Planes

When you are starting out there are a lot of questions. Ask them here!

Moderators: jrccaim, Bob_Fleet, gavin, Robin Fawcett, HughSpencer

Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:17 pm

chipsrod wrote:i was very much interestd in making insterments but darn it i am tone def .so that was out of the question...
That's no excuse these days :), you can buy a pocket-size chromatic instrument tuner for under $20/£10 that will simply and accurately tell you the note & pitch of practically any note you can manage to play (or sing). They also indicate how far you are from the "correct" nearest "standard" pitch (red LEDs indicate off pitch & a green LED shows when pitch is good). There are - of course - also free/cheap apps to do this for smart phones (e.g. Android/iPhone).

We have a few. I particularly like & recommend this one by Korg, which is quite old now, CA-30, but still works fine:
Image
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000 ... rious02-21

This one probably replaces it, CA-40, with a nice back-light (prob. handy for stage use but unlikely to match the old one's v. impressive battery life when used like that - which seems to be several years per AA :) ):
Image
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000 ... rious02-21

This one is even cheaper, CA-1: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B002 ... rious02-21 I think we have one of these too, works fine but don't like it quite as much (keys are less positive).

TIP: Get one with an LCD, they use virtually no batteries, unlike the older designs that have a row of LEDs (unless you prefer to mains power it).
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Planes

Postby chipsrod » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:11 am

wow thank you. i had no idea. still i can play no insterments.but no matter it is somthing to pounder.some place i have plans i was working on for thickness gouges for insterment making.. is there any pills on the market to stop one from buying planes? three beaders an inside round and a two inch rabit (rebate) all in good order but at $7.oo each i had to take them yea sally ann. as i do very little cabinet work now i don.t use them often.i think i am back to over 100 of the things again. had 400 at one time.
chipsrod
Regular
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 11:33 pm
Location: millbay canada

Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:58 pm

Yes, collecting might be an illness :), perhaps a variant of obsessive compulsive behavior. See a GP, tell them you "collect planes" :D. Saw a news item last week where they were giving anti-depressant to chimps with various behavioral problems (they were previously used in research labs for decades), it seemed to sort them out. I don't think any of them collected planes though ;)
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Planes #3 - Faithfull?

Postby ToneWood » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:46 pm

Was toying with the idea of getting a #3 plane. Pa's #4 works quite well - I sharpened it & opened up the mouth by adjusting the frog last year and use it to handle fairly rough surfaces, although it can still obtain a smooth finish. But it is a little big, heavy and rattly for my bowls (which is my main/only use for it) so I wondered if it might be worth getting a #3 plane?

#3 planes are a little shorter, a little narrower and, usually, a little lighter than the common #4. I looked at a few vintage ones on ebay but (1) they are much less common than #4 although not uncommon, (2) they are usually a bit pricier than I think they are worth and/or (3) they are in pretty tatty condition. So I wondered if it might be worth getting a new Faithfull one - which would cost about the same price as a tatty old one?

Image
There are no Amazon reviews for the Faithfull #3 but the Faithfull #4 is well liked, although most reviewers seem to be first time plane users. The Faithfull #3 has a knurled bolt instead of the traditional clip on the front-plate - I don't like the altered appearance but I find those clips never work as well as they should do and suspect the bolt will work at least as well if not better, and it looks pretty solid. Not sure where it is made, probably the far-east. BTW if you are minted, Clifton still makes some lovely planes in England albeit for about x16 the price of the Faithfull (~£250).
Image
Or perhaps a bigger block plane might be better for the task?
Image

[Just spent 5 minutes in the garage: the #4 no longer rattles and Pa's cheap, simple, generic 110 block-plane is now sharp & back in adjustment (there is much to be said for simplicity) - maybe I don't anything new after all :D]
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Planes

Postby TonyH » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:59 pm

An intemediate option, if you are happy with a far east plane, are the Quangsheng copies of the Stanley bedrock designs, about midway between the Clifton and Faithful prices. They are not all created equal though; different dealers have different demands, and rumour on the streets is that Workshop Heaven (no connection) are more picky about the quality than others. They do have a good reputation.

The Clifton planes are great though. They are essentially the last surviving descendants of the C & J Hampton "Record" brand (ignoring anything from Irwin, which you should !), made in Sheffield (like me !) and have hand forged irons and the Record style "Stay set" cap iron. Well worth it, if you are loaded.

