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As you may have already figured out the previous articles, I am a lover of the romantic side of the joinery .
The dusty atmosphere of the traditional lab, the workbench full of tools consumed by use, the wood chips on the floor.
90% of people who comes in this world has in mind that picture of the old woodworker working in his dusty shop.
Now close your eyes for a moment and re-create this in your mind.
Zoom in slowly on the bench leaving in the background our craftsman who, very concentrated, is sawing a cherry plank.
Among all the tools you will surely find one that looks like this:
It’s an handplane!
There are planes of various sizes and shapes.
But what is it exactly? And how do you use it?
If you have a little patience I’ll tell you about all of its narrower relatives, traditional and modern.
But before we have to find out why the wood is planed.
WHY PLANING WOOD
That of planing is a fundamental operation for a Woodworker .
It needs to have perfectly smooth surfaces , flat and at 90 degrees angles removing the material with appropriate instruments.
Obviously, this operation can’t be made in an uncontrolled and random way.
For this reason all the planing tools are adjustable in the millimeter.
As I explained in previous articles also accuracy and measures, as well as the squaring of the pieces, it is essential for a Woodworker .
Remember that the accuracy must be your key objective if you want to achieve significant results in joinery .
TOOLS FOR WOOD PLANING
Here is the most common tools for planing wood:
- Portable electric plane
- Combined Thread and Thickness Plane
This is probably the most classic and iconic plane.
It is a wooden hand plane.
They come in various shapes and sizes depending on the type or part that you have to work.
For example there are very large for some : Rough on large pieces, or very small and narrow (called sponderuole ) for planing, for example, the doors of the gate.
All of them, however, have a body (the block with a square section) in which it’s engaged the blade, called iron, which protrudes through a slot in the lower face.
The blade is held in place by a wood wedge with which you can block once decided how much the iron will protrude, and then how much material will be removed.
Obviously this blade needs to be sharpened, and for this there are special stones with different grains.
If the sharpening is carried out well, the hand plane, used with constant and fluid movements , rub off the right amount of material in a regular manner and the work will be optimal.
Certainly working with a hand plane is not easy. It requires exercise and sensitivity .
But it’s very satisfying and fascinating, especially for people like me who love the romantic side of this work.
Also it gives you a direct contact with the wood and a truly indescribable satisfaction.
There are also more hand planes fully realized in modern metal, like this:
I’d recommended it between the 15 Tools to start .
PORTABLE ELECTRIC PLANER
Less romantic but more quick and efficient is definitely the planer Portable Electric Plane.
It’s equipped with a roller in the lower part of the body with 3 blades, said knives .
By pressing the button located in the lower front of the handle, the roller activate the knives .
The planing depth can be adjusted through the front knob.
After adjusting the plane and securely locked the piece in the vise of your bench or with clamps , you can start working.
First put the fore part of the plane on the piece to be planed.
Then operate the plane and begin to push it forward slowly.
The key thing is that the movement have to be fluid and constant, without speeding up or slowing otherwise you will have an uneven surface.
Towards the end of the plan, a few centimeters before unplugging the planer push slightly downwards on the rear side of the tool.
In this way you can have the best results.
Obviously I always suggest to practice a lot, even on scrap pieces.
So you will have the mastery of the instrument when you will create a true project.
COMBINED THREAD AND THICKNESS PLANE
There also exist as separate counters: a bench with thread plane and a bench with the thickness plane.
In this case I will analyze the Combined thread and thickness plane that allows you to have less clutter.
This Plane is definitely the most effective tool for planing wood .
In fact, in case of a good quality tool, well maintained and used in the correct way, can allow you to have well-squared tables and strips with the right thickness.
Often in Woodshops we find it as part of a richer Combined, together with the circular saw and milling machine .
The one in the picture is a thread and thickness for beginners and hobbyists.
I show you a pattern to let you understand the composition and functioning of this tool (click to enlarge):
The roller equipped with knives is the fulcrum of the machine.
The upper area of this bench (which in the diagram has the green color background) is the one that performs the function of thread plane.
The top of the thread plane is composed of 2 parts in cast iron adjustable by height independent between them, interrupted by the central roller.
These knives will wear away the material from the piece you’re working.
The part of the top on which is initially rested the workpiece to be planed must be positioned lower than the roller depending on the thickness you want to remove.
The output plan, however, will be placed at the same high of the knives.
These machines are equipped with an adjustable protection extends to cover the knives to prevent the operator to inadvertently put his fingers on knives and hurt himselves.
The bench has also a lateral stop guide.
The ideal sequence for square a table to the thread plane is as follows:
- Plane the first face
- Plane the adjacent first edge
- Plane the second edge
- Plane the second face
This way you’re sure you have all the edges angled .
At this point you can go to the thickness plane.
In the chart you’ve seen before, the area of thickness plane is the one with the orange background.
As you can see, in this case, the pieces are introduced from the opposite side respect to the thread one .
For this reason, what you are going to work in this case, will be the upper face of the workpiece.
First you’ll need to adjust the height of the plan based on what will be the outgoing piece.
When introduce the piece inside the thickness plane, a drive roller will bring it towards the knives that rub off the material, while another roller will release the workpiece from the opposite side.
With this type of plane boards you can have perfectly squared pieces!
Sharpen your weapons!
Make sure that the plane knife is always well sharpened.
Always use ear protection tools to prevent injuries to the hands or otherwise.
However, even if you use caps, never wear bracelets, scarves, necklaces, gloves or other “dangling” items that could catch in the roller. You risk to have serious damages!
Save your hands
When you work on the thread plane bench use the push stick to avoid getting hurt and never reach the knives area.
Planes from the Rising Sun Country
Also with planes the Japanese are the masters.
It is well known their ability to build and use blades (see the Article about the wood cutting and Japanese Saws) and also in planing they are really good.
There is a whole world of planes of various sizes and shapes with which you can do so many things.
If you want I will also go a little deeper on this one! (Write it in the comments below)
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As the article about Common Wood Species , that about Artificial Woods and the one about the Starting Tools this is also an Open Source content.
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Until next time!
The Wood Blogger