Losing my mind. Handplaning: Problems Face Jointing a 2x4

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Forum topic by NeophyteGrant posted 02-17-2018 11:03 PM 1826 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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133 posts in 1285 days

02-17-2018 11:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: handplane joint face

I’m practicing with a No. 62 LN BU Jack and 7 1/2 BU LN Jointer on truing some 2×4s before building a saw bench (in turn prep for a SYP bench).

After taking down the high spots for any cup, twist, or bow with the jack and getting it reasonably ready, I’m having problems running the BU jointer with the grain in overlapping strokes to produce a uniformly flat surface lengthwise (see attached illustration below or if too small/bad resolution see it here). I’ve read and watched everyone from Schwarz to Cosman and Sellers to try and mimic.

a. Basically, I alternate between creating a hump or hollow in the center. To try and diagnose the problem I’ve checked after every pass (although I know a full size chip is the sign): I never seem to dial it in. See below diagram. Sole is flat—so that is out. Might be lateral adjustment? Though this is minimally adjustable on LNs, only for a slight skew. I’ve been ensuring my technique is low center of gravity, move with the legs, keep the sole on the board, etc.

a.Is there a special method for longer boards, having heard that I can reliably joint double the jointer sole length?
b. Should I take a with grain pass with the jack, then the jointer (thinking the jointer is riding over hollows?), or a jointer then smoother?
c. How do I handle the overlapping with grain passes across the board (two “lanes”). Flatten one “lane”, then move over, keep going down the board? Should it take one pass per?

Guy who is probably an idiot, but really wants to learn this skill, but is kinda frustrated right now.

6 replies so far

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10477 posts in 4424 days

#1 posted 02-17-2018 11:33 PM

IS your bench really flat? Boards will deflect
under the force of planing.

I use a 78” level for assessing straightness.

You might find setting the jointer for a very fine
cut helps.

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133 posts in 1285 days

#2 posted 02-17-2018 11:54 PM


I think its reasonably flat. Its 3/4 maple ply with a brace for sagging. If I had known better I’d have laminated the ply boards and added another inch thickness. It’s about 60 inches long and my longest ‘machinist’-esque tolerance straight edge is the LV 50 inch aluminum. Ive been thinking about a longer straight edge either in cold rolled steel, a flooring straight edge, or level.

It’s also clamped with wonder dogs and dogs. I’d use a planing stop with holdfasts but my bench is too thin for them to hold well. I checked to make sure they weren’t warping the board. Seems alright.

Re: fine shavings. I’ve tried and it seems to help a bit. My other natural question is how flat is flat for hand jointing? Should I expect .003 or better? Another relevant piece of info I think I excluded is I managed .0015 on a 35 inch board on half the board lengthwise, which seems to indicate that the bench was flat enough (or I somehow overcame any bench imperfections.

The great thing about this is one day I’ll just be able to sense what’s wrong and do it without thinking, hah.

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133 posts in 1285 days

#3 posted 02-18-2018 12:27 AM

Loren: I went out to the shop and I think board flex is part of the problem. I’ll have to shim more. Warp on the underside is giving me some give.

Also had the idea that I should chalk up the entire board to see what I’m hitting. That night give me some insight.

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25915 posts in 3459 days

#4 posted 02-18-2018 12:41 AM

And a pair of winding sticks….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4424 days

#5 posted 02-18-2018 12:44 AM

For frame stock it just has to be flat and
parallel enough to make a frame flat enough
for the application.

For laminated glue-ups like the work bench
top another recent thread asked about, I
think bowing can be clamped out but cup and
twist are more concerning.

Even working with machinery boards bow after
planing. In gluing up things like table tops
its inevitable. There are a lot of ways to
compensate when doing glue-ups. With all
the talk of “wood movement” it can sound like
everything you make will explode unless it’s
perfect but the issue is a lot more nuanced than
that. Do the best you reasonably can at every
stage, try new ideas, and gradually you’ll find
approaches you can use to get the end result
you want within acceptable tolerances.

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133 posts in 1285 days

#6 posted 02-18-2018 10:10 PM

Thanks again Loren. It’s a combination of backing the iron off even more than I had thought and flex in the board—things you had suggested. A bunch of the boards were warped on the underside and the way I using the dogs and wonder dog clamping seemed to introduce even more flex.

I used the chalk and that helped me see behavior and respond to the wood better.

For clarification, I was only using the 2×4 for practice (though I might make a first set of cauls with them for the bench glue up) but your point is solid: less about a universal number and more about what’s needed for that specific application.

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