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Thread: Hand planing face frames

  1. #1
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    Hand planing face frames

    I want to build some boxy cabinets with legs. Im probably going to use a good quality veneeered plywood vs. solid wood for the sides to match the hardwood faceframe.
    Im going to extend the faceframes a bit over each edge of the cabinet and trim it flush.
    From what Ive read, I should use a bench plane, but Id like to know what brand would be best for me to get, what type of blade, any advice on technique would be greatly appreciated.
    Im not very concerned if I dont plane perfectly flat, since I will sand it out as smooth and even as I can get, but I dont want to scratch the walls of the cabinet with the plane blade. Ive never touched a hand plane, nor do I know the difference other than what I read.
    I prefer to buy a better brand since I dont want to buy junk now and have to upgrade later on, but dont want to spend a small fortune either(unless its absolutely necessary for quality when it comes to hand planes. Like I said, I dont know anything about hand planes)

  2. #2
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    Yep, It can be done that way, but tell you the truth, I use a trim router for this. And this is coming from someone that likes using handplanes as much as possible. This not the best reason for getting a hand plane. I do think you need to look into handplanes to help in your woodworking, but for now I would go with the trim router with a bearing bit.

    If you are interested in finding out about handplanes go see Joel Moskowitz of Tools for Working Wood (see website) www.toolsforworkingwood.com in Brooklyn, NY.

    P.S.

    This advice is for plywood sides and a solid face frame. It was not clear if that was the direction you were going. If you have a solid face frame and solid wood sides, then I would use hand planes.
    Last edited by Bill Satko; 01-15-2009 at 01:04 AM.

  3. #3
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    While I'm not experienced enough to advise you in technique - you're welcome to make some cherry shavings with my planes if you have the chance to visit soon. I've got some 20" cherry shorts of random width. Won't even notice if a couple a slightly narrower than they are now.

    Lee Valley Veritas brand and Lie Nielsen are the two big names for new planes these days, with Veritas being slightly less expensive.

    I haven't heard anything about the Woodcraft lower price planes - Groz brand - they have a sale now that might be of interest. Hopefully someone else can chime in about these.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    If you want to dip your feet into hand planing, I would start with just a block plane. There are many uses for one and they are easy to adjust and use. Mark is correct about Lee Valley and Lie Nielsen being the most popular and respected new plane vendors.

    An old Stanley with a new modern blade (Hock or Lie Nielsen) is another option, but brings the extra anxiety of buying a good user and some fettling may be required.

    A local hand tool mentor would really help in getting you past the rough parts and speed your technique, plus let you try some planes out. When you start talking about understanding hand tools whether they are chisels, planes or saws, you are really talking about learning about sharpening. Having a sharp blade is the key to hand tool technique. I think this is why most people avoid hand tools.

    Go see Joel, because he is very knowledgable about sharpening and he believes in sharpening freehand.

  5. #5
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    Do you understand how dangerous that is?

    Me finding a tool guy, selling quality tools 30 minutes from my house?

    Could be very dangerous.

    Ill pay him a visit. Its a bit intimidating asking first grade questions to a college professor sometimes.

  6. #6
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    I am jealous about you going there. Joel has developed the Gramercy tool line which is highly respected. Next time I am anywhere near NYC, I will be visiting Tools for Working Wood and hoping to see Joel and talk with him.

    Joel claims that he can teach anyone how to freehand sharpen chisels and planer blades. Maybe you can take him up on it.

    Just remember, I am counting on a full report when you do go.

  7. #7
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    After the last week of this month, Ill have alot of free time. Too cold for the garage, and too cold to do much anything else.
    Ill pay him a visit.I know Bush terminal well, I used to make pickups there when I was a teenager driving a delivery van.

