Step Back – Twisted Wood

Yesterday, as I was working the material for the Step Back, which is curly cherry, the two upper case sides (one board) were twisted. I knew they were when I skim planed them, but I also knew I had some strong 5/4 material to work with. There are several things I could have done, shimmed the corners to make it sit level and used a “planer dog” which is a flat platform for the wood to ride on as it goes through the planer and keeps it flat and level.

For you new guys, planers don’t straighten wood all that well, they plane, a jointer straightens, and when you get into figured woods, in particularly, twist and distortion are common, all the adverse grains create movement in all sorts of directions as the wood dries. So learning to deal with it is a must. Bigger pieces of wood are subject to more twist.

Big planers like the 20″ Powermatic I have, plane it well, and the helical byrd head really yields a super surface, however, the heavy infeed/outfeed rollers needed to pull the wood through will actually mash a piece of wood (that is cupped) flat and plane it. What you get is a nice smooth cupped piece of wood. Same with the twist, especially in longer pieces it will just track through.

Smaller planers like the “lunch box” ones do better at straightening and flattening because the feed rollers aren’t as strong, so less mash. Drum sanders are the best.

Having a big jointer is super nice, that’s why you see guys looking for big 12″ and 16″ wide jointers. Not for edges but for flattening and leveling, but these are super expensive. But there is a jointer that will do the job and it is affordable. A good “Old School” Jointer plane. Yep, good ol’ “Arm Strong” — hard to beat.

Now, the pictures should show you “…why in the world someone wants a big plane like that!” You need the longer length to make sure it tracks level – shorter planes will follow the contour.

In this case, I planed down two corners – opposite each other (twist) and also had a high spot in the middle. When I had it sitting flat and pretty straight, I used the 20″ planer on the opposite side and guess what….twist gone, boards straight. Now I’m not trying to sell you a plane, but I have 2 Stanleys – and old Record and one made of wood, all jointer planes. I pulled out the new WoodRiver #6, it sells for $130.00, it did the trick as you can see.


I’m going to go a little further, this week in the contest (click on the tab at the top for details) we have the Worksharp. All I’m gonna tell you is this, every plane, chisel or whatever usually needs honed before using and will require the same as long as you own it and dull tools are the most frustrating things you can ever deal with, problem is that a lot of folks don’t know what sharp really is.

I have to say, I have stones, strops, grinding machines, I really don’t know of a sharpening system or hand system that I don’t have, just a fact, I’ve got and have tried them all, nothing beats the Worksharp…nothing.

I can sharpen a plane iron up to 6000 grit and then hone it with a leather wheel and compound. I can outsharpen a razor blade and guys, it makes a world of difference. Now again, I’m not trying to sell ya either the plane or the Worksharp, I’m just informing you. Some of you have been to my shop and tried the sharpening stuff, you know what I’m saying.

Okay, got the step back parts ready to assemble the cases and then on to the face frames. Gotta get to the gettin’.

Looked at the stimulus package that just got signed into law, didn’t see my name in there so time to get to work. You would think that with all that money, they could at least buy a decent ink pen for the President to use. He had to use three I think to get it signed. I wrote this whole blog with a “12 for $2.00” at the Dollar Store pen and it’s still strong and I bet they paid better than 75 cents each for those pens. Geeez – Government.

Later ya’ll.

This entry was posted in Furniture Builds, Step Back Cupboard, Twist in a Board, Woodworking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Step Back – Twisted Wood

  1. Wayne Raley says:

    Funny, I have been checking my mailbox for some stimulus money…………….got a used ballpoint pen that did’nt work instead!! hehe

  2. Denis Rezendes says:

    looks like everythings coming along well. and i know what ya mean about the worksharp and those handplane thingys. they do a nice job 🙂

  3. Kevin Jaynes says:

    Very informative entry. Thanks for all the tips.

    I’ve used the Scary Sharp method for years but always willing to try something new.

    In fact, my 24″ Stanley planer needs a new edge (to knock the rust off mainly haha), so maybe I got to look at the Worksharp you mentioned.

  4. Monte West says:

    Good Morning:
    As you were saying i am looking for the Big Brown truck to bring me theWork Sharp.
    I got to see the 18Th blog this morning and the desk is coming along well. My question is there any secret compartments?
    The Feet also look great.

    Is the plans for your taper guide on your web sit? Thank You

  5. Monte, Sherri says she will email you the taper jig plans , they are not on the internet yet…her and Ken are still moving and posting and doing all kinds of stuff to the web site…as to the desk, and the secret compartments…oh yea, you bet , got to have them, I will show them when i get it done…but then will it be secret any more, perhaps i will show it all and let you guys see if you can find them…he he

  6. This is the first time I comment here and I should say you provide us genuine, and quality information for bloggers! Good job.
    p.s. You have an awesome template for your blog. Where have you got it from?

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