Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sticky Shim

Thanks to a comment by Gary Roberts, there is a blog post today. Gary asked in my last post why I hadn't, instead of removing the bulk of the waste from the lap joint with a chisel, used a rabbet (rebate) plane instead.

According to Gary, "skewed rabbet planes were used for hogging cross grain material, particularly the wider width planes. The large mouth, curved escapement served to allow the coarse cross grain material to be ejected without clogging the plane. The outline of the lap was sawn to the line, the waste was hogged with the rabbet plane and finished up with a chisel or if narrow, with a router."

Suggesting that I use a handplane for a particular joint is like setting a plate of doughnuts in front of Homer Simpson—way too tempting. I love using handplanes.

Since I don't have a skewed rabbet plane, I dusted off my #78 and took a few passes within the layout lines of an untouched lap joint. Handplaning is a mesmerizing experience for me and sometimes I shave more than I should. In my state of handplaning delirium, I completely forgot about leaving a section in the middle of the waste area to support the router plane in final clean up. By the time I realized what I had done, the center section was 1/32" lower than the surface of the workpiece, which would result in sloppy joint with a scalloped bed.

Nothing that a little tape can't solve. 4 layers of masking tape, burnished flat, equals 1/32". It supported my router very well but did get a little chewed up toward the final passes.

Still, a sticky shim saved me from a sticky wicket.


Ethan said...

VC, I think you got stuck (I love puns...) on the wrong topic!

You didn't answer the most important question!

How did using the plane to hog out the waste compare to saw kerfs and a chisel???

Kari Hultman said...

LOL! :)

It was a lot slower than using a saw and chisels, so I bagged it. And because I want to finish this project before I'm a white-haired old lady, I cut the kerfs on my table saw and then chopped out the waste with a chisel and finished up with the router plane.

Shazza said...


Anonymous said...

That's a fairly deep joint to tackle only with a rabbitting plane. My fault for faulty explaining. My understanding is that the wider skew rabbitt planes (1" or more) could be used for more rapid stock removal, with a rank set to the blade. The 78 doesn't take a really heavy cut so it won't do the job. This is not to say that removing material with a rabbitt plane is a sensible thing to do.

Something we seem to do is apply a particular working method to woodworking irregardless of the type of wood in question. Cross-grain planing of red oak would be a chore, compared to the same planing in cherry.

One method mentioned was to use a broad gouge to waste material, followed up by cleaning with a rabbitt plane... if the joint to be cut was fairly deep.

The router plane might be fitted with a wide wood platten to allow it to ride along the edges of the cut without tipping in.

And as fast as one person offers a method, there will be ten other methods of equal applicability. I'll stop pontificating before I put someone to sleep.

or you can start up the gerbil cage, generate some electrons and use the table saw.

Kari Hultman said...

Shazza--I would never make it in an 18th c. workshop!

Gary--you're right about the #78. I wasn't able to remove very much material, which slowed things down. I can see where a rabbet plane with a slight curve to the blade would work much better.

acanthuscarver said...

VC, You may think you wouldn't have made it in an 18 c. cabinet shop but if those guys were alive and working today, they would have taken full advantage of your tablesaw. In fact, they probably would have figured out how to use it in ways we couldn't to better effect. Thanks for the posts.

Chuck Bender
Period Furniture Maker

Kari Hultman said...

That's an excellent point, acanthuscarver.