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basic planing techniques

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Forum topic by trsnider posted 12-18-2018 04:51 PM 1037 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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trsnider

131 posts in 2431 days


12-18-2018 04:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: planing techniques planes

I’m relatively inexperienced with planes. I bought a fancy-a##ed Lie Nelson low angle smoothing plane. (I believe) the blade is sharp. More often than not when I planing a face the plane skips across the surface and leaves gouges/ripples rather than a nice ribbon. Planing from the other direction doesn’t help much.
What am I doing wrong or aren’t doing at all?
Are there recommended videos that would show me the proper way to plane and what I’m doing wrong. I firmly believe it’s the operator and not the tool (or the operators a tool :) )
Thanks


21 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

9962 posts in 1560 days


#1 posted 12-18-2018 05:04 PM

What kind of wood are you planing? Low angle planes excel at some things but smoothing gnarly, figured or direction-changing grain isn’t one of them. If the grain isn’t pretty straight and clear, you’d probably have better luck with a standard pitched smoother or, even better, a high-angled smoother.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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trsnider

131 posts in 2431 days


#2 posted 12-18-2018 05:33 PM

Both oak and walnut nothing real gnarly about either. I’ll try and replicate my results and post some pics later.

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Rich

4573 posts in 1011 days


#3 posted 12-18-2018 05:50 PM

Kenny’s right about the grain. However, the beauty of a low-angle plane like yours is that the blade is mounted bevel-up, so by sharpening it at higher angles you can affect its performance in wavy wood. Some users keep multiple blades sharpened at different angles and switch them out depending on the situation. You can even grind a blade blunt and then you’ll have a scraper plane.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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shampeon

1900 posts in 2605 days


#4 posted 12-18-2018 05:55 PM

If it’s skipping, you’re either taking too heavy of a cut, the blade isn’t sharp, or both.

Wax the sole, retract the blade all the way, and slowly turn the knob until you’re just getting shavings. If you’re getting dust, sharpen the blade. If you’re getting a shaving on only one side of the plane, adjust the lateral lever to square the blade.

For a smoother, relieving the corners of the blade is common to avoid gouges on the sides.

A dull Lie Nielsen cuts just as crappy as a dull stamped frog Home Depot POS. Learn to sharpen & setup your plane, and touch up often.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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Andre

2676 posts in 2227 days


#5 posted 12-18-2018 06:58 PM

Get a Veritas with PMV-11 irons and not have to worry about sharpening:) Grain direction can be tricky, try attacking from different angles? I have had better luck smoothing with a high angle (55 deg) but then again it was a Veritas with the PMV-11 Iron:)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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Manitario

2764 posts in 3304 days


#6 posted 12-18-2018 07:15 PM

Learning to plane is a skill that has to be learnt. I went through the same process when I started using hand planes. I got a lot of excellent advice from this site, but still struggled. What helped me the most was getting a few books on handplaning eg. The Handplane Book by Garrett Hack and/or The Essential Woodworker by Wearing.
Step 1 is to have a razor sharp blade, literally, if you can’t shave with the blade, it isn’t sharp enough.
Step 2 is learning how to set up the plane and tune it; even the “fancy” planes I have from LV and LN have needed a bit of tweaking before they were ready to work.
Step 3 is learning how to set the blade, the mouth etc.

As a beginner, if the blade is skipping etc. it is probably not the grain direction but sharpness and how you have the plane set up.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5210 posts in 4382 days


#7 posted 12-18-2018 07:26 PM

Take THIN shavings. All too many times the WWer will try to take very thick cuts. Leads to crappy results.

That said, proper set up, sharp-REALLY SHARP irons are a must.

Thick cuts are for scrub planes.

-- [email protected]

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2363 posts in 2411 days


#8 posted 12-18-2018 07:45 PM



If it s skipping, you re either taking too heavy of a cut, the blade isn t sharp, or both.

Wax the sole, retract the blade all the way, and slowly turn the knob until you re just getting shavings. If you re getting dust, sharpen the blade. If you re getting a shaving on only one side of the plane, adjust the lateral lever to square the blade.

For a smoother, relieving the corners of the blade is common to avoid gouges on the sides.

A dull Lie Nielsen cuts just as crappy as a dull stamped frog Home Depot POS. Learn to sharpen & setup your plane, and touch up often.

- shampeon

+1 ….. dont need a book, just simple advice like this. Figure out how to get whispy, centered shavings, and the heavier cuts will be easy. For smoother irons some strokes with down pressure on each side of the iron while sharpening usually provides enough corner relief to prevent tracks.

View Max™'s profile

Max™

91 posts in 331 days


#9 posted 12-25-2018 12:43 AM

Slide it across with no pressure, see how it does, if it doesn’t pull up anything, lightly apply pressure to the front, and I mean like, go from gently holding it to resting your hand on it like it was a kitten.

If it still doesn’t pull up anything, start smushing the kitten a little more until you’re feeling grain being sliced and lifted up smoothly, and when you get to the end of your cut, you know how a kitten will lift their rump and tail when you pet them?

Do that with your hand so the back of the plane lifts first and see how it compares to what you were doing.

-- One hand to hold the saw, one hand to guide it, one hand to brace the work and in the sawdust OW MY THUMB!

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

196 posts in 4175 days


#10 posted 12-26-2018 12:55 PM

A Lie-Nielsen plane is an heirloom tool so it’s not the tool. Sounds like the blade needs sharpening and make sure you are not taking too thick of a shaving. Checkout the Lie-Nielsen website. They have probably 50 videos on topics like sharpening and how to use their tools. Also Rob Cosman’s website has really good videos as well. You have an excellent plane.

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Robert

3436 posts in 1902 days


#11 posted 12-26-2018 02:27 PM

“Sharp” is a relative thing.

Tell us how you’re sharpening the iron I’m sure that will solve the problem.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Dwain's profile

Dwain

596 posts in 4281 days


#12 posted 12-26-2018 02:54 PM

Yes of course, now that you have spent $250 on a plane, go out and spend another $350 on ANOTHER LOW ANGLE SMOOTHER AND BLADES because you aren’t sure what is wrong. I hope this is a joke. I agree with previous advice, wax the sole of the plane, retract the blade and slowly bring it back down running the blade across the wood until you make contact. Please please PLEASE don’t go out and buy a new plane. I am pretty confident this one will work for you!


Get a Veritas with PMV-11 irons and not have to worry about sharpening:) Grain direction can be tricky, try attacking from different angles? I have had better luck smoothing with a high angle (55 deg) but then again it was a Veritas with the PMV-11 Iron:)

- Andre


-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View trsnider's profile

trsnider

131 posts in 2431 days


#13 posted 12-26-2018 04:19 PM

ok—I’m not going to buy a new plane. That was never in the plans. I know the problem is mainly the user and then blade sharpness. I’ll sharpen the blade and try the back off and slowly advance technique. Christmas traveling, guests, and staining woes have interrupted this effort.

View JayT's profile

JayT

6227 posts in 2632 days


#14 posted 12-26-2018 05:11 PM

Seeing you are in Derby, have you checked out the Sunflower Woodworking Guild in Wichita? There would be several members there that would be able to help with sharpening and technique. One of them is LJ member ksSlim and IIRC, he is pretty good with planes.

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5572 posts in 3665 days


#15 posted 12-26-2018 07:21 PM

Is the plane skipping or is the wood surface not flat? Whether or not the blade is sharp, the plane will seem to be skipping if there are dips or humps in the surface you are trying to plane. The longer the sole of the plane, the more skipping may seem. A long sole plane cannot follow the up and down contours of wood. This is pretty much basic when using any plane.

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