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.
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.