Saturday, June 4, 2011

Handplanes: 2 Reasons to Own One

Sure, there are more than two reasons to own one or more handplanes. But if you work primarily with power tools and do not plan to unplug your shop in the near future, here are two benefits for adding a handplane to your tool arsenal.

Have you ever experienced burn marks on the edge of your boards from your table saw? Some wood species such as cherry and maple are prone to it.

You could take a pass on your power jointer to remove the marks; you could sand for, oh, about half an hour (and hope you don't round over the edges); or, you could take three micro-thin swipes with a handplane.

There's nothing wrong with using a power jointer (I still use one), but what if the board has reverse grain and you get tear-out no matter which way you run the board through?

That's also where a handplane shines.  You can tackle the edge of a board from both ends to eliminate the problem of reverse grain.

Today I was milling boards for a new project and experienced both burning and tearing.  I reached for Devereau, my jointer plane, and hoped she was in a good mood.

She was.

She was even downright delightful as she whisked away the blemishes. Good girl, Dev. You escaped the burn pile again. Ha, just kidding.



You can also use a card scraper, cabinet scraper, or scraper plane for these two problems, but planes have many more uses than those listed above.


Stephen Shepherd said...

Many of us name our tools; some of them have feminine names, some masculine. That makes it easier to curse and blame them in the proper gender.


Kari Hultman said...

I have all boys except for this finicky little gal. The boys aren't nearly as troublesome.

Chris Adkins said...

Great points Kari, you have some beautiful hand planes and I love that you name them. Maybe I should come up with names for mine too... at least the ones I have made.

Anyway just wanted to stop by and say I love your work and enjoy your writing. Take care!

Tom Buhl said...

Three cheers for Devereau. Does she ride a white horse?

I just received my signed David Finck’s book. Put it in my airport/plane stash. Tempting to just read a short bit now, but like snacks, it would be gone in a flash and I'd be left to reading the magazines in the seat pockets.

Have a great weekend. said...

Dev reminds me of a beautiful, long convertible that I seem to remember seeing in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'.

Bob said...

I have this honkin' big jointer plane that I made several years ago that has come close to the burn pile a couple times. Cuts fine, not too onerous to adjust, but is quite simply butt ugly. The thing is, I put too danged much effort into making it, so even though it should just get tossed, instead it stays in its purpose made box. Yes, I even built a box, making it all the more difficult to access. (it sure stays nice and clean though!!)
If I were to give it a name, and if it were to become a "she", I think the name would be more like "Beulah", or "Gertrude". (Brunhilde?) "Devereau" sounds way too high class.
I just might have to give it more of a girly shape, and then maybe I'll be a happier fellow. It needs something, that's for sure.
Once again, your pictures are a good source of inspiration. Thanks.

Jeff said...

Another reason for using hand planes - no saw dust to breath in. As I get older, saw dust is becoming a real problem.

Kari Hultman said...

Christopher, you should definitely name the planes you've made. No doubt, they have personalities all their own.

Tom, you'll love David's book. It's packed with valuable information.

Mitchell, you're right! The Krenov-style planes all look a little like pinewood derby cars.

Bob, the names you listed cracked me up. :D

Jeff, that is the sole reason I started using handplanes. Good point.

Gary Roberts said...

I too name my planes. Unfortunately I can't repeat those names as they're all swear words.