Edited to add - but isn't a spokeshave a more suitable tool for the outside of a bowl ?
TonyH
Regular
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:32 pm
Location: Bedfordshire

Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:52 pm

:) Interesting. Yes, I typically use a draw-knife for most of the post-axe shaping, then a spokeshave - both work well. It took me a while to learn how to set up my spokeshaves to get the best out of them but they work very well now (youtube is your friend!) - lots of lovely long shavings.

I use Pa's old Marples #4 plane to level the flat side of my bowl blanks (the half log/split "round") and the bottom of larger bowls (as kindly suggested by US bowl-maker & forum member David Fisher, when I first struggled to get a flat, even base) - that works well too. However, it's quite a hefty, cumbersome tool to use on a bowl and I've set mine up to handle rough wood, so I usually switch to smaller, subtler tools for final leveling adjustments: spokeshave, block-plane and/or #80 cabinet scraper - depending on how much wood is to be removed and how the respective tools are currently adjusted/performing. The spokeshave is not great for this task though: it's better for removing wood quickly than ensuring flatness. The block plane is better in this regard but will sometimes grab, resulting in small tear-outs; Jogge suggests that you can use a block-plane on the sides, especially for shaping the outside edge of the top of the bowl - an area where you really don't want tear-outs: I found my block plane to be too unpredictable for this use. I figure Jogge had a better set-up block-plane that mine and probably has better technique/familiarity with the tool (although I suspect that, on his DVD, he used one of Drew Langsner's block planes and that he doesn't normally need to use a block plane on his bowls - just a theory but it seemed like he demonstrated more tools that he actually needed or wanted to use in that section). So perhaps that is the answer: I just need to get my block plane set-up sorted out & improve my technique (the answer is often in the question :) ).

The #80 cabinet scraper is a God-send but only appropriate for fine adjustments and finishing the surface, for which I find it invaluable (you mileage may vary). Not essential but definitely a step up from the basic card scraper.
Last edited by ToneWood on Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Planes

Postby TonyH » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:39 pm

Ahh. For the flat bottom, I see what you're doing. Regarding tear out; a high cutting angle helps to reduce this, along with a close mouth, and a close set cap iron. Block planes are mostly intended for end-grain work (refinishing a butchers block, hence the name), and often have a low cutting angle, the iron mounted bevel up - so no cap iron, and (usually) no adjustable mouth, so more or less exactly wrong for difficult grain.
TonyH
Regular
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:32 pm
Location: Bedfordshire

Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:26 pm

TonyH wrote:... Regarding tear out; a high cutting angle helps to reduce this, along with a close mouth, and a close set cap iron...
Coincidentally, I was reading up on planes & block planes last night and came across that same piece of information - which surprised me. I also wondered if there are implications for draw-knives.

Also: "what causes tear-out?" I would have expected a shallower cutting angle to reduce tear-out. I guess the problem has something to do with getting under the grain and/or lifting the grain. One interesting snippet of information I came across is that the bevel angle on a block plane's iron affects the cutting angle, because they use the iron bevel-up, unlike a bench plane. So you can increase the cutting angle of a block plane by giving the iron a steeper bevel!
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Planes

Postby jrccaim » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:12 am

ToneWood wrote:Also: "what causes tear-out?" I would have expected a shallower cutting angle to reduce tear-out. I guess the problem has something to do with getting under the grain and/or lifting the grain. One interesting snippet of information I came across is that the bevel angle on a block plane's iron affects the cutting angle, because they use the iron bevel-up, unlike a bench plane. So you can increase the cutting angle of a block plane by giving the iron a steeper bevel!


I have lots and lots of unpleasant experience with tear-out. There are several factors here. (1) the sharpness of the blade (2) the angle of attack (3) the depth of cut and (4) the hardness of the wood. There is also (5) your throat opening, get to that later. Number one is so obvious I will say no more about it. Number two is a lot more complicated.The angle of attack is the slope of the bed plus or minus the angle of the bevel depending on whether you use the bevel up or down. I have yet to see a plane with an adjustable bedding angle. It would be an engineering feat to create one, and that is not something engineers are interested in. And I am sure it would be clumsy to use in practice. No. We are stuck with a very limited number of bed angles. There is standard pitch at 45 deg. There is low-angle pitch at about 25 deg. Some block planes are pitched at 12.5 deg. Finally there is York pitch at 57 deg and don't ask me where Yorkshire got that number from because I have no idea :) Let me see. Standard pitch is good for most wood with a 25 deg bevel angle on the iron. This is your default Stanley, Record, Miller's Falls, Marples ... you name it setup. For really hard woods such as ebony and maybe walnut or maple then York pitch is the ticket. Unfortunately nobody makes them any more, so I can't advise you where to find a York-pitched plane, unless you make it yourself. Good luck, say I. Maybe you can find such a plane at a car boot sale. In the UK you have an advantage over me :)

