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Power of the hand planer

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by ship, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Been frustrating to me over the years them hand planers. Been more abt to grab my belt sander or put a 40 grit paper into the orbital sander over the years over using a hand planer even with a fresh blade. Hard to adjust, blade too dull to function properly even if new or not easy to get so, or out of adjustment.

    Recently I used an Xacto knife set’s micro planer and was amazed at how nice it was to use given it was probably its first use in like 20+ years. Bought another micro planer and it also worked well - easily and better than sanding. Always had my Dad’s Sears Scrub planer but even with a fresh blade could never get it working properly. This much less having bought an old True Value Block plane it also wasn’t working well. (Thanks “Audels Carpenters and Builders Guide” c.1945 for info on planes.) This because I also just bought a Stanley RB5 replacable blade block plane that was telling me to install the blades backwards which might be correct for it but is not correct for other planes. Years of attempting to use the planes before the Stanley plane and none successful but before the Stanley replacable plane, none that came with instructions before that I almost followed as opposed to the old book on the reverse of that and proper adjustment I had not before studied. Hand planes by the time I got to college and even high school were obsolete already for our pourposes, didn’t even learn it in high school wood shop class by that time of like 1982 in that we had other more modern tools to play with or learn.

    Almost tried again the older planes with blades backwards were it not for the book that told me how to adjust and sharpen the blades - though I refined the techniques in the book some with silicone fiber grinding wheel instead of hand filing. Amazing how much sharper I was able to get them, perhaps even more sharp than I might have bought them at for like $40.00 per planer blade I might have gone with and had in the past without results.

    Sharp planer blade, some good instructions on how to set it up, a bit of time and a play test and I couldn’t believe how useful the old block planes could be. This in addition to cleaning and power tool waxing the old tools up. Showed the Wife the first test curls from Dad’s old planer that had been kicking about my tool box for like twenty years now... the tight curls of wood, the smooth surface of the planed edge etc... she wasn’t impressed/interested though it was big for me.

    Mmm... 2"x6" silicone fiber abrasive grinder wheel... can’t beat it as with the white fine grit grinding wheel next to it for the rough in tool steel work without burning the edge on the plane that had nicks in it and needed a complete start over. I was for the most part guessing/freeballing the actual angle of edge - need to do a jig for that in the future. Still though it would seem that a few years worth of experience at roughing in a grinding was sufficient. Lots of trial and error or more careful towards the edges in getting it even further practice.

    On her China Cabinet, I needed to take off 3/8" worth of material from the top of the sides at the top so as to bevel the sides. China cabinet is like 30" square at the base by six foot tall in having the rear side a book shelf. A Stickly like Craftsman design I made with parallel narrow boards forming its basis in concept has a taper to the top some in not being overt but there. In cross grain it was still about the sanders but on parallel grain (once I found the direction of the grain) I was amazed at how fast and easily Dad’s old hand planer once sharpened and aligned took off the material and how finished it was once done. Much more easy also to keep perpendicular also. It was cool how nicely the hand planer took off material. Power planer is now off my list of tools I need. Amazed at how nicely the hand planer with a sharp and properly adjusted blade took off material. Less time with the planer than with 36grit belt sander paper on the cross grain even if it had more material at the top rail part of it as if a soft flat this is in many ways.

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