworking and would like to pursue developing serious woodworking skills beyond that of the weekend warrior skills of nailgun/glue/biscuits/hammer harder nature.  The edge joints made with the shop’s jointer are square but have waves along the plane of the edge.  I was thinking this would be a good time to look into purchasing a good plane to edge join two boards together.  At the moment my work consist of boards of a length of 18” to 36” which causes me to be a little worried about using a #7 or #8 plane but again me knowledge is solely from books, no good perspiration inspiration!  I have on planing experience and my jointer skills my be suspect as well so any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.


 


Marshall


 

GrGramps's picture

(post #105014, reply #1 of 17)

Marshall,

A #7 jointer plane has worked for me for about 8 years, although I just recently bought a 6" Delta jointer. The hand plane will do the job just as accurately, but does require some skill. You mention gaining skills in woodworking and I think many would include learning to use a hand plane one of the basic skills. I have the inexpensive Stanley which does a fine job. Many will recommend more expensive planes which I am sure are a joy to use, if you are willing to make the investment. And you will find that some are successful using shorter (in length) planes. Keep reading - you will get more suggestions.

Welcome to Knots

Samson's picture

(post #105014, reply #2 of 17)

You have lots of options as I see it depending upon how much time and money you want to spend.  A table saw equipped with an excellent blade will produce glue line rips - i.e., edges ready for gluing that will produce invisible joints.  I use Forrest WWII blades for this, but other brands are available.  They will run you in the neighborhood of $75 to $100.


A handplane is another option.  A used Stanley 7 from around 1900 to 1940 era can be had for around $75-150 on e-Bay or from old tool sellers.  The 22" long 7 is good for jointing because it's long sole registers across any "waves" in the edge and allows the blade to shave them - like powered jointer longer beds mean more reference area.  No problems using a 7 on 18-36" boards, but if you are going to be working small a lot, you have an even cheaper alternative - get a Staney 5 Jack plane from the same era (one smaller board's the 5 is plenty long enough to span the minor hills and valleys like a 7 on longer stock).  5's are so common, nice ones can be had for $35 or less.  If you are wiling to pop for another $40, you can noticeably enhance either plane's performance by buying a Stanley replacement blade from Lie-Nielsen.  I like LNs becaue unlike other replacement blades that may be so thick you have to file the plane's mouth wider, the LN's are thick without requiring modifications to the plane.  


As for methods, it's very hard to get a perfectly square edge for a beginner.  The best method to deal with that until you're up to it, is to plane the two edges to be joined at the same time as described in the thread just below on butt joints.


My two cents.  Hope it helps a little.

pzgren's picture

(post #105014, reply #3 of 17)

Marshall,

As other posters have said, a #5, #7 or #8 will work fine. When I'm working on relatively short boards (12 to about 36 or so inches long), I usually reach for my #6. The couple of extra inches over the #5 seem to give a flatter surface faster, and the extra toe makes initial registration easier. Just a personal preference.

A couple of ideas/techniques that you might find useful:

     Don't get too, too excited about a perfectly flat straight edge if you're joining a couple of boards together to make a wider panel. If you live in an area where there are significant changes in the humidity levels between seasons, you might consider doing a "sprung" joint. (If you're not familiar with this, that's where each end of the board for about 4 to 6 inches [length dependant] in from the end is flat, and the area in between the ends is slightly [about 1/64th or so] concave. Glue up and clamping will compress the boards together into a tight joint, but since the ends are slightly "wider" than the center, they will tend not to separate with humidity changes. No guarantees, of course, but it is a useful technique.)

     Place two boards together (book-matched style, where the two "front" faces of the boards face each other), and then plane the two board's edges at the same time. Any angle induced on one will be cancelled by the complimentary angle on the other.

     Use a fence: you can buy one from one of the old tool dealers or on eBay (Lee Valley also has a magnetically-attached one), or you can use your hand. Just hook the thumb of your lead hand around the back of the front knob and curl your fingers under the sole of the plane. Your index finger acts as the fence (make sure that the contact surface is splinter-free, if you do this!!). It takes a little practice, but works quite well.

     Buy an edge plane. You can get an old Stanley from one of the old tool dealers or on eBay. Lee Valley makes one, and Lie-Nielsen makes both a left- and right-handed version.

