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Joint long edge from table saw with smoothing plane

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Forum topic by Travis posted 02-20-2019 07:22 AM 1701 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Travis

162 posts in 65 days


02-20-2019 07:22 AM

Hi all,

I just bought a bunch of ash that was on sale for my first full size table. I’ve done smaller stuff before, and nothing that needed to be perfect. As this will be our family dining table and hopefully something that will last for a while, I want it to be as good as can be. I don’t have a jointer, so in the past I’ve relied on my job site table saw and various jigs and made the best of things. Needless to say, my glue ups have been passable for my projects but certainly not perfect. I’d like to step it up a notch for this project.

I’m just starting to experiment with hand planes. I have a block plane and smoothing plane (#4 I think) to learn on. I know the theory is that a jointer plane should really be used for long edges, and that you can generally flatten about double the length of the shoe. Due to their size, the shorter planes ride the curves more than the longer ones. However, I would assume that is most true when starting with fairly rough stock with significant issues.

So my question is, if I started with one edge out of the jointer (I pay the lumber yard to joint one edge), and am really careful ripping the other edge on the table saw with a quality rip blade, could I effectively joint that edge by going over it with my smoothing plane? The deviations from true should be small since I’m coming from a relatively good rip and I’m not sure the length of a jointer plane would be necessary. Am I thinking about this wrong?

-- Travis, Arizona


36 replies so far

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2154 posts in 2288 days


#1 posted 02-20-2019 01:24 PM

A 4 and a long straight edge can work, just takes more time than using an actual jointer. Bookend each set of edges to be joined and joint them together – any angularity wont matter. Plane length does matter even with good surfaces to start. It would take me quite a bit more time to get the edges just right with a 4. Shorter planes “ride the curve” regardless of surface condition, and a shorter plane is less of a handicap when starting a rough surface, and becomes more of a handicap as the surface gets flatter. I sometimes use shorter planes to knock down hi spots in a panel glue up then switch to a 7 to finish flattening.

Flattening the panel can also be done with a 4 but will require a lot more checking with a straight edge. Sounds like the perfect excuse to find an old #7 to refurb.

View SMP's profile

SMP

467 posts in 204 days


#2 posted 02-20-2019 01:53 PM

If its thinner stock you can do as mentioned above you can bookend them. That works great for 3/4 stock. But for my workbench,and i am guessing your table top, i had the problem of using 8/4 material, which won’t work. This Paul Sellers video helped, as I have a tendency to belly long boards https://woodworkingmasterclasses.com/videos/edge-jointing-techniques/edge-jointing-thick-stock/
However while I had my boards for my bench waiting for me to finish the base, i found an old Stanley transitional jointer for $30, about 1/6 the price of an old #7 in decent confition. Wow that made a huge difference! It seems nobody values the transitional planes but they actually work amazingly well when tuned.

View JayT's profile

JayT

6106 posts in 2510 days


#3 posted 02-20-2019 02:18 PM

So my question is, if I started with one edge out of the jointer (I pay the lumber yard to joint one edge), and am really careful ripping the other edge on the table saw with a quality rip blade, could I effectively joint that edge by going over it with my smoothing plane? The deviations from true should be small since I m coming from a relatively good rip and I m not sure the length of a jointer plane would be necessary. Am I thinking about this wrong?

- Travis

Yes, you can in that situation, I’ve done it many times. If you get a good, straight rip off the table saw, a couple light passes with a smoothing plane to clean up the saw marks will not cause the edge to go out enough that it can’t be clamped up well. Do what OSU says about jointing both edges to be glued at the same time. Lay out the pieces like you will glue them up, fold the two top faces together and then joint both of the edges to be glued at once. Works slick once you get the hang of it.

If you are going to continue down the hand plane path, a jointer plane would pay for itself quickly by not having to pay the lumberyard to joint for you. A lot of people use a #7 or #8 size for jointing. I use a #6. It’s long enough to get a good straight edge, works nicer for flattening panels and you can generally find #6 size planes for about half the cost of a #7 due to lower demand. A transitional, like SMP mentions, will also work just fine if you can find one where the wood body is still in good condition.

-- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

804 posts in 2798 days


#4 posted 02-20-2019 02:35 PM

Wooden jointer are more rigid than metal ones which are flexing. Wooden ones are less tiring to use.

