All About Wood Planes Continued


A plane with a short stock, as the smoothing-plane, will make your work smooth, but it is hard to make it straight and level or true with such a tool, because, being short, it will follow the larger irregularities of the surface and will only plane off the smaller inequalities. It will go up and down over the hills and valleys of the wood, so to speak, while a longer plane cannot do this, but will cut off the tops of the hills until the surface is made level, as shown in Fig. 626. The smooth in g-plane is therefore merely to smooth the surface after it has been straightened by a longer plane, or in cases where smoothness only is essential and it is not required that the surface should be true. Small pieces can, of course, be straightened and trued by the smoothing-plane alone.

Plane Fig. 626

A wooden smoothing-plane can be held as shown in Fig. 627

Plane Fig. 627

An iron plane can be used by laying the hand naturally over the knob for the purpose.

The block-plane is small and is meant chiefly for planing across the ends of pieces (for planing" end-grain "), but it is also frequently useful in other directions. The iron is usually set at a more acute angle with the face of the stock than in the other planes and with the bevel upwards, and the width of the mouth is often adjustable, which is a convenience. A block-plane is made which can, by means of a detachable side, be used as a rabbet-plane. The block-plane makes a quite good substitute for a smoothing-plane for amateur work and is a very useful little tool.

The toothed-plane is about the size of the smoothing-plane, but the iron is corrugated or scored with grooves lengthwise, so that one side of the cutting-edge of the iron, instead of being smooth, is notched into little teeth somewhat like a fine saw or the edge of a file, and the iron is inserted in the body of the plane almost vertically. This plane makes scratches all along its course instead of taking off shavings. It is used in veneering and in gluingother surfaces. It can frequently be used to good advantage to break up the grain where two edges or surfaces are to be glued together, so that the glue may hold the two rough surfaces together more strongly, upon somewhat the same principle that the plastering on a lathed wall holds its place tightly through the hold it gets on the cracks between the laths, intentionally left for the purpose. The toothed-plane is used for this purpose in veneering. The idea upon which this tool is based originated with the Orientals, who have for ages scratched or toothed the joints of their woodwork.

It can also be used to subdue a refractory piece of crooked grain which you wish to get smooth, but which may crop to the surface in such a way that you cannot plane it without chipping the grain. By scratching the surface thoroughly in all directions with the toothed-plane set very fine, the obstinate fibres can be broken so that the surface can be smoothed with the scraper, not using the smoothing-plane. As a matter of fact, however, if you cannot smooth a piece of wood, the trouble is usually with the edge of the plane-iron or its adjustment, or with your manner of planing, for a very keen edge is supposed to be able to cut the most obstinate grain, unless, of course, the wood is extraordinarily hard.

The bull-nosed-plane has the iron close to the fore end of the stock, to work into corners and awkward places which cannot be reached by the smoothing- or block-planes. The iron is reversed. A very small plane (perhaps four inches long) of this kind is useful.

The circular-plane is used for planing curved surfaces, the sole being now made of a thin, flexible metal plate and adjustable so that either concave or convex surfaces can be smoothed. It is very useful at times, but is not essential for an amateur.

The rabbet-plane, which is used to cut rabbets, as the name indicates, is a useful tool, but in most cases you can dispense with it by having rabbets cut at a mill.

A router, for cleaning out and smoothing the bottoms of grooves and depressions, is very useful at times.

There is a variety of other planes for special purposes, as the plough, matching-planes, hollow and round planes, beading-planes, etc., as well as various combination and "universal" planes. Many of these are excellent, but, as a rule, are not important for the amateur in these days, as the work they do can be so easily and cheaply done at a mill. You will seldom feel the need of buying any of them, unless you live where you cannot reach a factory.

You will find it important to bear in mind the purpose of the cap or dull iron screwed upon one side of the cutting-iron, in what are called " double-ironed " planes. A plane with a single iron, like a chisel, will cut satisfactorily and easily for straight-grained, soft wood, and for hard wood when planing with the grain, but many pieces of stock are difficult to plane, because the grain does not run in the. same way, but turns and twists, cropping up to the surface and dipping down again in all sorts of curious and perplexing ways. In planing them the wood is likely to be continually chipping or tearing and breaking off below the surface, instead of planing smoothly like a piece of straight-grained pine, leaving dents and rough hollows over the surface. The natural tendency of the plane-iron is to split the wood in front of the iron in such cases (Fig. 628). To remedy this the plane has a double iron. An iron or cap with a dull edge is screwed on to the face of the cutting-iron (Fig. 629) so as to help bend and break off the shavings before the split gets fairly started (Fig. 630), when the iron can cut it smoothly off. The thickness of the shavings is greatly exaggerated in the cuts for the sake of illustration.



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