If you haven't already read them, Hack's The Handplane Book and Graham Blackburn's book on using traditional hand tools have lots of useful information on planing.

This site also has good information on planing: http://www.amgron.clara.net/planingpoints/planeindex.htm

Some ideas to think about when purchasing a hand plane:

     You can spend a relatively small amount of money and a comparatively large amount of time tuning it up and get a good to excellent plane. There are, however, limits to what you can do with a not-too-terribly-well-made, newly-manufactured plane. 

Or,

     You can spend a relatively large amount of money and little or no time tuning it up and get a very good/excellent plane.

If going for little $$ and a fair amount of time, my recommendation would be an old Stanley, Millers Falls, or Sargeant. Look at WW II era production or earlier. Personally, I like the pre-1930s planes best. eBay has some good deals, but you have to know what to look for and what questions to ask. You also have to know what they are worth, so that you don't get caught up in the excitement of a bidding war and end up paying 2 or 3 times what it's worth. Some of the old tool dealers (the ones that cater to users, rather than collectors) also offer some pretty good deals.

If you get an older plane (or one of the cheaper new-manufactured planes), be prepared to spend a couple of extra $$ for a replacement iron and chipbreaker. Hock makes a good quality iron and chipbreaker. As Samson recommended, and I wholeheartedly agree, LN also make a good iron and chipbreaker. The prices are pretty close on each brand. I like the LNs better for a couple of reasons: the LN chipbreaker has a small ledge on the leading edge that mates with the iron a little tighter than the Hock does, and the LN irons seem to handle cranky-grained woods a little better. But, you really can't go wrong with either. If you go with the LN, make sure you get the right one: LN makes thicker replacement irons for their planes (1/8" to 3/16" thick), and thinner replacement irons for Stanley planes (0.090" thick); you'll want the thinner (0.090") Stanley replacements, unless you intend to modify the mouth of the plane.

I personally wouldn't bother with the new-manufactured planes in the $25 to $100 range. They are, in my experience, not worth the time and effort to bring them close to what you need for furniture making. As handy man tools or for rougher work like carpentry or framing, they're fine.

If you're more inclined to spend the $$ in lieu of time, then take a look at the Clifton, Veritas, or Lie-Nielsen planes. Veritas is probably the overall best bang for the buck; many other posters will (very) enthusiastically recommend them. My personal preference is for the LNs. But, you can't go wrong with any of the three, and they all come out of the box ready to take whisper-thin shavings; at most, you may have to hone the iron just a wee bit.

Finally, just get some scrap wood and practice. It's really not all that difficult and it really won't take you very long to gain a reasonable level of skill.

Hope that some of this will be of use to you. Good luck and keep us posted on how you're coming along!

James

Edited 1/20/2006 6:23 pm ET by pzgren

Edited 1/21/2006 2:55 pm ET by pzgren


Edited 1/21/2006 3:32 pm ET by pzgren

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Tschüß!

James

 

"The end does not justify the means. No one's rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others."

-- Ayn Rand

dusteater's picture

(post #105014, reply #4 of 17)

Getting that perfect joint is probably one of our last excuses for dusting off our handplanes! If you do use a joiner first then your challenge is greatly reduced - all you need do is clean up a machined edge.
Without the joiner, a long straightedge used in lieu of a tablesaw fence can do the trick. In the past I have had much success with a hollow-ground planner blade (high speed steel, not carbide).
Using either machine properly should give you a nice straight edge that is perpendicular to the board's face.
A well honed jointer plane can clean those edges up and produce invisible glue joints. The trick is to use nice long and even strokes, The kind that will give you one continuous shaving along the whole length of the board.
The trick about clamping your two boards together, either good face to good face or back to back works very well.
Acquiring an excellent quality joiner plane could be a very worthwhile investment. I am lucky to have my great-grandfather's 1902 Bailey that I still use for that very purpose. I have kept the slightly curved profile that the blade had when the plane was passed down to me, it cuts quite well. When doing glue edges, I keep a finger curled under the sole as a fence so that I am using the same part of the blade throughout the length of the cut.
The weight or mass of the plane seems to be important. It keeps it bearing down on the wood throughout your stroke. It also gives the plane lots of momentum, that helps offset the loss power we have at the end of our strokes.
When using these planes you want to always have a chunk of paraffin wax at hand, a well waxed sole makes all the difference between a battle of a task and a breeze of a job.
We all develop our own little tricks, try a bit of this and that, see what works for you. Once you get the hang of it you'll love making those joints for many years.

pzgren's picture

(post #105014, reply #5 of 17)

Perhaps you meant to reply to Marshall (M3), rather than me?

