October 16, 2018 at 12:06 pm #4613
I have just completed a drawer (i.e. all glued up). Cherry on all parts. 3/4″ front, 1/2″ sides and 5/8″ back. Half blind dovetails in front (my first ever) and thru dovetails in rear. 3-1/2″ high. The drawer is a little over 1/16″ too wide for the opening.
A conventional approach (I think) would be to hand plane each side, working from the ends to the middle, to reduce the width. I’m scared! My hand plane skills have yet to emerge. I worried about chipping out the dovetails.
I have thought about using my stationary, powered 6″ jointer. Taking very light (less than 1/64″) cuts and having the drawer front in the forward direction.
I got a lot of sweat and tears in this drawer and don’t want to start over.
October 16, 2018 at 1:12 pm #4614
Bill, if you’re worried about tear out you can glue a thin piece of wood to the edge you’re worried about and hand plane that off later. -You can also hand plane the dovetailed back to size at an angle, say, the last 1/4″. Then hand plane towards the back and there’ll be no tear out until the last cut, you can scrape it if you have to. Using power is okay but I’d say use the hand plane when you’re worried about screwing up a finished piece. It’s not really a lot of wood to remove. A hand plane you can control but a machine has a mind of it’s own..
October 16, 2018 at 2:16 pm #4618
My first thought was to enlarge the opening. If that can’t be done (you mean it can be done?), and you don’t want to take a chance with your hand plane (I think you should), you can always use a random orbit sander. 1/32″ off each side isn’t a lot to start with, and a jointer might be set for a light pass, but, as Charlie said, it might have different ideas.
Congratulations on the dovetails, and what you might want to consider when planing is to make a slight relief chamfer for the back through dovetail,since the back piece is endgrain. Then you can plane from front to back with really thin passes with no tearout problems. And then be amazed at how even better the dovetails will look. Or come close and then use a card scraper.
October 16, 2018 at 3:23 pm #4619
Chamfer! Ha, That’s the word I was looking for….
October 16, 2018 at 4:27 pm #4621
OK, with my heart in my throat, I took the plunge. I started with a Stanley #6, but switched to my Avant #7, both set at the lightest pass that would cut. Really worked good. I found that if I held the plane at an angle (hit the corner first instead of the full edge) it worked a little better, BUT, I then managed to plane a crown into the side. Once I saw it, a little more planing took care of most of it. My low angle block plane helped a little deal with the rest of the crown.
I was afraid of planing to the middle since I had visions of large chunks coming out there but I found, by lifting the plane at the end of the cut, that was minimized.
I did get a little chip out on the ends when I was a little too enthusiastic, but all the pieces glued back so you won’t see them.
In the end I argued: “Why have all these tools if you don’t take the risk to try to develop a technique.”
Thanks Daryl and Charlie for your “hand holding”.
October 16, 2018 at 5:30 pm #4622
You had two guys holding your hands and you were wondering why your handplaning was stymied.
Congratulations, Bill. I’ve seen you work with a plane. I was surprised to hear you thought it would be an issue. I am concerned, though, that you created a crown. I’m curious to know where and how. Was it the technique or the tool?
October 16, 2018 at 5:57 pm #4623
It was the technique. I wanted to take as light a cut as practical so I angled the plane about 30 degrees off the forward direction so the blade hit the corner first instead of the full edge. (Sole still parallel to the floor). It helped by taking a little cut that got bigger as the plane progressed. I probably hit the corners a bit more than the center of the drawer (center top to bottom not center front to back). My eye picked it up before too much had been taken off. A few more strokes right down the center with the plane not angled (and a little block plane help) and I got the sides reasonable straight again.
October 16, 2018 at 9:01 pm #4624
Got a picture or two?
October 16, 2018 at 11:45 pm #4625
October 17, 2018 at 8:41 am #4629
Nice pictures. The dovetails look sweet. Can’t see much of the crown and the don’t see anything wrong with your holding the plane. The bench does look a bit low for you but that shouldn’t matter on such a small job. We could blame it on your sneakers if that helps any. Like you said, it’s probably that you just got over zealous on the start and finish of the cut. I still deal with that from time to time. It goes away as you settle into a groove. Something us amateurs have a tough time with. Thanks for sharing!
BTW, I tend to lean towards the chamfer technique to reduce spelching or splitting off when planning cross or end grain.
October 17, 2018 at 4:13 pm #4630
Bill, That’s a fine technique! Do you have any paraffin wax? I use it all the time, makes planing that much easier…and easier to control…
October 17, 2018 at 6:13 pm #4631
Charlie: I haven’t tried paraffin wax yet, but I’m willing. Does it ever interfere later with the finish?
Joe: My stance was “posing for pictures”, but actually I think it was close to what I normally do. Funny you should say my bench looks a little low. Thirtyish years ago when I built that bench, I made it 36″ high. I’m 6′-0″ and shrinking. Anyway, I plan to build a better bench in the next year or so,and I thought I’d use the current bench as a design development tool. Some of the latest workbench propaganda for hand tool work has lots of “rules” for bench height. Arms down/palms spread, first knuckle of little finger, etc. Anyway, that all pointed me to a bench about 33″ high. That seemed low to me, but, in the spirit of research, I sawed 3″ off the legs, making the new height 33″. Yup, too low. I’ve since added a 1″ spacer under the legs making the current height 34″. This could be the right height for lots of planing and chisel work. I’m still doing research.
