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Thread: better than the machines

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    better than the machines

    I'm preparing stock for some built in cabinetry i'm making for my dining room. Sunday i flattened and planed the boards to thickness, and last night i needed to get a straight edge to run against the table saw fence to cut the boards to width. It's a bit clumsey edge jointing long stock on my relatively short jointer beds, so instead, i reached for my jointer fence and my old Keen Kutter K5 jack plane. I'd never really used the planer fence before, so i was dipping my toe into new waters.
    I've gotta say, i was really surprised at how well it worked. Using my 6' level as a straight edge, i got my stock S3S, ready for the next step, in short order.
    The first board took a little fussing, but by the time i was on my 3rd or 4th, i had it down. Inside half an hour i had all my edges planed straight and square.
    I'm no neanderphile - i like my machines as much as my hand tools. But, i do know that there are a lot of times when i make things needlessly complex by setting up and using a machine instead of reaching for the simple hand tool. I also like the relative quiet of using the hand tools - especially late at night when the rest of the house is asleep or i've got my music going.
    I'll definitely use my jointer again, but for some things, the jointer fence is a good alternative. I'm an evening and "weekend warrior" in the woodshop, so i doubt i'll ever get proficient enough at hand planing to not need the fence when i need a square edge. You purists out there - go ahead and sneer at my reliance on the fence. I'm a city boy - a child of convenience.
    But not entirely.
    paulh

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    ...I'm an evening and "weekend warrior" in the woodshop, so i doubt i'll ever get proficient enough at hand planing to not need the fence when i need a square edge. You purists out there - go ahead and sneer at my reliance on the fence. I'm a city boy - a child of convenience.
    But not entirely.
    paulh
    Paul,
    Congrats on using the 'Neander Way.' Somehow, I always find that more satisfying that breaking out the power stuff.

    As for needing the fence - no problem! Getting a consistant straight, square edge with a hand plane requires a lot of practice, and near daily use to keep from losing the knack, so the fence is a very useful accessory. I use mine a fair amount, too.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    ............
    I'm no neanderphile - i like my machines as much as my hand tools. But, i do know that there are a lot of times when i make things needlessly complex by setting up and using a machine instead of reaching for the simple hand tool.
    Was this an epiphany moment or what??

    I have just about quit preaching this because so few listens. But once you learn to properly sharpen, adjust and use your hand tools. There are many jobs they make more sense and are actually faster and/or better.

    Unless you have a sponsor like Norm and have to use the power tools.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  4. #4
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    Feb 2008
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    Cedar Park, TX
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    A little semi-secret here, vintage jointer attachments for planes not being real prevalent out their in the wild some might take as an indication that they were little used by mechanics of the time. While the specific store bought version may not have been popular to a great extent, you can bet that there were lots of old timers who might be known to screw a board to the side of an old wooden bodied plane or to clamp or otherwise attach a similar board to the side of metal body planes to assist them in obtaining square corners when edge planing.

    Those mechanics of old depended a lot on jigs to obtain the exacting work they did with hand tools.
    Jerry

    http://www.sawdustersplace.com

    "If politics wasn't built on careful deception it wouldn't need its own word and techniques. It would just be called honesty, education, and leadership."
    Bob "Phydeaux" Stewart one day on Woodnet

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Rochester Wa
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    Hand Tools are Relaxing

    Since I've never had a planer the hand plane it my choice of weapons. I would like to pose a Q though. Has anyone ever drilled the side of a plane and attatched a piece of alum as a guide? If so, was there any drawbacks?
    As I watched my Grandfather some 60 years ago he seemed to take a lot of time. He'd plane, stoke up his pipe and take a break, then check the surface he was working on and repeat the sequence. His rule was "Do not hurry mikey, always take your time and do it right"

  6. #6
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    Paul, if you think that your jack plane worked great, wait until you get a jointer plane. That extra length really makes a difference. I probably use my jointer plane the most. Careful though, this could be your start on a very slippery slope.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barnes View Post
    Since I've never had a planer the hand plane it my choice of weapons. I would like to pose a Q though. Has anyone ever drilled the side of a plane and attatched a piece of alum as a guide? If so, was there any drawbacks?
    Although I think that there would be no drawbacks I wouldn't do it, I think that you can find less agressive ways of fixing a fence to a plane but after all it is your plane not mine
    Best regards,
    Toni

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
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    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barnes View Post
    Has anyone ever drilled the side of a plane and attatched a piece of alum as a guide? If so, was there any drawbacks
    The one functional downside i can think of is that the cutting iron doesn't extend all the way to the side edges of the plane. To compensate for this, the fence drops down below the sole of the plane just a little bit, then shifts under the cutting iron so that the cutter will take wood off all the way to the edge of the board. If you attached a straight piece of metal to the side, you'd have a gap right near the fence where the cutter wouldn't reach.

    Other than that, i'm with Toni. I don't like to drill and tap my hand tools when i might be able to clamp something on a little easier. My jointer fence is made by Veritas and is actually held in place with magnets. It may sound ridiculous, but it works beautifully. It snaps into position, won't budge during use, and pops right off when i want to remove it. I've never used the old style that actually clamps on, so i have nothing to compare it to, but it's really easy to use and works great.

    Paul Hubbman

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barnes View Post
    Since I've never had a planer the hand plane it my choice of weapons. I would like to pose a Q though. Has anyone ever drilled the side of a plane and attatched a piece of alum as a guide? If so, was there any drawbacks?
    One of the surprises when working at Lie Nielsen was how often this happened. Planes would come back for a host of reasons (repairs, rebuilds, warranty issues, etc) and there would be holes bored all through them for various jigs and stuff.

    I remember one woodworker lost his shop to a fire and sent his tools back to be rebuilt. Lie Nielsen could have replaced them with new ones of course, but the man had special jigs he built and holes bored into them, so they were reworked, re polished and sent back to the guy. He was pleasantly surprised...same tools, unbelievable restored...no bill.

    To a lesser extent, woodworkers would ask for planes that were custom built. I remember making a block plane that would take no more then a .004 chip, and a flymaker wanted a custom plane with a different champher down the sole.

    I know Paul Hubbman has a Stanley #140 that had holes bored into it probably to add a wooden fence to the bottom of it. With the skewed iron, those planes have a tendency to shoot sideways, which was why Lie Nielsen added the side fence to his concoction. We were tempted to fill the holes upon Paul's plane rebuild, but we were concerned that the heat from welding would warp the casting, and since the plane was highly polished, the filler rod would be a different iron then the casting and you would see the hole anyway by way of a different color steel. So in the end it was rebuilt and still has those holes bored in the sole.

    Here is a picture of that plane with its holes in the sole (A Paul Hubbman picture by the way). But while I was lazy at not fixing the holes, we did fix the skew problem by adding a side-fence to the plane and a few others things while we were there.



    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 11-28-2008 at 11:05 AM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  10. #10
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    Sep 2008
    Location
    Rochester Wa
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    attaching a fence to a plane

    Hey! Thanks for the come backs guys, it is very much appreciated. Food for thought as they say..

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