Regardless, you made several good points. The wax technique is one of those little "trick of the trade" things that really makes hand planing easier.

<<Getting that perfect joint is probably one of our last excuses for dusting off our handplanes! >>

I couldn't agree more, especially if you use power tools to do a lot of your wood working. Hand planes (and other hand tools) excel at doing this type of work. I do all of my woodworking by hand (for a variety of reasons), and one of the things that appeals to me about hand tools is that they are relatively quick and easy to learn how to use with a reasonable degree of skill, but there is a life time of learning to do in order to master them.

Anyway, good comments!!

.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Tschüß!

James

 

"The end does not justify the means. No one's rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others."

-- Ayn Rand

Midnight's picture

(post #105014, reply #6 of 17)

Marshall... I faced the same prob a while back while making the switch from wood munchers to handraulics... the solution proved to be far simpler than I anticipated...


I can no more plane a square edge freehand than I can fly... so I used my head instead.. built a shooting board that not only lets me shoot a dead square edge, but lets me shoot the board to finished width too. It doesn't matter what the width of the board's supposed to be... provided it's 12" or less my shooting board can handle it... It took all the guesswork out of edge jointing..


As for which plane to use, the shooting board has a 4ft long dead straight edge so theoretically I could shoot with anything from a block plane to a #8... My plane of choice is a #9... overkill perhaps, but it gives me a perfect result, first time, every time whether dealing with long grain or end grain shooting... watching it take a whisper thin 27" end grain shaving is a sight to behold...


Mike Wallace


Stay safe....Have fun

Mike Wallace

Stay safe....Have fun

philip's picture

(post #105014, reply #7 of 17)

What, armed with several LieNielsens including a #9, and ye cannae fly??Come now ,Laddae, you must do them justice.
Also, that shooting board is not the universal answer, as situations precluding it's use will arise for sure, to say nothing of it's limiting length.And, have you not got a #7, so that you do not wear out that #9 by using it as a try plane?
Seriously,i.e no jesting now, I cannot understand why you find it too difficult to plane edges square. Dare I say that this is a lingering symptom of attempting to fly before you can walk?(I have always thought that a solid training in the use of hand tools should precede the use of machine tools-to their mutual advantage).
In the absence of a suitable dram or two, just my sixpenceworth.

Philip Marcou

Philip Marcou
Midnight's picture

(post #105014, reply #12 of 17)

What, armed with several LieNielsens including a #9, and ye cannae fly??


<le sigh...
What can I say... ?? My absence of wings could be put down to an accident of birth... and the gas turbine made me bum look far too big... I won't go the scorch marks... Ahem...


Also, that shooting board is not the universal answer, as situations precluding it's use will arise for sure, to say nothing of it's limiting length


Well.. true enough, it won't cope with every stick I throw at it, but it has coped admirably with sticks up to 8ft long, and as I said previously, will handle anything up to 12" wide letting me shoot not just exactly square edges but give repeatability when I need sticks planed to an exact width... With a head as vacant as mine, the ability to hit the exact width with my head switched off is invaluable... trust me  ;)


And, have you not got a #7, so that you do not wear out that #9 by using it as a try plane?


Sure, I have a #7 that more than earns its keep planing my board faces; when it comes to the edges, the #9 takes all thought of try (as in "suck it and see") out of the equation, "suck if you want" being the order of the day...


There's a wee story behind the #9... its the only plane I've bought that I haven't ordered... I'd been drooling over the pics of the #9 on the L-N web site for weeks, but honestly couldn't justify the order at that time, I needed to cover the basics first. I was expecting delivery of the #4 1/2 when the #9 was delivered by mistake.


