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How flat... is acceptably flat?

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Forum topic by Holbs posted 03-19-2019 03:09 AM 289 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Holbs

2196 posts in 2361 days


03-19-2019 03:09 AM

My ongoing hand plane and hand tooling adventures has brought up questions I have not seen asked (I think).
While working with a some 3’ long pieces of douglas fir to play around with, I thought I had a nice flat 2×8 face…by feel. I used a scrub plane at 45 degree angle to make things level. Proceeded by a #5 to knock things down. And then by a #7. I never had true start to finish even shaving with a #7 across the face. Maybe you are not suppose to with a #7. Running my hand across the face and by eyesight, looked pretty flat to me. But then I ran my #5 at 90 degrees on it’s side to gauge the flatness with a light source. There were some high spots I ran a #4 over, which solved that high spot but then made high spots as well, I would guess in the range of 0.005-0.010’ish. Only a tremor of rocking across the face when using my aluminum winding sticks.
Got me thinking. On areas that will have no additional aspects done to them (such as mortise/tenon or another piece mated to it, etc), I assume it’s not critical to reach that Uber flatness as long as it looks flat to the eye and touch.
But then to the remaining high & low spots… do you try to achieve no light gap whatsoever for the critical areas?
Wish I took a picture while thinking of this.
I was using my Stanley #5 which I have flattened the sole and thought I flattened the sides. Maybe it was not enough to give distorted high/low visual spots.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"


4 replies so far

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SMP

619 posts in 238 days


#1 posted 03-19-2019 03:55 AM

That is something i am learning as well. Which is why I am really enjoying watching the English Woodworker videos. He always shows you where things matter, where you should aim for perfection, and where you can cut corners. Its really interesting and helps to understand when I look at Antiques why it looks like some shortcuts were taken. My next one is going to be a sode table so I’ll be curious how flat he gets the top.

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Holbs

2196 posts in 2361 days


#2 posted 03-19-2019 04:01 AM

I know the beginning of how to use a hand plane is a rough start when solo. I’m almost to the frustration part of wanting to fly Paul Sellers or Shannon Rodgers to Reno, NV for a weekend teaching… mixed in with casino’s of course! Legal brothels here too, but that could backfire!

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

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TheFridge

10852 posts in 1818 days


#3 posted 03-19-2019 04:03 AM

I just try for a smooth surface. If I can tell by eye or hand I don’t worry. As far as the flatness of panels since the are the hardest to get completely flat.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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SMP

619 posts in 238 days


#4 posted 03-19-2019 04:09 AM



I know the beginning of how to use a hand plane is a rough start when solo. I m almost to the frustration part of wanting to fly Paul Sellers or Shannon Rodgers to Reno, NV for a weekend teaching… mixed in with casino s of course!

- Holbs

I hear that. The biggest problem i was having at first was creating a belly in everything. I was taking a full shaving but an arc. Richard Maguire explained that he purposely puts in a slight cup, so he knows there is a cup and then takes out the high spots. Paul Sellers kind of infers this in some videos but i think its so second nature to him that he doesn’t think to explain it in detail. I only caught it after watching Richard’s explanation. Worked great on my 5’ x 2’ workbench i recently built completely by hand.

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