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  • Smooth plane/card scraper/sanding

    I just had a few questions when it comes to the final wood surface prep.

    1) For veneer plywood, since it is smooth already, one probably only needs to sand at 150 then 180 grit. So on that note, instead of using sandpaper, is a few passes with a card scraper and a touch up say using 180 or 220 grit sandpaper all that is needed?

    2)On hardwood, with a well tuned smooth plane, does this completely eliminate the need for any passes with a card scraper or 180/220 grit sand paper, except for some minor passes in a few areas?

    3) So if you have a well tuned smooth plane, when would the card scraper come in handy? In the begginning for removal of layers off of rough lumber? In the end for cleaning up some surfaces.

  • #2
    Re: Smooth plane/card scraper/sanding

    Originally posted by dieselgg View Post
    I just had a few questions when it comes to the final wood surface prep.

    1) For veneer plywood, since it is smooth already, one probably only needs to sand at 150 then 180 grit. So on that note, instead of using sandpaper, is a few passes with a card scraper and a touch up say using 180 or 220 grit sandpaper all that is needed?

    2)On hardwood, with a well tuned smooth plane, does this completely eliminate the need for any passes with a card scraper or 180/220 grit sand paper, except for some minor passes in a few areas?

    3) So if you have a well tuned smooth plane, when would the card scraper come in handy? In the begginning for removal of layers off of rough lumber? In the end for cleaning up some surfaces.

    I am still a novice, but from what I have experienced:
    1) The only veneered wood I have used mine on has been some Birch ply from the borg. It worked well for that and I did no sanding. With the smooth finish it leaves, I would see it as counter-productive to sand after using it unless you need a little profile to hold stain or a hard finish like polyurethane, but I could be wrong. If you don't sand the entire surface, you may run the risk of blotchy stain, and the same goes vice-versa as the wood surface won't be an even finish.
    2) A fine tuned smooth plane on a panel or surface wider than the plane blade, you will have some fine differences. This is especially true if you camber your irons at all. Looking down the surface toward a light you can see the tiny differences (even if you are getting 1/2 thousandth shavings with the plane). A card scraper will remove these so the entire panel looks all the same sheen with no discernable differences. Again, I use it as a final tool.
    3) A scraper is way too fine for rough lumber, and it will dull very quickly on rough hard wood. For rough lumber a scrub plane works best to start with.

    A couple of other notes:
    A scraper can be used both with or against the grain without tearout on hard woods. It is particularly handy in areas where the grain swaps direction or on a burled piece, etc, especially if you do not have a high angle plane. It also works well when you need to get into tight places against the grain such as at the edge of a framed panel or areas like interior corners of a cabinet.
    If you sand before using a plane or scraper, vacuum the surface thoroughly to remove any grit. That little bit of grit in the grains of the wood will dull a plane iron or scraper very quickly.
    Altho a scraper works well smoothing a surface like pine, it will not impart the fine sheen you see on hard wood, and if the wood is very soft, can produce some tearout when going against the grain if you get agressive with it.
    Since I started using mine, I have found myself doing a lot less sanding.

    Hopefully some of the true artisans will chime in here.

    Go
    Practicing at practical wood working

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    • #3
      Re: Smooth plane/card scraper/sanding

      Originally posted by Gofor View Post
      2) A fine tuned smooth plane on a panel or surface wider than the plane blade, you will have some fine differences. This is especially true if you camber your irons at all. Looking down the surface toward a light you can see the tiny differences (even if you are getting 1/2 thousandth shavings with the plane).
      Go
      I don't seem to have this problem. When I sharpen my blades they are perfectly flat and square to the sides except I put a 1/16" radius on the corners (so the blade edges leave no marks - plane tracks). You may be running into problems where your panel is not truly flat. When taking 0.001" shavings are they the full width of the cutter no matter where you plane the surface? If not the panel is not flat (within 0.001") or your blade is not perfectly straight. Getting a panel that flat takes some work (62 strokes to remove 1/16" material)

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      • #4
        Re: Smooth plane/card scraper/sanding

        Just some additional info I picked up from Chris Schwarz' DVD: Coarse, Medium, Fine. He explains how people don't use hand planes properly which is why they get frustrated using them and end up spending more time than they need to.