I use my Moxon vise (5″ high) for dovetailing and often chisel on top of that. Anyway, I think I’m going off on a tangent. I’d love to see a workbench design thread. Perhaps I’ll start one next. We can debate tool trays. ;-}
October 18, 2018 at 8:55 am #4632
I use bee’s wax all the time. No residue. When I forget, the difference is noticeable. The plane seems to float over the wood and cuts much more easily. My wax is a sick (1x1x4) from Lie-Nielsen. Got it free when I was up there. Takes about 2 seconds to “scribble” a bit on the sole and off you go. It makes planning quite addictive.
Of course, you can do as Frank Klausz did and add a small cup to your bench with mutton tallow in it. But I find the wax (bee or paraffin) far more agreeable.
I’m still “designing” my new bench. A thread on the subject would be fun. Bench height is a big issue. Having a troublesome back that hates to stay bent adds to the problem. My current bench has steel legs so experimenting is difficult.
October 18, 2018 at 10:56 am #4634
Knowing Frank he slaughtered the sheep himself (with really sharp tools). As an aside, as a birthday present to my son Eric, I made him french fries the old McDonald’s way, using beef tallow, and it still does make the best fries. Just don’t tell your doctor.
Planes are almost always to be held at an angle, and the key to techniques is having overlapping strokes, which will eliminate most of a crown. That and a chamfer on the end grain will end almost all the problems.
Here is a link for beeswax (I use it for model ship rigging). Looks like Lie Nielsen doesn’t sell it separately. May be
This might be cheaper if you are a Prime member, since shipping is then included:
FWIW, one reason I like wooden planes is you don’t need the wax to lube the sole. Hand skills are irreplaceable because the time it takes to set up and used machinery for cuts like this is crazy. You’ve set up, done the work by hand, cleaned up, and felt much better and prouder about yourself in half that time. And Bill, great dovetails. Really nice joinery.
October 18, 2018 at 11:29 am #4635
(another shameless plug)
Bob Urso sells wax sticks for a few bucks too. They are typically used for finishing turnings. I found that wax to be harder than bees wax but it stays on the plane sole longer.
October 19, 2018 at 6:42 am #4637
I always use paraffin wax when working with planes. I have a bar in my tool box and within easy reach in my shop. It’s something I don’t even think about anymore, I just automatically pick it up. It’s cheap enough, a bar will last a very long time and it really does help. Just rubbing a line or two on the sole of the plane is enough to get immediate results. The wax doesn’t affect the finish in any way. I prefer squiggly lines but some people use straight lines, dashes or even dots. However, the people that are using anything but squiggly lines are incorrect!
October 19, 2018 at 6:44 am #4638
Bill, I forgot to give you an attaboy, those are some nice dovetails…
October 19, 2018 at 8:29 am #4639
Thanks guys for the dovetail compliments. You may retract after seeing them up close.
I did notice I got a little better results (essentially I had a little easier time) with my number 7 vs. my number 6. In retrospect, my number 7 has a corrugated bottom. Still, I will get some wax. AND, I will practice squiggly lines.
October 19, 2018 at 8:47 am #4640
Charlie, I would normally agree with the squiggly lines of wax on a plane sole. But I have to caution the novice. Just applying those so called squiggly lines as Charlie so frivolously suggests, can lead to issues. The lines cannot be applied as randomly as Charlie might suggest. There is a delicate balance required. Think of this as tires on you car. If the air pressure is too low in one, there tends to be a bias or pull to that side. The same applies with waxing. Should one corner have a greater build up, there would a tendency for the tool pull in that direction. For this reason I advocate the use of equal and balanced straight lines of wax applied in parallel, down both sides of the sole. Alternately, one can draw several horizontal lines down the length of the sole. But be sure that they are the same length across. (These are the dashes referred to.) I highly recommend against the use of dots as this is a more advanced technique of application. The dots must be uniform and again evenly distributed.
My esteemed colleague, though quite talented, is just as misleading in his advise. Using straight line application is far more acceptable (at least until the skill is developed) than the squiggly technique.
October 19, 2018 at 3:18 pm #4642
Prime membership not only includes shipping, it also makes it possible to spend your money in about 15 seconds. And I may even have wax by Sunday.
October 19, 2018 at 3:34 pm #4643
There is a video for everything. I note he uses the classic east/west slip sliding away technique used by Paul Simon of S&G Master Craftsmen. We need to investigate Frank Klausz’s mutton tallow approach. If nothing else, we can scrape the plane and make some great fries. The dot dash technique Joe refers to, called the Morse Method, is now considered old fashioned, odd given it’s clear digital foundations, but nonetheless it has fallen into disuse almost everywhere.
October 19, 2018 at 4:20 pm #4644
I should have known there’d be a video! Of course, the video leaves out the famous “tic tack toe” method. Very complicated, I only use it for burl…Joe, I believe straight lines are worth it but only if you angle them from right to left at 25 degrees (depending on grain direction). They then become straight on the wood…Squiggly lines covers all bases!
October 20, 2018 at 8:32 pm #4653
I purchased paraffin wax at my local Supermarket for about$2.00. The bar is enough for two livetimes.
I do not know enough, so whether, straight lines or squiggly is the way to go is beyond me. I do know Rob Casman uses squiggly lines. Also, corrugating the bottom of a planes sole was, I believe, a marketing ploy by plane manufacturers.
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