With a transitional plane you probably get best of both world.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Smirak's profile

Smirak

88 posts in 817 days


#5 posted 02-20-2019 04:58 PM

My two cents? With a jobsite table saw and wanting to make “perfect” glue line ready joints? Drop the coin on a #7 or a #8. I just sold my jobsite saw that I used for 4 years, and could never make a glue ready joint, until I threw a #7 in the mix with the JS saw. I, like you, used all sorts of jigs and such, but just couldn’t get it right. #7 to the rescue was my fix…

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1175 posts in 2533 days


#6 posted 02-20-2019 05:14 PM

I have a 30’’ wooden jointer that I used in the past for long board jointing and long table tops. Once I got the hang of it things went great and quickly.
I haven’t done any large project recently and have none in mind as I’m getting on in years and have smaller projects in mind. I suppose I will just display the jointer on the mantle.

-- Jerry

View Travis's profile

Travis

162 posts in 65 days


#7 posted 02-20-2019 05:35 PM

Great advice, folks, thanks!

The stock for this particular project is 6/4, I’m not sure if that will be too thick to bookend the boards and plane them together, though that seems like the easiest solution if the boards fit.

I’ll start looking at transitional planes and jointer planes. This project is probably a little ways off so I have time to find the right tools, prepare, etc. I’d like to get to the point where I have a long plane in my arsenal, but wasn’t sure if this project needed to wait for that.

-- Travis, Arizona

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

502 posts in 918 days


#8 posted 02-20-2019 05:44 PM

This is definitely the project you were waiting for to justify a jointer plane. Don’t give up on book matching to joint the edges. Give it a try and you’ll soon see that it can be done even with 6/4 stock. Which will probably not be 6/4 by the time you get it surfaced.

Every new project requires a new tool.

-- Sawdust Maker

View SMP's profile

SMP

467 posts in 204 days


#9 posted 02-20-2019 06:01 PM


Great advice, folks, thanks!

The stock for this particular project is 6/4, I m not sure if that will be too thick to bookend the boards and plane them together, though that seems like the easiest solution if the boards fit.

I ll start looking at transitional planes and jointer planes. This project is probably a little ways off so I have time to find the right tools, prepare, etc. I d like to get to the point where I have a long plane in my arsenal, but wasn t sure if this project needed to wait for that.

- Travis

Well the bookend trick only works if the plane blade is wide enough. And also depends on if you have any camber on the blade. With a 2” blade on a 4 or 5, you can do 7/8” stock with a flat blade(still grind the corners off), a 4 1/2, 5 1/2 , 6 or 7 gives you a wider blade, and depending on planning of 6/4 may be enough. The #8 gives you even more width, but still not wide enough for bookending 8/4 stock. So at some point you will probably need to learn to do it without bookending. If you have the money, I would suggest a 6 or 7. If you don’t want to spend a lot, or aren’t sure about it, the transitional like mine are cheap:https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=stanley+29+plane
I still will probably get a #7, but my search is a lot more relaxed, I can take the time to find a good deal.

BTW, if that is kiln dried ash, make sure to practice on some scraps before just trying to joint the edges you will be using.

View Travis's profile

Travis

162 posts in 65 days


#10 posted 02-20-2019 07:02 PM


This is definitely the project you were waiting for to justify a jointer plane. Don t give up on book matching to joint the edges. Give it a try and you ll soon see that it can be done even with 6/4 stock. Which will probably not be 6/4 by the time you get it surfaced.

Every new project requires a new tool.

- LittleShaver

I am starting out so I am finding multiple new tools for each project ;). Now I just have to get good at using them!

-- Travis, Arizona

View Travis's profile

Travis

162 posts in 65 days


#11 posted 02-20-2019 07:11 PM


Well the bookend trick only works if the plane blade is wide enough. And also depends on if you have any camber on the blade. With a 2” blade on a 4 or 5, you can do 7/8” stock with a flat blade(still grind the corners off), a 4 1/2, 5 1/2 , 6 or 7 gives you a wider blade, and depending on planning of 6/4 may be enough. The #8 gives you even more width, but still not wide enough for bookending 8/4 stock. So at some point you will probably need to learn to do it without bookending. If you have the money, I would suggest a 6 or 7. If you don t want to spend a lot, or aren t sure about it, the transitional like mine are cheap:https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=stanley+29+plane
I still will probably get a #7, but my search is a lot more relaxed, I can take the time to find a good deal.

