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Planing/scraping vs sanding

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Forum topic by Andrew714 posted 05-03-2019 06:59 PM 806 views 1 time favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Andrew714

62 posts in 2121 days


05-03-2019 06:59 PM

I recently started staining a 25” x 35” panel, only to have the stain reveal some course scratches from my orbital that I obviously didn’t get out with the finer grits… I’m now wondering if there’s a better option than an orbital sander.

I have heard that finishing a board with a hand plane or scraper can produce better results than sanding, so I’m curious to hear from some people that do this, and what your process is. In my case, I obviously didn’t sand enough, but I’m also wondering if planing or scraping can be faster too.

A couple more questions:

- If you use a plane for final smoothing, how do you keep from developing lines at the edges of each pass with the plane? Or do you set the blade so shallow that this isn’t noticeable?
- Is planing preferable to scraping? Vice Versa?
- How to you manage profiles, such as a roundover or a profile created with a router bit?

Thanks much,

Andrew


33 replies so far

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JayT

6411 posts in 3057 days


#1 posted 05-03-2019 07:12 PM

- If you use a plane for final smoothing, how do you keep from developing lines at the edges of each pass with the plane? Or do you set the blade so shallow that this isn t noticeable?

Corners of the plane iron are eased off a bit during the sharpening process to not leave tracks. Doesn’t have to be much on a smoothing plane, as final passes are only taking a couple thousandths.

- Is planing preferable to scraping? Vice Versa?

I prefer planing due to ease and speed. Sometimes, however, scraping is the better choice due to grain direction or size of the project. What I do avoid is having planed and scraped areas on the same panel, as they can look different when finish hits the wood.

- How to you manage profiles, such as a roundover or a profile created with a router bit?

Scraper ground to the same profile.

If I’m going to sand part of the project, then I’ll plane and scrape as much as possible and just lightly sand those areas so that the whole piece absorbs finish similarly.

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

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Andrew714

62 posts in 2121 days


#2 posted 05-03-2019 08:00 PM



- Is planing preferable to scraping? Vice Versa?

I prefer planing due to ease and speed. Sometimes, however, scraping is the better choice due to grain direction or size of the project. What I do avoid is having planed and scraped areas on the same panel, as they can look different when finish hits the wood.

What frog angle is best for general use? Looking at what Veritas has, there’s a couple low-angle options (~ 37° cutting angle, I’m assuming these are primarily for end grain), standard angles (not always listed), and their custom smooth planes, which cane be ordered with frog angles between 40° and 55°.

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SMP

2438 posts in 751 days


#3 posted 05-03-2019 08:07 PM

In addition to what JayT mentioned , planing may leave the surface “too smooth” for some finishes/stains. I often wondered why Paul Sellers will sand with 220 after planing, but i got some blotchy stain where my plane had burnished/compressed certain parts of a board. Though not as big an issue with dyes and penetrating oils etc.

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Aj2

3319 posts in 2644 days


#4 posted 05-03-2019 08:11 PM

Setting up a bench plane to substitute sanding is not something your going to learn over night.
A card scraper is what I would recommend.
I use my card scraper a lot if everything is going right. Even after that I might still use 400 or 320 even funny looking areas left from the scraper.
I would also like to point out I don’t stain.
So maybe my way will not work for you. And your better off becoming a better sander :(
Good Luck

-- Aj

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Rich

5854 posts in 1435 days


#5 posted 05-03-2019 08:14 PM

You’re getting great advice regarding planing and scraping.

Here’s something from left field. Regarding the stain — if your need is to just color the wood, look into using dyes. Stains have solid pigments which will settle into scratches and make them more visible. Dye is just color and won’t make the scratches any darker.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Andrew714

62 posts in 2121 days


#6 posted 05-03-2019 08:29 PM



You re getting great advice regarding planing and scraping.

Here s something from left field. Regarding the stain — if your need is to just color the wood, look into using dyes. Stains have solid pigments which will settle into scratches and make them more visible. Dye is just color and won t make the scratches any darker.

- Rich

Thanks for the tip Rich. I would still want to ensure a smooth finish without scratches (regardless of how that is achieved), but I’ve never used dyes before, so that’s probably worth a look as well. Are there any particular brands you would recommend? Also, would Sherwin Williams carry dyes, or would I need to look someplace more specific to woodworking like Rockler or Woodcraft?

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JayT

6411 posts in 3057 days


#7 posted 05-03-2019 08:55 PM

What frog angle is best for general use? Looking at what Veritas has, there s a couple low-angle options (~ 37° cutting angle, I m assuming these are primarily for end grain), standard angles (not always listed), and their custom smooth planes, which cane be ordered with frog angles between 40° and 55°.