  8. #8
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    allen you have been given some very wize advice by both of those guys i know bill satko knows how to handle a plane i have seen it.. but if you can go to the guy he mentiones and ask some questions you wont be disapointed.. thoise folks are not the nose in the air kind of people,, trust me on this one... and once again i remind you even the professors were once beginiers.. so dont go in looking like your whipped stand tall and ask anything you need to know and soon after you will more questions that you will think of and ask them too.. build your skills and knowledge form those that did it the same way you are.. ASKING QUESTIONS!!! go gettum tiger
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  9. #9
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    Allen,
    I'd be tempted to go with a flush trim router bit, even though i avoid using routers whenever possible and enjoy using my planes whenever i can. The reason is that the task you have can be tricky with a hand plane because you run the risk of gouging the thin veneer on the plywood with the corner of the plane iron. What you need to do takes a bit of finesse.
    If you do succomb to the siren's call of the hand plane, make sure you've got a sharp tool and practice on a scrap, taking long even shavings off of the edge of a board.
    About the planes - I've got old Stanley, Record, Millers Falls, and Keen Kutter tools that are really sweet users. They each took a bit of time to tune up, and i did buy a new thicker cutting iron and chip breaker for one or two of them, but they work very well and didn't cost much money. There was about a 50 year period up until the end of WWII when common methods relied on a lot of hand tools and competition among the various manufacturers focused on utility, durability, and quality. When small electric motors invaded shops, the shift to powered tools forced most hand tool manufacturers to compete at the low end of the market, focusing on making their tools cheeply. Quality suffered and competition dropped off. High quality hand tools from the pre WWII era are easy to find and not expensive. Newer manufacturers like Lee Valley and Lie Nielsen make high quality tools as well. Lie Nielsen tends to make minor tweaks to the old designs and improves the quality with better materials and workmanship. Lee Valley seems more focused on advancing the tool designs for performance and ergonomics and is also known for high quality materials and workmanship.
    My advise would be to go old or new, avoiding much of the mass market stuff produced after WWII. That's just my opinion. I'm sure others will vary.
    Good starter planes would be a good block plane as someone else mentioned and a good smoother plane. I think, for the chore you've got, i'd recommend the smoother. I'd sharpen the blade with a slight camber to minimize the risk of damaging the thin veneer on the plywood.
    About sharpening - there are a number of methods that will all work well. Starting out, i think i'd recommend getting a $12 sharpening guide (one of the grey ones that clamp the cutting iron from both sides), a piece of double strength or 1/4" glass (about one foot square), and a few various sheets of wet/dry sand paper. Google "scary sharp method" for good sharpening instructions. Going this route will get you predictable and very good results with a minimum of experience. This setup works equally well for chisels too. I also like my combination water stone, but still use the glass and sandpaper from time to time.
    Shoping for used smoother, i'd look for something with a lateral adjuster, no missing or broken pieces, and no heavy rust. If your hands are somewhat small, you might find that a number 3 works best. If your hands are larger, i'd go with a number 4. New thicker blades and or chip breakers will minimize chatter during use. Hock, Lie Nielsen, Cliffton, and Lee Valley sell these. I prefer the A2 steel over the O1, but it's really a matter of choice. I have a Hock high carbon that works great.
    If shopping used block planes, I'd go for one with an adjustable mouth and screw type depth adjuster. I find the lever or adjustment wheel types (adjustment wheel is parallel to the cutting iron and moves a fork that adjusts the blade depth) a bit sloppy.

    And of course, for more money but less fettling, Veritas (Lee Valley) and Lie Nielsen make fine tools. Some of the newer less expensive tools are not so reliable in my book. I've had very frustrating experiences with new Stanley, Kunz, Groz, and Buck Bros. That said, i have a Stanley standard angle block plane that's about 15 years old that i really like. It fits my hand well, and the adjustments have no real slop and hold very well. I know Stanley is planning to sell a high end line of hand planes. I expected it to be out by now - apparently they're delayed. Anant apparently upped their quality within the last year or two, though i haven't seen one in person.

    Whether you go with the router or the hand plane for the task at hand, i think you might wander into hand planes at some point soon. I had no idea how much i'd like them when i tentatively bought my first one at a flea market about 20 years ago.

    Have fun with it.
    Paul Hubbman

  10. #10
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    I wasnt that far today, so I figured I should give a look, even though I know I dont belong in any place stating tools for finewoodworking.
    The elevator was on lunch. Just trying to figure out what elevators eat.

    I met Joel. I just told him I dont know much about woodworking, fairly new, Bill Satko from FWW mentioned I should come here for some guidance.
    He has a sense of humor, when I told him I was new to woodworking, he said great, so youll want one of everything!

    Still intimidating, but he showed me a basic plane, let me try it out on a piece of soft wood, and that was that.

    Clifton No4 bench plane, also picked up a nice set of Ashley Iles chisels, not that my marples set is gone, but Ive knocked them around alot, and he also explained I need to learn how to sharpen tools.
    Ok, what I need to learn is uh.....everything?

    got me a CD on sharpening, some3m micro abrasive film, and found a book to supplement the one I have from Tauton on cabinet and furniture making.
    Im not saying anything here will make me a better woodworker, but I figured none of it will hurt either.

    Bad idea Bill, wish I couldnt find the place.My loot bag.................the belly and the foot go with me whereever I go, sorry theyre in the picture.Click image for larger version. 

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    well its pretty exciting for me.
    Last edited by allen levine; 01-15-2009 at 08:43 PM.

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