At that time, the project I was building had about a dozen large panels to shoot to exact sizes, a prospect I wasn't exactly looking forward to, so you can imagine my surprise when I opened the box expecting a smoother only to find my #1 drool tool instead... I called the supplier to explain their error, but when it came to the crunch I couldn't let it go after I'd had it in my paws... I had the supplier bill me for it and send the plane they shoulda sent on express delivery... OK... OK... so I'm weak... but I can shoot edges to die for...  ;P~


Seriously,i.e no jesting now, I cannot understand why you find it too difficult to plane edges square. Dare I say that this is a lingering symptom of attempting to fly before you can walk?


Truth be told, it's Tom Lie-Nielsen's fault... if he hadn't put the #9 back into manufacture it wouldn't have been sent to be my mistake and I woulda had no option but to learn how to balance a #7 on a 19mm edge... However... having acquired the correct tool for the job, I've never had the need to learn; my shooting boards take care of the balancing act for me.


Mike Wallace


Stay safe....Have fun

Mike Wallace

Stay safe....Have fun

philip's picture

(post #105014, reply #14 of 17)

Ah well I still cannae see how a wee dwarf of a #9 is good for jointing long sticks, but where ther's a will there's a way.
Thanks to Randy Walker I happened upon this site,www.wkfinetools.com-if you haven't seen it before I recommend it highly.

Philip Marcou

Philip Marcou
Midnight's picture

(post #105014, reply #15 of 17)

Ah well I still cannae see how a wee dwarf of a #9 is good for jointing long sticks, but where ther's a will there's a way.



It's simple really... when jointing using your method, the length of the plane determines how straight the stick is gonna be... with mine, the plane references against the edge of the shooting board... it'll cut that far and no further.. In theory I could shoot edges with a block plane and get similar results, bed length is irrelevant.


Mike Wallace


Stay safe....Have fun

Mike Wallace

Stay safe....Have fun

philip's picture

(post #105014, reply #16 of 17)

Er, not really-I determine how straight I want it-usually I want a slight dip in the middle-minimises on clamps and ensures the outer edges are well squeezed.
Now, laddae, for a stick 8ft long are you requiring a shooting board of that length also?And of what inert material is that shooter made-railway line?
Dinnae get me wrong,midst an element of jest there is a seriousness of intent as well...
I say again,(ref my last post to you) have you read Derek Cohen's writings, over.

Philip Marcou

Philip Marcou
Midnight's picture

(post #105014, reply #17 of 17)

Now, laddae, for a stick 8ft long are you requiring a shooting board of that length also?And of what inert material is that shooter made-railway line?
Dinnae get me wrong,midst an element of jest there is a seriousness of intent as well...


an 8ft shooting board...??? Lord nooooo dinna be daft.... I widnae get the thing moved in my shop...


Shooting sticks that are the same size as or bigger than the board is a bit of a palaver, but doable none the less.  They're locked to the board with toggle clamps; when you've planed as far as the stick will allow, simply loosen the clamps, slide the stick down the jig, resecure and away ya go again. Repeat as necessary until the jig prevents you removing more material.


As for what its made of... nothing fancy... I'd some sheets of 12mm baltic birch in the shop when I needed to build the jig; a half hour with a hacksaw and file gave me a pair of T headed M10 bolts (I already had suitable locking knobs) and 3 toggle clamps.. Nothing fancy... That said, there's plans afoot to add some captive nuts to make fine depth adjustment a lot easier.


I'm familiar with Derek's posts re shooting boards and his reviews of L-V tools... guy knows his stuff...


Mike Wallace


Stay safe....Have fun

Mike Wallace

Stay safe....Have fun

AdamCherubini's picture

(post #105014, reply #8 of 17)

Marshall,


There's good advice here.  Especially the bit about match planing. 


I'd just like to add that the joint you are attempting is extremely easy and fast to do. Its so fast that people who learn the technique below use their power jointers a lot less or never again.  You don't need any fences or trick planes. You simply do what was described above- put the two boards together and plane them STRAIGHT across.  The angle you plane on the edge is irrelevant (if one board has an 89 degree angle, the other will always have a 91).


EDGE STRAIGHTENING TECHNIQUE


To get the boards straight lengthwise, begin the cut a little in from the back edge and stop a little before the far end.  For the next cut, begin a little more in from the back and stop a little sooner (leaving the material on the ends untouched).  Continue the process until the plane no longer cuts in the center. 


