I’m not what I used to be. Desk work at the day job has made me soft and nothing proves it quicker than surfacing and thicknessing rough lumber by hand. I’m sore, but I’m got the job done.
It’s not an exciting process to write a blog post about, so here is the gist of it. I have four slabs of poplar to contend with for my trestles. I have already cut these slabs to rough length and began the process by rigging up a way to hold them on the bench. Nothing fancy. I have a center board on my bench that can be raised to create a stop and one end of the slab can butt up against the planing stop of the bench. To secure the other end of the slab, I simply screwed a block of wood to my bench. That’s one of the nice things about having a simple bench. I have no qualms about screwing or nailing stuff to it if the need arrises.
The actual process is simple. Flatten a side, square an edge to that side. To flatten a side I begin by working across the grain, then diagonally and finally with the grain.
I test for flat with my long straight edge.
Then test for any twist with winding sticks.
Then make corrections as needed and square a long edge to my freshly flattened side.
Then mark for width.
Then gauge for final thickness, trim and tackle the opposite face.
It’s a good bit of work, but a rewarding process. So over the course of several days I managed to complete all four slabs.
Next up is the layout. Then I’ll start drilling holes and fitting legs.
How many pounds did you lose in the process. I think my thicknessing days are coming to an end. My back is shot I’ve developed a degenerative disease in the spine. When I do heavy planing I can barely walk afterwards. I’ve had this for years but unfortunately its just gotten worse. So much for exercise curing all.
I’m mostly alcohol powered, so no pounds were harmed in the process. LOL
My back isn’t the best either and it took a beating over the last few days. I’m not letting a little thing like pain stop me though…at least not yet.
Thats the spirit. Half a box of pain killers usually does the rrick.
Looks like you’ve got a lot of fuel to burn this winter.
I wish…I need to have the fireplace inspected first. Maybe next year.
It looks looks you planed away quite a bit.
Do you find this easier (relative term) with pull planes rather that western planes?
The above photo was the worst of it. These came from one long board and it tapered 3/8″ in thickness for some reason.
I tried both. I used my #5 with a cambered iron and my roughing kanna. I found the pull much easier and more accurate as to generating a uniform and flat surface. I am much stronger in the pulling motion (years of rowing crew many moons ago) and it is one of the reasons I gravitated to Japanese tools.
I bet that job kept you warm…. 🙂
Your not wrong…it was cold enough in the shop that at one point I was generating steam. 🙂
I have a great old Stanley #5 with the mouth set pretty wide and the iron has a 9-10 inch radius curve ground on it. On softer woods, this plane makes quick work! I flatten one side, finishing with a jointer plane, then move to the other side. When thicknessing, I first take a block plane and work a 45 degree facet right to the thickness line I gauged on the edges. This prevents tearout on the boards edges and gives me a nice visual reference mark. I also have a Lie-Nielsen scrub plane. It’s a beast and I have to be very careful to not get bad tear out when using it.
I’ve not tried a proper scrub plane, but it does look efficient.
Nice explanation & pictures, as always. I am currently very close to this step, still gluing up lots of SYP after some initial drawknife / jack plane prep. I find that the right dose of workout actually helps with back pain. Ah, those dreaded sitting jobs…
Yep, a little workout is a good thing. The problem is that I usually try to cram it in all at once. Good luck on your build!
Admire you Greg, I’m with Salko’s comment about the back and all. At 67 I still tackle smaller boards but you took on some big stuff for sure! Don’t know if you saw the scrub plane I made, here’s a link to it if you’re interested: https://woodworksbyjohn.com/2013/10/27/scrub-plane-in-fine-woodworking-magazine/ You probably need to copy and paste to get it to open for you. Just read an article about how pull planes are easier on the back since you use your legs more than the back.
Thanks John. That is a very nice scrub plane you built. Its tempting, but I’ll have to file that away for now.
Like I said above, I gravitated toward tools that work on the pull stroke and I’m glad that I did. I find the pull motion much easier on my back. They also force a lot more movement while working. Stretching long for a plane stroke, squatting down to saw, ect. Could you point me towards the article you read concerning pull planes being easier on your back?
Whew, really stretched my memory on this one Greg but luckily it was fairly recent. It was a video I found by following a link in Japan Woodworker catalog. Here’s that link: http://www.japanwoodworker.com/Product/156790/65mm-Smoothing-Plane—-Unsai.aspx
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