- Andrew714

45 degrees is the “standard” angle for bench planes and works just fine in the vast majority of circumstances with a sharp blade and good set up and is what I would recommend for a first plane or one for general purpose use.

I personally prefer (and make) smoothers at 50 degrees because higher angle helps to prevent tearout. The tradeoff is that it also requires more effort to push and you have to resharpen a bit more often. The only way to know for you is to try two similar planes with different frog angles side by side on several different species of wood.

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

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Andrew714

62 posts in 2121 days


#8 posted 05-03-2019 08:59 PM



Setting up a bench plane to substitute sanding is not something your going to learn over night.
A card scraper is what I would recommend.
I use my card scraper a lot if everything is going right. Even after that I might still use 400 or 320 even funny looking areas left from the scraper.
I would also like to point out I don’t stain.
So maybe my way will not work for you. And your better off becoming a better sander :(
Good Luck

- Aj2

What do you think of a scraper plane? I haven’t used a scraper or a scraper plane before, so my thought is the scraper plane will help keep the scraper at the proper angle, pressure etc and achieve more consistent results. Am I overthinking things, or on the right track?

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Aj2

3319 posts in 2644 days


#9 posted 05-03-2019 09:05 PM

Scraper planes are very difficult to set up and keep working right. So thumbs down

-- Aj

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Andrew714

62 posts in 2121 days


#10 posted 05-03-2019 09:12 PM


What frog angle is best for general use? Looking at what Veritas has, there s a couple low-angle options (~ 37° cutting angle, I m assuming these are primarily for end grain), standard angles (not always listed), and their custom smooth planes, which cane be ordered with frog angles between 40° and 55°.

- Andrew714

45 degrees is the “standard” angle for bench planes and works just fine in the vast majority of circumstances with a sharp blade and good set up and is what I would recommend for a first plane or one for general purpose use.

I personally prefer (and make) smoothers at 50 degrees because higher angle helps to prevent tearout. The tradeoff is that it also requires more effort to push and you have to resharpen a bit more often. The only way to know for you is to try two similar planes with different frog angles side by side on several different species of wood.

- JayT

Thanks Jay. I have a couple cheap (probably chinese) planes that I will use on occasion to flatten something larger, but they’re really only good for rough, ugly work, so I’ve been thinking for a while that I should get a good, quality plane from Veritas or Lie Nielsen. The Veritas 4-1/2 smoothing plane and their scraping plane are looking like the two best options at the moment based on options and price.

Thanks,

Andrew

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Andrew714

62 posts in 2121 days


#11 posted 05-03-2019 09:21 PM



Scraper planes are very difficult to set up and keep working right. So thumbs down

- Aj2

Good to know. I’m guessing this is because it can allow the scraper blade to have too much or too little contact with the wood, compounded by the blade being out of parallel with the shoe of the plane? A card scraper will be a lot cheaper too, so maybe that’s the best place to start.

Thanks,

Andrew

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Andrew714

62 posts in 2121 days


#12 posted 05-03-2019 09:41 PM

Thanks for all the advice guys, I just ordered a scraper, we’ll see how it goes. :)

Andrew

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SMP

2438 posts in 751 days


#13 posted 05-03-2019 09:47 PM

Scraper planes are very difficult to set up and keep working right. So thumbs down

- Aj2

Good to know. I m guessing this is because it can allow the scraper blade to have too much or too little contact with the wood, compounded by the blade being out of parallel with the shoe of the plane? A card scraper will be a lot cheaper too, so maybe that s the best place to start.

Thanks,

Andrew

- Andrew714

FWIW i went to a Lie Nielsen event in February and I tried out all of their stuff. They have 3 scraper planes. They have an adjustable one modeled after the old Stanley 112 and the guy helping me said he didn’t recommend that one, but recommended the non adjustable smaller one, citing similar reasons- setup off, angle set a couple degrees off makes it make dust instead of shaving etc. I tried the non adjustable one and it worked amazingly well. But was out of my price range as i was already buying a block plane and saw.

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Rich

5854 posts in 1435 days


#14 posted 05-03-2019 11:33 PM


Thanks for the tip Rich. I would still want to ensure a smooth finish without scratches (regardless of how that is achieved), but I ve never used dyes before, so that s probably worth a look as well. Are there any particular brands you would recommend? Also, would Sherwin Williams carry dyes, or would I need to look someplace more specific to woodworking like Rockler or Woodcraft?

- Andrew714

I recommend TransTint. Woodcraft sells it and you can find it online. If you decide to try them, shoot me a PM and I can give you some tips on getting a good result.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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TheFridge

10861 posts in 2332 days


#15 posted 05-04-2019 01:14 AM

I can’t think of anything I don’t use a scraper on. Gimme a bit though. I’ll find something.

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

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