Then hang the blade off the near end, pushing down hard on the front of the plane.  Begin the cut and slowly, moving the down force back until the blade is hanging off the far end and you are pushing down  on the back of the plane.  This is done to avoid "snipe".  Initially, (since you planed in that hollow) the plane will only cut on the ends of the board (snip.......snip)  As you make additionally passes, you will hear the cuts getting longer (snnnniiiippp....snnnniiiiipp).  When the plane takes one continuous shaving the edge will be straight.


CHOOSING A JOINTER PLANE


When choosing a plane for match planing (planing two boards together) consider the width of the plane's blade.  Obviously the longest plane is always best.  But a long stanley/LN #8 is also 1/4" wider than the 22" long #7.  So if your boards are 5/4, a #7 with its 2-3/8" blade will just work.  But you won't be able to match plane 6/4 stock with this plane. You MAY be able to work 6/4 surfaced stock with a #8.  6/4 rough stock will have to be thickness planed first. 


Just for reference: Old wooden jointer planes are both longer AND wider than these bogus, ham fisted copies. : )  My wooden jointer is 30" long and cuts 2-7/8" wide material.  This is very simply a superior tool.  You can sometimes find these on ebay.  Clark & Williams makes a very long wooden jointer (tho I'm not sure how wide it is).  More common on ebay are wooden "try" planes, often misrepresented as jointers.  They are typically 26-28" and usually have 2-5/8" wide blades.  I would certainly choose one of these over a #8 just for the extra length and low price if environmental concerns are not an issue for you.


Regards and good luck


Adam

miami's picture

(post #105014, reply #9 of 17)

Adam said:


"More common on ebay are wooden "try" planes, often misrepresented as jointers.  They are typically 26-28" and usually have 2-5/8" wide blades.  I would certainly choose one of these over a #8 just for the extra length and low price if environmental concerns are not an issue for you."


I certainly don't disagree, I just wonder - what 'environmental concerns' come into play in deciding between an old #8 vs. an old wooden try/jointer plane?


Clay

AdamCherubini's picture

(post #105014, reply #10 of 17)

I guess I think if your shop had no climate control- like a shed or something, and your environment had large humidity swings, you may find your wooden planes to be less reliable.  I have tools in a non-climate controlled environment in Bucks County PA and they tend to need a bit more attention than similar tools in my climate controlled home shop.


Electric woodworkers seem to concern themselves with dust control, hand tool woodworkers seem to concern themselves with humidity control.


I've heard tell about woodworkers in the American west,... well there's that story about the Santa Anna in "The Workbench Book".  Anyway, a rapid change in humidity can really screw with your tools.  I think folks in those climates may well be better off with metal planes.  Of course they still have the problems will their stock- but you can always put your stock aside or somewhere else...I'm rambling, sorry.  I think you get where I'm coming from.


Adam

miami's picture

(post #105014, reply #11 of 17)

Oh!


(Or, rather, I should say "D'oh!")


I was reading the phrase 'environmental concerns' not as meaning 'humidity issues affecting wooden planes,' but as meaning 'sensitivity to environmental/ecology issues' - rainforest destruction, pollution, etc. -- and I could not figure out how the choice of one type of old hand tool over another raised any such problems!


Thanks for clearing the (self-induced) fog,


Clay

pzgren's picture

(post #105014, reply #13 of 17)

Adam,

<<I've heard tell about woodworkers in the American west...I think folks in those climates may well be better off with metal planes. >>

Perhaps in some parts of the West. Here in the Southwest (New Mexico), the humidity rarely fluctuates enough for a long enough period of time to be of much concern. It averages 5% - 15% for most of the year, with sometime short-duration bursts of humidity to 50% or 60% or so -- for a couple of hours (this is a place where 10 inches of rainfall ANNUALLY is considered to be "a lot:" our "monsoon" season -- yeah we really call it that -- is July/August, where we get a whopping 3 - 6 inches of rain total during that 60 or so days....). Once the wood has acclimated to the lack of humidity, there is really very little practical problem with wood movement.

<<...well there's that story about the Santa Anna in "The Workbench Book"...>>

Now, south Texas is another story....it's as humid there as it is in Alabama or Georgia and has the same kinds of humidity fluctuations.

James

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Tschüß!

James

 

"The end does not justify the means. No one's rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others."

-- Ayn Rand