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Plane for flat edges and faces

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Ozzel, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. What kind of plane will I need for flattening the edges of a two-piece solid body? Then, once glue up is done, what kind of plane is used to flatten the face and back? I'm guessing a shooting plane for the former, and a jack plane (longest I can find) for the latter. Is this correct?
  2. I buit a jig for my router for both of these operations. Picture an upside-down shoebox lid made of 3/4" MDF(heavy-duty particle board). Now replace the router base w/one also made of MDF- also similiar to a shoebox lid. This will ride on the edges of the 1st box, keeping a consistent height above your workpiece (clamped to the lower box). The new router base has to be large enough to ride on the edges & move fore & aft as well as side to side, so as to mill down the workpiece. I hope this isn't too confusing- sorry I'm lame & can't post pics.
    I believe you're right on the planes. I would prefer to use hand tools myself, but there is definitely a learning curve (at least for me!), & I'm fairly experienced with powered stuff.
  3. bassteban, sounds like an interesting setup. Can you email some pics of that jig? s_erich@bellsouth.net

    I'd still be interested in more info from anyone on the proper hand planes to use. Thanks.
  4. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    You could probably get a cabinet shop to do it for very little money on a power planer if you don't have one. I've never used a hand plane on such a wide area myself. It's times like this I really feel guilty you humans don't have laser eyes.
  5. Scott, you're probably referring to the top and back. Yes, that's a pretty big area to cover. Intimidating. But I'd like to at least tackle the edges myself. What kind of hand plane will I need? The thickness of the wood is 1.5".
  7. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I wish you were closer to Daytona I would have you come on over and put it throught the my planer or drum sander. Are you ever up this way?....t
  8. tjclem, no never get up that way. Nice of you to offer, though.
  9. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Cool it was worth a shot......t
  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Do you have a router?
    Can you get something straight. like a ruler, but thick?

    Then it's pretty simple to make joining edges. Don't you think?

    For the flattening, after gluing, I use s wide piece of MDF and some 80, possibly 50, grit sand paper. If you put some effort into the clamping, you'll be done within 15 minutes.
    I tried planer once, because I was sloppy in the preps, and the level difference was some 5 mm :eek: I still had to do the sanding thing, but it took me double the time, due to planing mishaps...
  11. It seems like no one who's responded to this thread likes to use a hand plane. Why is that? I've never used one, so that's why I'm asking. I do have a router and I'm sure I could build a jig that would turn it into a jointer. But it seems to me that a good quality hand plane, a good vice and some skill would be just as good as a router+jig, and a lot less noisy, too. If I were to buy a hand plane, my first task will be to true the edges of the two halves of 1.5" thick cherry for the body. I have plenty of cherry scraps of the same thickness to practice on before I plane the the good stuff. What kind of plane will I need for this task?
  12. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    I don't think it's that folks don't "like" hand planers. It's probably because most folks have power tools that'll do the job and may have no idea what kind of hand planer to use (self included). I have one small hand plane that rarely ever gets used. For squaring & truing up edges the prefered tool would be a jointer. For thickness it would be a thickness planer or thickness sander.
  13. Hand planes are excellent tools that do their job very, very well...

    ...if you know and understand their care, feeding, and setup to the nth degree! They are fickle and it's the fine details in the setup of these beasts that makes them do their best work. That's probably the reason they aren't the first choice of most of the younger ones here - me included.

    I know Schuyler is very experienced with hand planes and he could probably offer more insight to their use.

    And it's a funny thing but Goodwill pays off again! - I just picked up two complete antique Union steel planes - a No.5 and a smaller one - with all of the parts and blades for $14.00. I got them because of Schuylers stories and I've found the occasional need for them so I thought I would get wise to this old but valuable skill.
  14. Ditto! Handplanes are not for the casual user! indeed you have to put in a lot of hours to set it up as they should (because unless you buy one of the expensive clifton or lie-nielsen, they do not come ready to perform out of the box). Also, a lot of reading is necessary to get the details in your head. Plus there's the whole sharpening issue. I spent probably about a month of everyday reading and setting up my small block (!!!!) plane and could never get my 14" jack plane to perform at it's best. Now that I have bought my first lie-nielsen plane (a small low angle block) I can definetly tell the difference between a good plane and one that's pure trash. But then again, a well setup crappy stanley block plane could be made to perform just like the lie-nielsen, you just have to put in your blood, sweat and tears on it.

    I recommend 'The Handplane Book'. Excellent resource for the plane junkie!
  15. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    it's nice to see my name has preceded me to this discussion!

    i'm by no means a hand plane expert, but my granddad taught me a few things...

    wilser makes some very good points... using planes requires a certain degree of dedication to learning their use and maintaining them, as does any fine hand tool. but... they also have certain advantages that no other tool does. a properly tuned plane can take shavings .003" thick, affording a degree of precision almost equal to a CNC. they also require no power and produce no dust, only shavings. and once you've developed the skills and set up the plane, you can work much faster since you don't have to set up jigs as much. the biggest advantage is this: a good plane can give you a surface which needs almost no sanding. with enough skill, the right planes, and some cabinet scrapers, you can completely eliminate sandpaper. i'm not that good though... yet. :)

    the Lie-Nielsen are the Porsches of planes... i'd have a whole cabinet full if i could afford them. but for my budget, i've found the Record planes to be a good compromise. they require a little more set up work, but they cost about a third the moolah. the best planes are the old pre-WWII Stanleys, but they usually need a ton of restoration.

    i use 3 planes for 90% of my bass building -- a Record #4 smoothing plane, a Stanley #60 1/2 low angle block plane (soon to be replaced by a new L-N), and a Kuntz Palm Plane. I've replaced the irons on the Record and Stanley with Hock irons, which are great. The three planes and the irons cost about $160 or thereabouts.

    as for which to use for different tasks, i'd use the #4 for all of what you list, and clean it up with the block plane.

    i also second the recommendation of "The Handplane Book" by Garrett Hack, and check out Highland Hardware (www.highlandhardware.com), which is a mecca for handplane enthusiasts (and right in my neighborhood, too).

    hope this helps!
  16. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    hambone -- where is this magical goodwill that has everything we desire for pennies on the dollar? i must learn your secret... :ninja:
  17. Gosh, hand planes look so easy and convenient to use, but I guess they're not. :meh:
  18. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    it's an investment for future returns...

    they are easy to use, but like a helicopter... you'll spend a couple years getting a pilot's license, but then think of all the gridlock you can bypass!
  19. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    That's a comparison worth the effort!

    It's about knowledge, which is achieved by training, which takes time. But is rewarding in the end - if time is available...