Archive for ‘Planes’

Lie-Nielsen #4 Plane

By , 3 October, 2011, No Comment
Shavings from Lie-Nielsen Plane

Shavings from Lie-Nielsen Plane

I invested in a #4 Lie-Nielsen plane.  This plane is different in a few way from the traditional Stanley/Bailey plane.  The number one difference is that the frog holds the plane iron at a 50 degree pitch as opposed to the 45 degree angle found on most Stanley/Bailey planes. The higher pitch is referred to as the York or Middle pitch.

The steeper angle helps reduce the tear-out that comes with difficult woods.  Here is a great blog about the whole issue with planing and potential for tear-out.

I am working on medicine cabinets for our two bathrooms.  I chose quarter-sawn white oak to match most of our Arts and Crafts style furniture.  I included a picture of some of the shavings from the oak pieces that make up the doors.  Call me a sucker for wispy thin shavings of wood, and this plane is a champ at making them.  I like using this plane on this oak because I get tear-out on quarter-sawn wood from time to time and this plane really helps.

I have several planes from several manufacturers.  Some are new, and some are a hundred years old.  I use a number of them on my projects.  This plane however, is like an old friend.  Although I have not possessed it a long time, it simply fits my hands so well, and is such a pleasure to use.

Small Shoulder Plane

By , 21 March, 2011, No Comment

I purchased the Veritas Small Shoulder Plane from Lee Valley a couple of weeks back, and I love this tool!  I already own the medium version which looks and feels nice.  I purchased the medium first because I got to handle one that a friend at work owns.  At the time, I liked its features and it had a nice feel.  But, I found that it felt too hefty and seemed overly large for some of the jobs on which I am currently working.

So, I took a chance and bought the smaller version.  I have to admit that it looked like it might be more difficult to handle compared to the medium size, but the opposite is true for me.  By the way, I have pretty large hands, but this tools fits nicely.

Before I bought this tool, I found myself in situations where I wondered how I was going to get a certain task done without botching it.  I knew that I could use a chisel, but my control would be all over the place.  I knew that I could use a file, but also knew I would not like the end result.

This tool is wonderful.  Recently I needed to shave about a 64th of an inch off the last 3/8 inch of a couple slats that measure 4 inches wide.  I used a marking gauge to draw a line across the edge and then clamped a piece of MDF along that line.  The shoulder plane has a nice flat side, and I simply pressed it against the MDF and made about a dozen simple passes across the wood.  It was so easy to get a super sharp edge and a wonderfully flat surface.  I love this tool.

If you make furniture and are on the fence about the value of a nice shoulder plane, I encourage you to get one.  I know there are several options out there, and I have not touched the major competitors tools.  But the Veritas tool is very nice.  I personally would suggest getting the small plane before the medium if you do not yet own either.


Miniature Plane

By , 24 January, 2011, 5 Comments
Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

I have large hands, and they are not quite as limber as they were when I did woodworking 30 years ago.  The benefits of age though are many.  One particular benefit is the cash to buy some nice little toys that are cute and useful on projects.

Sometimes you need something small when you are working on something small. These desks contain a few small pieces of wood that fit into sockets.  I got them close with table saw and router, but finished the fit by hand.  One piece is 1 inch wide and the other is 1 and 1/2 inch wide.  Both are just over 3/8 inch thick.

Using the Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

Using the Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

With just a tiny bit of adjustment required, I started with my marking gauge.  I scribed a line all the way around each end to make a cut about 3/8 inch from the end which is the depth of the mortise into which the pieces will fit.

At this point, I needed to shave of a very minute amount of wood along that line to make it fit nicely into the mortise.  I started with a sharp chisel and then finished with the miniature shoulder plane from Veritas.  It worked very nicely.  The plane hugged my scribed line, giving me a nice sharp shoulder, and removed the tiniest shavings until I had a great fit.

This is the second occasion in which I pulled out this tool, and each time it was a delight to put into play.  So far, I have not sharpened it, using it just as it came from Lee Valley.  Highly recommended.

The Beauty of Wood

By , 12 May, 2010, No Comment

For the true lover of wood, beauty lies mostly in the visual feature.   But for many, other senses and emotions are stimulated.  Most wood emits an odor when the surface is abraded or cut.  The typical worker of wood loves the smell, and enjoys feelings evoked by the aroma.

Some woods contain properties that stain the hands when worked.  Oak contains tannin which was used to tan animal hides, and leaves a blackish stain on fingers that rub against the bare wood.  Some woods are toxic and create dermatological issues for the worker, which heighten the awareness of the nature of the variety of the wood.  Such woods often contain properties that make them a pleasure to work.

Which brings me to the tactile beauty of wood.  Wood feels different than other materials.  Most feel creamy smooth and wonderful to touch when smoothed.  Many posses open grain that is less pleasant, but enjoyable to feel none the less.  Those who dry the wood naturally over the years and not in kilns swear the wood feels different than wood dried in a kiln like most of us know.

But mostly, there is the visual feature of wood that distinguishes it from so many other materials.  Once it lived, and while alive the life of the tree was recorded by growth rings, decay, abuse, weather, pests and disease.  Some of the most spectacular pieces of wood exhibit characteristics that are labeled, but the reason for them is still unknown.  Curly Maple is such a wood.

Sometimes, even the shavings of wood made by my hand planes captivate me, and I occasionally have to stop and take a photo.  I will include a couple that I think could easily make a desktop background.  From a recent tuning of a Stanley #4, I took shavings from walnut, poplar, purpleheart and pine.


Crib Shaping

By , 26 April, 2010, No Comment
Shavings From Crib Legs

Shavings From Crib Legs

This weekend, I decided that I better get back to the crib if this baby might show up early.  I glued the legs together a few weeks ago, each one made of three pieces of walnut.  Finished legs measure around 42 inches at the moment, but the front two will be cut shorter.  Before I ran the legs through my power planer and possibly messed up a blade, I decided to get out the plane that belonged to Judy’s dad.  With Curt’s No. 7, I cut down the dried glue areas and then flattened two sides of each leg so that I could run them quickly through the jointer before I rand them through the planer later on.  As you can see from the photo, I created a pretty pile of shavings after working all four legs.

Sized Slats

Sized Slats

If you compare this stack of slats to an earlier picture that I put up, you might not seem much difference in a quick look.  However, each slat is now exactly the same size, smooth and each has a 1/8 inch round-over on every side.

I cut floating tenons too to fit into the ends of these 42 slats, so pretty soon, I should be ready to glue these things to the rails.

But first, everything needs a final sanding, and some stain before the glue comes close.  I want to avoid any glue spill over on this job, and there is way too much to tape off to avoid glue bleed.

I think I will wait for a nice day, and then take these pieces outside and let the sanding dust fly to the wind.  That will keep the whole house a lot cleaner.