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Thread: Hand plane recommondation for thicknessing

  1. #1
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    Default Hand plane recommondation for thicknessing

    looking for my first handplane.
    wanting to thickness 4.5mm figured tops to 2.5 then hand scrap or sand smooth.

    should i get a NO.4 or NO.5 jack planes? low angle jack? block planes?

    any tips thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Hand thicknessing tops, backs, sides etc sounds fun, and it is the first time but then becomes ...something other then fun if you start building a lot.


    I would recommend this plane for the job you want.
    https://www.lie-nielsen.com/product/...gle-jack-plane

    Even better is a drum sander.

  3. #3
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    sweet yeah I did look at that one. im still a beginner builder so planning to build 1 or two a year for hobbie during my spare time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Hannam Ukuleles View Post
    Hand thicknessing tops, backs, sides etc sounds fun, and it is the first time but then becomes ...something other then fun if you start building a lot.


    I would recommend this plane for the job you want.
    https://www.lie-nielsen.com/product/...gle-jack-plane

    Even better is a drum sander.

  4. #4
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    I'm sure the Nielsen is a very fine plane and would do the job well. However you may not want to spend so much money.

    As a hobby maker, I have in the main used the tools I already had. I always prefer to use a block plane (despite having several larger planes). Having a sharp blade and removing material slowly ie correct technique is important. If you go to Youtube and enter 'thicknessing a soundboard by hand' you'll see different ways of doing it (mostly guitars) and different sized planes being used. You could start out with what you have or buy something inexpensive and see how it goes. Learning to make an instrument is a journey in finding out which methods and tools suit you.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangimango View Post
    looking for my first handplane.
    wanting to thickness 4.5mm figured tops to 2.5 then hand scrap or sand smooth.

    should i get a NO.4 or NO.5 jack planes? low angle jack? block planes?

    any tips thanks in advance
    For flattening something the size of a uke top, there isn't any advantage to the longer length of a No. 5 plane over a No. 4. And the No. 4 size plane is much better for smoothing. So if I could have only one plane for thicknessing uke tops, I would get a No. 4 size plane with two blades. One blade would have its cutting edge ground with a significant amount of camber to speed up the thicknessing operation, and the other would have a tiny amount of camber for smoothing the somewhat rough surface left by the first blade. Having a second smoothing blade will be a much more efficient way to get to a smooth surface than skipping it and going to a scraper, although having a scraper on hand may still be necessary for areas of tricky grain.

    The Veritas bevel up smooth plane from Lee Valley is excellent (I own one), and allows the use of high angle blades that may work better for highly-figured woods. http://www.leevalley.com/us/Wood/pag...2515&cat=41182 It's also substantially cheaper than the Lie-Nielsen competition. That said, I've gotten my old $40 Stanley Type 9 No. 4 tuned well enough to smooth curly maple, but it took a lot of work and a thicker replacement blade and cap iron to get it to perform that well. I'm into that old plane for less than half the cost of the Veritas smooth plane, but tuning old planes is fairly fussy, time-consuming work that not everyone is up for.

    Edit: Also, if you're new to hand planes, practice on scrap wood until you get the technique down.
    Last edited by Uke-alot; 09-10-2019 at 09:14 AM.

  6. #6
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    There are cheaper planes then the one i listed.
    As you are only building 1 a year, If you already have a nice block plane, id just use that with something like a decent spirit level with sand paper stuck to it.

    I've seen people use this too hog out wood and you can get a pretty close to right

    https://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool...-T-Planer.html

  7. #7

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    You can set the chip breaker super close on a #4 and get good results but when you're trying to get down close to the final thickness with the smallest risk of tearing out, I think the Veritas low angle jack is the plane to go to. You don’t need the high angle blade though, a small steep bevel on the regular blade accomplishes the same thing. Another reason to get the jack is that when you're trying to joint the edges of boards with a curly grain, you really want to avoid tearout and the extra length doesn't hurt.

  8. #8
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    You can also get reasonable results with a disk sanding attachments in a drill press.
    My friends call me Titch. I have been known to clown.
    Ian Titulaer is my normie name.

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  9. #9

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    If it's simply split tops and you're on a budget, perhaps resaw on a bandsaw close to thickness and sand flat? I've made a sanding block out of an 8x10 sheet of MDF when I had to sand something large by hand, and it works fairly well - just spray glue a whole sheet of sandpaper to it and go.

    Long term, if you're going to invest in a tool and use it repetitively for tasks such as this, you'll be much happier with a thickness sander (Performax and Supermax are the same brand, and are pretty popular, and Jet makes a somewhat less expensive one). Something like: https://www.woodcraft.com/products/16-32-drum-sander?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Bouchard View Post
    You can set the chip breaker super close on a #4 and get good results but when you're trying to get down close to the final thickness with the smallest risk of tearing out, I think the Veritas low angle jack is the plane to go to. You don’t need the high angle blade though, a small steep bevel on the regular blade accomplishes the same thing. Another reason to get the jack is that when you're trying to joint the edges of boards with a curly grain, you really want to avoid tearout and the extra length doesn't hurt.
    There isn't really a wrong answer here. The choice of which plane to buy partly depends on what else the tool will be used for, but it's unclear what the OP might be looking to do beyond the thicknessing operation mentioned. It's certainly possible to joint uke-scale parts with a smooth-size plane, but a jack-size plane would make it a bit more automatic.

    If the OP only wants to do thicknessing and wants an inexpensive tool, it can likely be accomplished with a decent antique (1950s or earlier) Stanley (or Record or Millers Falls or other decent vintage brand) No. 4 or 5. Good examples can often be found for under $50. Planing across the grain with a standard angle plane works to dimension most highly-figured woods. Then IF there is significant tearout when switching to planing with the grain, then that last step can be completed by sanding or scraping. It's just that there is sometimes an investment of time to getting vintage tools to work well, but it's a one-time effort (other than more frequent sharpening, as modern premium plane irons have much better steel than the old planes did).

    I agree that there is no reason to buy a high angle blade. It's better to put a higher angle bevel on a standard blade, largely because it's then much easier to convert the blade back to a standard angle if desired (much less to grind away). I didn't make that point in my earlier response, but perhaps should have.
    Last edited by Uke-alot; 09-11-2019 at 05:00 AM.

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