Popular Woodworking 2002-04 № 127, страница 48

Popular Woodworking 2002-04 № 127, страница 48




A well-tuned jack plane can quickly trim doors, fit drawers and eliminate edge sanding forever. If you've never successfully used a plane before, here's how to buy one, set it up and use it.

Let's be honest here: Teaching yourself to use a hand plane properly is difficult. It's like trying to teach yourself to drive an 18-wheeler. Don't let anyone tell you any different.

Back in the day — before the apprentice system was disbanded — journeymen cabinetmakers showed their apprentices how to properly sharpen the iron, how to adjust the tool and how to cut paper-thin shavings. Perhaps most importantly, the master was there to tell the apprentice what he was doing wrong when the plane stopped working well. "Your iron is dull; your frog is too far forward; your chipbreaker is set too far back. Here, this should fix things."

These days, unless you take a good class, you're on your own. So it should come as no surprise to you if you've had terrible luck using a hand plane. Unlike many

power tools, there are myriad adjustments that must be made to adapt the tool to different planing situations. A plane set up to cut perfect shavings on sugar pine might not do so well on ash, white oak or hard maple.

Now before you give yourself up to a life of power sanding, let me tell you this: Learning to use a plane is worth every minute of agony and puzzlement. In fact, I personally couldn't imagine woodworking without hand planes — or without my table saw and jointer, for that matter.

Of all my planes, three see the most use. I have a shoulder plane for trimming tenons, a smoothing plane for preparing wood for finishing and a jack plane for just

about everything else.

Equipped with a fence from Lee Valley Tools, my jack plane cleans saw blade marks off the edge of every board in a project. I never have to worry about rounding over any edges with a random-orbit sander again. This isn't about some "hand-tool heritage" stuff. It's simply a better and faster way to do things.

The same goes for trimming doors and drawers. The inset doors I fit with my jack plane fit better than those I've fit with a power jointer or table saw. Why? I have more control over where the cut stops and starts, so things are less likely to spiral out of control.

Finally, my jack plane excels at cleaning up bandsawn edges.

by Christopher Schwarz

Comments or questions? Contact Chris at 513-531-2690 ext. 407 or chris.schwarz@fwpubs.com.

I'll taper table legs on my band saw and clean up the tapers with a jack plane. Again, I have more control, and the tapers need almost no sanding when I'm done.

First, Learn to Sharpen

Before you'll have any luck with a jack plane, you need to get familiar with sharpening. The iron's edge must be keen, or the plane won't work. All the sharpening systems out there work; you need to find one that's right for your budget and your level of dedication. There are lots of decent books on sharpening; I recommend "The Complete Guide to Sharpening" (The Taunton Press) by Leonard Lee.

48 Popular Woodworking April 2002

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