BTW, if that is kiln dried ash, make sure to practice on some scraps before just trying to joint the edges you will be using.

- SMP

I appreciate the eBay link. I also found this one

It’s not tuned up, but I’m told the seller is another lumberjock and reputable. I like the idea of the transitional plane because I’m skeptical of my ability to true up the long shoe of a jointer plane.

Yes, it is kiln dried ash. What difficulties are you anticipating?

-- Travis, Arizona

View SMP's profile

SMP

467 posts in 204 days


#12 posted 02-20-2019 07:28 PM


I appreciate the eBay link. I also found this one

It s not tuned up, but I m told the seller is another lumberjock and reputable. I like the idea of the transitional plane because I m skeptical of my ability to true up the long shoe of a jointer plane.

Yes, it is kiln dried ash. What difficulties are you anticipating?

- Travis

Keep in mind that’s a “tap with plane hammer” adjust, rather than the standard bailey adjuster the other ones have. Nothing wrong with that, I just prefer the ease of the knob adjust. I would also avoid the pre-lateral ones, as I like the side to side adjustment with my sharpening skills.

If you get used to hand planes on softer wood like pine, its just a good idea to practice on some scrap of ash, plane in both directions so you get a feel for going with vs against the grain. Kiln dried ash will test your sharpening skills if you are anything like me :)

View JayT's profile

JayT

6106 posts in 2510 days


#13 posted 02-20-2019 07:43 PM

I appreciate the eBay link. I also found this one

It s not tuned up, but I m told the seller is another lumberjock and reputable. I like the idea of the transitional plane because I m skeptical of my ability to true up the long shoe of a jointer plane.

- Travis

Don is a Lumberjock and definitely reputable. Please let him know that you are new to hand planes and have him tune that one up for you. It might cost a bit more, but will be worth it.

Keep in mind that s a “tap with plane hammer” adjust, rather than the standard bailey adjuster the other ones have. Nothing wrong with that, I just prefer the ease of the knob adjust.

- SMP

Not the case. The depth control on a Liberty Bell is done with the small lever behind the frog. Works fine, just different than a knob. Lateral will need to be done with a hammer.

If ash is kiln dried correctly, it’s fine to work, though a bit harder than air dried stock. If dried too fast, the outer layer can become extremely hard and difficult to plane. Yes, you’ll need your sharpening skills up to snuff.

Edit: For a user this transitional from Don’s site would be a better choice, IMHO. You get the depth knob, lateral lever and the fence is handy for helping to keep the plane riding the edge at a 90 degree angle to the face.

-- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View SMP's profile

SMP

467 posts in 204 days


#14 posted 02-20-2019 07:55 PM


Not the case. The depth control on a Liberty Bell is done with the small lever behind the frog. Works fine, just different than a knob. Lateral will need to be done with a hammer.

If ash is kiln dried correctly, it s fine to work, though a bit harder than air dried stock. If dried too fast, the outer layer can become extremely hard and difficult to plane. Yes, you ll need your sharpening skills up to snuff.

Edit: For a user this transitional from Don s site would be a better choice, IMHO. You get the depth knob, lateral lever and the fence is handy for helping to keep the plane riding the edge at a 90 degree angle to the face.

- JayT

My bad, good to know, couldn’t see the knob in that picture. I definitely agree with you on that plane choice, that s a great deal.

View SMP's profile

SMP

467 posts in 204 days


#15 posted 02-20-2019 07:56 PM


Not the case. The depth control on a Liberty Bell is done with the small lever behind the frog. Works fine, just different than a knob. Lateral will need to be done with a hammer.

If ash is kiln dried correctly, it s fine to work, though a bit harder than air dried stock. If dried too fast, the outer layer can become extremely hard and difficult to plane. Yes, you ll need your sharpening skills up to snuff.

Edit: For a user this transitional from Don s site would be a better choice, IMHO. You get the depth knob, lateral lever and the fence is handy for helping to keep the plane riding the edge at a 90 degree angle to the face.

- JayT

My bad, good to know, couldn t see the adjuster in that picture. I definitely agree with you on that plane choice, that s a great deal.

- SMP


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