Popular Woodworking 2008-10 № 171, страница 50

Popular Woodworking 2008-10 № 171, страница 50

One of the biggest frustrations is when the grain tears out instead of slicing clean.

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.-L. Nothing in handplaning is more frust rating than tear-out-which is when the wood rips up in small chunks instead of being sliced clean away. Over the years. I've collected solutionstocliminatc it and found the follow-ingonesto be the most useful.

No 1: The Answer is in the Branches

Whenever I'm working a booth at a woodworking show. thcrc'sa fair chance that some power-tool-only woodworkers will give me some grief. Usually it starts with a few taunts duringa handplaningdemonstration ("Hey buddy where do you plug that thing inD.

But I always relish the moments when they stan to ask real questions, Ikre's my favorite question (slightly edited to make it saucier):

"So M r. Handplanc guy* they'd say. "Let's say you have a hickory board that's 8' long froma tree that grewona hill. The board'sin wind, and it'sgpt a good crook in il as well. How would you flatten that board?"

"Oh that's easy." I'd reply. 'I'd start with my broad axe."

"Axe?" they'd say. confusion spreading across their brow.

"Yup. I'd chop the board into 12" lengths and feed them lo the wood-burning stove."

I know this sounds like Southern hypcrbok (to which 1 am prone), but I'm serious when I say that the best way to reduce your tear-out problcms(with both hand and machine tools) is through careful stock selection.

About seven years ago I worked with Sam Shcrrill and Michael Romano on a project to encourage woodworkers to use lumber in their projects that woodworkers harvested from downed or doomed urban trees.

One of these projects was a large dining tabk that Shcrrill had built usinga gargantuan pin cok. The table was nice, but the story behind it was not.

The lumber far the tabk had come from the enormous. Jurassic-scak branchcsof the pin

03k. The boards were wick (like those from a bok) but they were still reaction wood. Branch wood. Junk wood.

When Shcrrill and Romano wvnt todry the wood and surface it. the wood sclf-dcst ructcd. It warped, split, you name it. They told wild taks of how it exploded (yes, exploded) in the planer. They lost the majority of what they had cut, according to Shcrrill.

That story sticks with mc tothisday. When 1 pick my boards for any project. I stay tuned tothegrainoftheboardsathand.Ifthc grain reverses on itself through the plank a good deal, then 1 skip the board or saw it into short lengths, which might not give mc trouble.

That sounds wasteful. But the most precious commodity in woodworking is not the wood, but the time wc spend working (or butchering) it. You can make your work faster and easier just by bcinga lot more choosy.

No. 2: Look Sharp

l:or mc. sharpening is like changing the oil in my car. It's messy and time-consuming, but you do it regularly or disaster will befall you eventually.

So I'm not a sharpening fascist. I 'm a good sharpener, but I don't take more than five to 10 minutes to renew a micro-bevel. But I firmly believe that a sharp iron is the second best way to reduce tear-out when handplaning.

This belief guides me when I sharpen my toolsand regulates the attention I pay to each tool'scdge. Here is what my typical sharpening chores look like in my shop:

For mc. sharpening beginsat the end of a project. With the piece of furniture complete and the deadline pressure off. I take a few

[serybody must get stoned. When I hue some tear out that I cannot Ume, the first place I turn is my sharpening stones. A sharp iron greatly reduce»tearing.

hours to sharpen my tools. 1 always sharpen the iron of my jointer, smoothing and block planes. If 1 used any chisels for more than a quick pare. 1 hone them. Then I move through the rest of the tool box. Any joinery planes (such as router, shoulder, fillister and plow planes) and moulding planes that I used get sharpened. I'll also examine my marking knives, jack plane, auger bits and marking gauges. If they're dull. I touch them up.

I do this at the conclusion of the project so when I start a new piece of furniture, everything is readytogo. Anal-retentive? Perhaps. But as 1 build the next project I don't stop to sharpen unkss I damage a tool by dropping it or hitting a nail, or my smoothing plane leaves tear-out.

If my other planes give me tear-out, I can usually wait it out. But tear-out at the smoothing stage ofa project isa frust rating battk to fight. You can try a bunch of different strategies to eliminate the tear-out. but the first one should be to hone up your smoothing plane's iron and try again.

Conventional wisdom has some solutions, but some of them might not help.

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