        First use coarse planes (#5/#6 jack/foreplane) should be used first to remove the rough layers from lumber. I believe he said that a scrub plane is usually used initially before this process.

        Next medium planes (#7/8 jointer planes) are used to smooth out the wood surface from the hills and valleys and prepare it final smoothing

        Finally, fine planes (#3/#4-1/2) are used for final smoothing and then final touch up using a scraper.

        The size of the plane depends on the size of the job. He also mentiones that a lot of people skip the medium planes and end up going straight to fine and have to plane 10x longer because the fine planes are only removing .002" - .004" (if I recall).

        Just some info I wanted to share.

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        • #5
          Re: Smooth plane/card scraper/sanding

          Originally posted by wbrooks View Post
          I don't seem to have this problem. When I sharpen my blades they are perfectly flat and square to the sides except I put a 1/16" radius on the corners (so the blade edges leave no marks - plane tracks). You may be running into problems where your panel is not truly flat. When taking 0.001" shavings are they the full width of the cutter no matter where you plane the surface? If not the panel is not flat (within 0.001") or your blade is not perfectly straight. Getting a panel that flat takes some work (62 strokes to remove 1/16" material)
          As said, I am still a novice. On the advice I had seen elsewhere, I put about a .003" camber on most of my blades. Hence the need for the scraper. When I resharpen, I will be going to the profile you use. Currently I only have that on my #6. I got a lot of experience recently taking rough 8/4 x 8" x 9' white oak to square, flat 60" boards for a workbench I am building. I learned a lot, especially because they were cupped about 5/64" and bowed (in the 60" length) about 3/16". Multiply that by the 62 strokes per 1/16 and you can see why I had ample opportunity to learn. Among the things I learned is that I also need to do a little more work on the soles to flatten them more. I still have a slight hollow around the mouth, which contributes to tearout on the kiln-dried WO.
          Another thing I learned is I will have to get a lot more selective in the boards, or I definitely need a high angle plane to work the areas where the grain changes a direction or gets "squirrelly". Again, the scraper helped me correct my screw-ups. (I tried flipping the blade over on my #5 Stanley bevel-up to get a higher angle, but could not retract it far enough with the cap-iron solid on the flat to get a fine cut. I guess making a wooden plane is my next project!!)
          Thank you for confirming what I had suspected was part of my difficulty.

          Ain't woodworking fun!!

          Go
          Practicing at practical wood working

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          • #6
            Re: Smooth plane/card scraper/sanding

            You sure picked a neat project to learn on. One thing to try in the future to remove more wood is to set the blade a bit deeper and skew the plane as you go down the wood. Skew means hold the plane about 20 to 30 degrees from normal straight planing. That creates a shearing action and can also help a finish plane not tear-out on reversing grain.

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            • #7
              Re: Smooth plane/card scraper/sanding

              I took a spare blade and rounded it to about a 1/16 camber and put it in the #5 as a scrub plane. Used the diagonal method and you are definitely correct, it works!!. The diagonal cut also reduced tearout problems in the transitional grain areas with the finer cuts. Sometimes a hardhead like me has to experience the problem before the many-times-before-solved solution registers in the grey matter. This project sure gives me a great appreciation for those that have mastered the art, and those that did all the fine craftsmanship before hand power tools were invented. Did I mention that I am in the market for a scrub plane as well Guess I'll make that two planes I need to build!!
              Thanks again, and from now on I will be asking questions a lot earlier in the process. I was unaware that there was anyone here who used hand tools to any extent.

              Go
              Last edited by Gofor; 03-26-2007, 10:41 PM.
              Practicing at practical wood working

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              • #8
                Re: Smooth plane/card scraper/sanding

                If you have a rusty, pitted or otherwise nasty #4 they make a decent scrub with a few mods. You need to file open the throat a bit, put about a 3" radius on the blade, modify the chip breaker so it still holds the blade tight but is out of the way of the large hunks of wood coming up the throat and you now have a scrub for cheap

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