29 Nov. 1987|
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With bevel-up planes, the controls are low on the tool – too low to reach without removing your hand from the tote. Welcome to the weird middle ground of plane sizes, where any tool can do any job and trade-offs abound.
I know all this because this is how I worked when I had only one bench plane, a vintage No.
Sometimes called the junior jack plane, tool collectors tell me that this plane shows up in a lot of inventories of manual training programs at public schools. If you buy a couple extra irons, you can have a longish smoothing plane with a high cutting angle. The longest tools in the bench plane family are designed to straighten and flatten the work. Jointers, power planers, and sanders can all do the same job as hand planes but they can be too heavy handed for delicate woodworking tasks.
Stanley is the first name in hand planes and they number their planes according to size from the smallest being a number 1 to a number 8.
To dial in a hand plane for use, you need to set the lateral (side to side) blade adjustment and the blade depth. A proper lateral adjustment ensures the blade cuts equally on both sides and should be fine tuned using the lever located at the top of the rear handle. The depth adjustment varies according to the type of job you are doing and how much material you want to shave off.
Grasp a hand plane using both hands, one holding the rear handle and the other gripping the top front knob.
Watch the video linked below for a more in-depth explanation on the variety of hand planes available and some more tips to use them.
They are simpler tools (with no chipbreaker or movable frog), they’re less expensive than their bevel-down counterparts, and they are easily configured to plane at high angles that reduce tear-out.
Traditional bevel-down planes have the blade adjuster right where you want it: in front of your fingers.
With traditional bevel-down planes there are separate controls for depth adjustment and lateral adjustment (which centers the cutter in the mouth of the tool). If you like a traditional bevel-down plane, working with the bevel-up planes can be disconcerting.
Because the bevel faces up, you only have to hone the cutter to a higher angle to raise the cutting pitch of the plane.
In fact, the two formats are so different in the hand that I think it’s worthwhile to take a test drive of each form to see which you like better. Set it up with a straight iron or a slightly cambered iron and it can be a shortish jointer plane. One way around this problem is to change planing directions several times while working the top. I want to buy one premium handplane, and I want it to do the most tasks possible because I cannot afford a whole set of tools. Yes, there are trade-offs (see the section above on the bevel-up smoothing planes), but these bevel-up tools are extraordinarily useful, versatile, adaptable and easy to use. You can have a shortish jointer plane that is good for jointing edges up to 36″ long. I dress my stock using the machines, and then I further refine the faces and edges with a jointer plane. I had read a multitude of articles before I got started with handplanes and if I had had seen this one first, all the others would have made a lot more sense. From shaving the bottom of a door to smoothing a desk surface, a hand plane will get the job done easily, while providing the the most comfort. Plus, the tool is difficult to use to shoot long edges for a panel glue-up – a real jointer plane makes this task simpler.
With Veritas’s bevel-down planes, both controls are integrated into one adjuster, called a Norris-style adjuster. This is a tremendous game-changing advantage and is the reason that I really like the bevel-up tools and keep one handy that’s set with a high cutting angle (I like 62°). It won’t work as well as a jointer plane for this, but you can get away with a lot, actually. With a heavily cambered iron, I use it to dress stock that is too wide for my jointer or planer.
Patrick Leach, who administers the excellent Blood & Gore plane-reference site, runs down the No. Always keep in mind though, No matter what plane you have, learning to set up the blades and sharpen them is the most crucial part of it all. I got a 38 degree blade extra for hard woods and the finished wood from shavings of this plane are smooth as glass. Set it up with a minutely cambered iron and take a light shaving and you can use the jack as a long-ish smoothing plane.
The high center of gravity of the bevel-down jointer plane makes it easier for me to sense when the tool is tipping to the left or right. And when I plane the faces of boards, the curved iron reduces the chance that the corners of the iron will dig into the work.
6) I can scrape the entire top without leaving any dished areas, which is more a problem with cabinet scrapers, card scrapers and short scraper planes.