Problem using a #6 fore plane

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Forum topic by don1960 posted 03-21-2013 02:58 AM 5541 views 2 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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227 posts in 3599 days

03-21-2013 02:58 AM

OK, so I finally, (actually about 6 monthes ago) got myself a Veritas #6 fore plane. I planned on using it for levelling long boards. Maybe I should have gotten a #7, but from what I can tell, a #6 will work fine for what I will use it for.

This was the first really expensive hand tool I ever bought, and it’s a beautiful piece of equipment. I can get .002 thick shavings from it that are georgously transparent. No problems there.

So, here’s the issue I have, and I’m sure it has to do with my technique, I just can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. No matter how I try, I end up with the beginning of the cut and the end of the cut taking off more wood than the middle. To be more precise, I end up with a surface that is convex. (higher in the middle of the length of the cut). This is evident by laying a straightedge on the board and having it rock fore and aft. You can see light at the front and back.

Is this a common problem with using these planes? Is there a simple answer? Hope so, cause I’m pulling my hair out trying to figure out what’s going on.

I apologize in advance if I don’t respond to questions til morning, as I have to get some sleep. I’ll check in in the morning.

If there is some tutorial on the web that would explain this, I haven’t found it, and would appreciate a link if anyone knows of one.


-- -- Don from PA

14 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2874 days

#1 posted 03-21-2013 03:13 AM

Very common. Watch the hand plane essentials episode of the Woodwrights Shop. Unless you act against it, the plane will tend to do that.

Short version, try to force the plane to scoop out the middle section where you get the hump. The planes length will prevent you from doing that for the most part and counteract the tendency to make a hump. Don’t overdo it of course.

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 2809 days

#2 posted 03-21-2013 03:20 AM

Usually this occurs because the board is bowed (face) or crowned (edge) to begin with. The foreplane should be used diagonally across the face of the board to eliminate high spots before (hence the name) switching to a # 4 or 5 plane for smoothing. On the edge check for a crown with a straight edge. If the edge is convex start in the middle and remove the crown before planing from end to end. If it’s concave work each end to get the edge straight before planing the length of the board. This should solve your problem. Remember even a jointing plane will follow the contour of the surface it’s used on so you must remove the high spots first to get a flat surface.
see links:

View shampeon's profile


2167 posts in 3096 days

#3 posted 03-21-2013 03:30 AM

Part of what you’re running into is just the technique of using a handplane. You’ll have a tendency to take a thicker cut as you’re getting to the end of the board, making it convex.

So work on the middle first, pulling up on the heel of the plane to lift the blade before it gets toward the end. Do this for a few strokes, then do a full shaving.

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

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3864 days

#4 posted 03-21-2013 03:31 AM

Tim is correct. What you want to do is apply pressure to the front of the plane when you begin your cut then take the pressure off the front as you make your way to the far end. When you keep the pressure on the front for the duration, the result is exactly as you explain. That episode of the Woodwright’s Shop is very helpful.

-- Mike

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16979 posts in 3531 days

#5 posted 03-21-2013 03:36 AM

Don – you have a great tool at your disposal, and here’s a resourse to get everything from it.

My .02, good luck!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Benvolio's profile


148 posts in 2844 days

#6 posted 03-21-2013 03:39 AM

I have a door that I planed years ago when I was new to hand planing…..

suffice to say I don’t like looking at that door for the same problems mentinoed above.

I don’t want to talk about it any more. It makes me feel bad.
.... leaves

-- Ben, England.

View bobasaurus's profile (online now)


3703 posts in 4097 days

#7 posted 03-21-2013 03:54 AM

Hand planes naturally make a slightly convex cut just by the mechanics of the cutting action. After you’re taking shavings across the full length, plane a little bit in the very middle to remove the peak of the convex high spot (lifting off the plane instead of going all the way), then plane a little longer area centered around the middle, etc until you reach the outer edges and take one light pass all the way across. This should remove the convex bow if done correctly.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2874 days

#8 posted 03-21-2013 04:03 AM

Ben, you mean you designed it to be that way, of course. That or you keep it as a reminder of how far you’ve come. Smitty that’s a great tip, and the ebook version is only $10.

View don1960's profile


227 posts in 3599 days

#9 posted 03-21-2013 10:21 AM

Wow, thanks for all the info, guys.

At least I now know it’s me, and that it’s a technique problem. I’ll take everyone’s advice and definitely look into that episode of The Woodwright’s Shop.

Ben, that’s funny about the door. I have a few projects that remind me of “before I knew” something or other.

Got to get to work. I’ll report back after assimilating all this and trying it out.


-- -- Don from PA

View don1960's profile


227 posts in 3599 days

#10 posted 03-22-2013 10:45 AM

Tim, that Woodwrights shop episode was very informative. Thanks for the link.

I figured that when I got the #6, that it would take care of the flatness all by itself. So much for thinking a tool could take the place of common sense. I should know better. :-)

Armed with all this new knowledge, I should get great results now. Now all I have to do is wait out the darn flu I started with last night. I don’t think I’ll be doing any heavy work for the next couple days. Feel like crap at the moment.

Thanks for all the help everyone.


-- -- Don from PA

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3388 days

#11 posted 03-23-2013 02:21 AM

Hmmm, Occam’s razor tell us that when you hear hoofs think horses not zebras. The simplest explanation could be in the way you are securing the board. If you are pinching it between two dogs, you could be bowing the board. First try planing it against a stop and see if that works.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View don1960's profile


227 posts in 3599 days

#12 posted 03-23-2013 03:59 AM

Thanks for the idea, Jorge, but that’s not it. I had actually considered that, but it happens even against a stop. I do believe the answer is what Tim and mike have suggested.

I just have to get rid of this horrendous cold before I brave the shop again. I’ve gone thru 2 boxes of tissues today with no end in sight. Sigh..

-- -- Don from PA

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2874 days

#13 posted 03-23-2013 04:23 AM

A two box day, that’s a bruiser of a cold you have there. Get as much sleep as you can, that always helps me at least. Of course, the nose doesn’t help.

View Tugboater78's profile


2796 posts in 3104 days

#14 posted 03-23-2013 05:09 AM

Smitty is wise, kindle edition rocks!

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

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