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about handplaning to thin stock

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Hello, here's a method for thinning stock that might be scaled down and adapted to your needs.  

The pictures show a 10" x 20" piece of rosewood that I'm planing down to  about a 2mm thickness for the back of an acoustic guitar.  I have made a base board from particle board and placed it on the flat top of the table saw.  Then I cut an L-shape from  1/8" or 7/64" baltic birch plywood, and a rectangular piece (attached to the runners).  The stock is laid on the base board, and prevented from moving by the short leg of the L-shape (acting as a stop) and the rectangular piece that is butted against it.  Then I use the Stanley No. 4 to scrub off most of the stock, and then I use a No.6 foreplane for uniform thicknessing, and then finish up with a cabinet scraper.  The No.6 foreplane is 18" long and so it can bridge the stock and it will plane off material until its sole rests on the 7/64" plywood.  By the way, waxing or oiling the sole of the plane greatly eases the effort of handplaning (and sawing as well) and does not interfere with finishing.

With practice, you will find that planing is much faster and more pleasant than sanding.  For most general woodwork, I would say that 80% of the work can be done with a No.4 bench plane and a No. 60-1/2 low angle block plane (not shown here), and these planes should be in any woodworker's armamentarium.




Stanley 80.jpg

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I forgot to mention that you could attach dimensioned thin strips to the outside edges of a plane, which would limit the cut as happens above, with the large pieces of plywood.  This would work for planing strips almost to the width of the blade. The strips can be attached with double-stick tape or with epoxy.   Incidentally, for tapering masts, you might look at how bamboo flyrods are made with block planes and a grooved base board.


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Joe, Ah, I see what might be confusing you.  In the first pic, the L-shaped piece is pictured lying upside down, and you can see some cleats glued on around the edges.  In use, the L-shape is flipped over and placed on the baseboard with the cleats against base board's edges, and then screws are run through the slots to clamp the L to the baseboard.  When done this way, there are no screw heads on the top surface that I might strike with the plane.  But the plywood can also be screwed down in the corners, away from the plane's path.  In the second pic, you can see that I glued the rectangular piece to two runners that are set in dados, so that I can quickly accommodate different widths of stock, such as the side ribs of the guitar that are 6"x 36".   But again, the piece can be simply screwed down to the base board, keeping in mind to avoid striking them with the plane.

The setup is shown the second picture, where the process is about half-completed and the rosewood is underneath the two planes. The rosewood is prevented from moving by the L-shape plywood and rectangular plywood.  First, I planed with the bench plane across and diagonally to hog off large amounts until the rosewood was near to the desired thickness, and then I used the foreplane with the blade skewed in a longitudinal direction. The foreplane is spanning the rosewood, with its toe on the rectangular piece and the heel on the L-shaped piece.    The two pieces of plywood prevent the foreplane from dipping farther than desired (note: the blade is projecting only a few thousandths.)  T  If the pieces still slip, then try gluing a few sheets of sandpaper to the base board.


It's essential that the planes are sharp.



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Here's a picture of a block plane fitted with 2mm thick craft sticks.  They're stuck on with double-stick Scotch tape, but they could be glued on with CA glue.  This might be all that you need for modeling work.  Looking at the pic again, I'd probably move them all the way forward to the toe, or find longer sticks for the entire length of the plane.  I would place the stock on a sheet of sandpaper, say 60-100 grit, that was glued on a piece of MDF.


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