Splitting wood and planes

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Forum topic by Nicodimas posted 06-17-2019 12:49 PM 359 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 36 days

06-17-2019 12:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane

Ok took this class and we split wood from logs, ripped boards with a Froe to get all the sides for a chest. Riving is the process I learned.

So we did that and took draw knives and modern planes to get the wood down to what we needed and put dovetails for the chest.

However this wrecked my hands is there anything I could do to make it easier. I obviously did too much as this was my first class in this process.

My one hand keeps falling asleep now! ( going to docs , mainly sit behind a computer so carpel tunnel syndrome maybe)

Should I have iced my hands.. or did I make it worse?. I figure someone hear might have a good tip?

6 replies so far

View Phil32's profile


585 posts in 325 days

#1 posted 06-17-2019 01:37 PM

Strenuous woodworking is like strenuous sports. You have to work up to the level of a journeyman. Most of us would not survive one day as a lumberjack felling trees with an axe. You need to back off and approach this hobby with caution. I have been woodcarving by hand for 70 years. Even now my hands can take only so much.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View Nicodimas's profile


2 posts in 36 days

#2 posted 06-17-2019 04:12 PM

I came in from a blacksmithing background as the point of this class was to create a dovetailed Viking box and add metal decoration to it if that makes sense….

So I think my failure came in from assuming sledging and hammering were all good. Slightly different on my hands. Like my hands didn’t blister at all its more my tendons that hate me. So this might have been too much all at once.

However the planning ate up my hands and that was surprising! I guess I was holding it wrong—too tight?..or just new to this and all at once like you suggested was just too much. Anyhow I am right handed and my left hand holding the front of the plane is the toast one, so I probably compressed the nerve. Maybe I pressed with that hand to guide it too much??

Hoping it gets better as right now my thumb is still asleep, I guess that’s improvement….though!

Theres got to be a skill to planning correctly, just like when you smith their is a better way to swing the hammer…I just missed the mark. I was fiddling with plane a lot as its a tool I never used very much and realize the one I bought was a bit more complicated. As anyone new to something wasted a ton of time just getting used to the new tooling.

I obviously want to do this more!—but take a lesson from this..any you plane for 1 hr/2 hr/3hrs until you working up whichever muscles couldn’t hack it?

Thank you!

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3559 posts in 1809 days

#3 posted 06-17-2019 04:52 PM

The first time I tried relief carving by the end of a week of pretty much doing it 3-4 hours a day, I wound up with tendonitis in my elbow. I think it was at least in part caused by overusing muscles, tendons and ligaments in new ways and overdoing it by just working through the pain. I probably should have iced my elbow everyday, especially when I first noticed it was aching a bit, not to mention taking a few days off to rest the strained joints and muscles. I can still tell when I have overdone it as the same elbos starts to tell me to stop.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View HokieKen's profile


9962 posts in 1560 days

#4 posted 06-18-2019 01:59 PM

Hand planing for long sessions is physically intensive. However, I’ve never noticed any real hand or wrist fatigue personally. One of the keys to successful planing IMO is using your whole body to move the plane through the cut and not relying on your arms to do the “heavy lifting”. After long planing sessions, it’s usually my shoulders and back that scream at me. I think technique may be your issue. In reality, your front hand should be doing minimal work. If one wrist is unhappy, I would think it would be the one on the tote.

Hope you heal quickly and get back on the horse!

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

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Don W

19251 posts in 2989 days

#5 posted 06-26-2019 09:51 AM

Hand planning is a good exercise, but shouldn’t be like swinging a 4lb hammer. Make sure your using the right planes (scrub, jack, smoother) and make sure they are tuned and kept sharp.

Blacksmithing and woodworking are both very technical skillsets with some very specific tool requirements. You’ll not learn either one in a day or two.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Mr_Pink's profile


166 posts in 793 days

#6 posted 06-26-2019 01:50 PM

If you haven’t already, try wearing a wrist brace when you sleep. This does great things for carpal tunnel.

Also, I’ve found that using a plane for long sessions can push on a nerve in the palm and cause numbness, even if you aren’t using excessive force to compensate for a dull tool. Cycling gloves are padded specifically to take pressure off of that nerve. If pressure on that nerve is part of your problem, a cycling glove on your right hand may help (even if it looks silly).

Of course, neither of these suggestions should be seen as replacements for the advice you’ve received above. Nothing will make up for dull tools or bad technique.

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