Very low angle planes, pitched at 25 deg, give you an edge (pardon the pun) on difficult bas***d grain. The worst thing is a knot in the wood. The grain goes every which way around the knot. It does not matter whether you are using a Lee Valley low-angle plane, over $100) or a common low-angle block plane. First, you are cutting the knot cross-grain. Ouch. Moreover no matter which way you angle the plane it is cutting catticorners on the grain. (I believe the original UK source of this expression is cater-corners.) A very difficult cut. My advice. Set the throat to nothing plus a few tenths of one mm. Throat opening is crucial. For practical purposes throat opening = depth of shaving. I told you I'd get back to throat opening. When you have Godzilla's own grain, then for heaven's sake narrow down the throat. Most tear-out occurs because you are trying to cut too thick a shaving, so reduce depth of cut, reduce throat opening, and be patient. Many cuts better than tear-out. Can't put tear-out back in.
User avatar
jrccaim
Regular
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:53 am
Location: Willow, Alaska USA

Re: Planes

Postby jrccaim » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:47 am

OK I will reply to the instrument-making post. It is absolutely true that you can buy electronic gadgets that will give you the pitch of a note to within 0.0000---1 percent. As ToneWood pointed out. However, if you wish to make a musical instument, such as a guitar, violin, lute, or even a humble ukulele or a dulcimer, there is a little more to it than that. There is the matter of tone. Of sound. This is an extemely complicated matter with all sorts of variables in it.

ToneWood wrote:That's no excuse these days :), you can buy a pocket-size chromatic instrument tuner for under $20/£10 that will simply and accurately tell you the note & pitch of practically any note you can manage to play (or sing). They also indicate how far you are from the "correct" nearest "standard" pitch (red LEDs indicate off pitch & a green LED shows when pitch is good). There are - of course - also free/cheap apps to do this for smart phones (e.g. Android/iPhone).


Yes. But all of these things bear no relationship to the quality of the instrument. I can tune a cheapo guitar to 0.0000 percent of true with the electronic gadget. It is still la cheapo guitar and it sounds like s***. It is not accuracy of tuning. It is a very complex thing, and that's why a Stradivarius violin is worth a million bucks.

Now I do not want to discourage anyone from making a musical instrument. I would only say, do not expect perfection if you are tone-deaf. Make a dulcimer (see Roy Underhill's dulcimers). Make a ukulele. Make something simple. See Mathias Wendel's marvellous site, http://woodgears.ca, search for ukulele. He is using power tools to the max, but you can do it by hand.
User avatar
jrccaim
Regular
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:53 am
Location: Willow, Alaska USA

Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:23 pm

jrccaim wrote:Very low angle planes, pitched at 25 deg, give you an edge (pardon the pun) on difficult bas***d grain. The worst thing is a knot in the wood. The grain goes every which way around the knot. It does not matter whether you are using a Lee Valley low-angle plane, over $100) or a common low-angle block plane. First, you are cutting the knot cross-grain. Ouch. Moreover no matter which way you angle the plane it is cutting catticorners on the grain. (I believe the original UK source of this expression is cater-corners.) A very difficult cut. My advice. Set the throat to nothing plus a few tenths of one mm. Throat opening is crucial. For practical purposes throat opening = depth of shaving. I told you I'd get back to throat opening. When you have Godzilla's own grain, then for heaven's sake narrow down the throat. Most tear-out occurs because you are trying to cut too thick a shaving, so reduce depth of cut, reduce throat opening, and be patient. Many cuts better than tear-out. Can't put tear-out back in.

This is very interesting to me, as I am currently shaping stages of a coarse-grained oak bowl. I will see if I can figure out ways to apply this information. Re. reducing the throat, I forgot to mention in my earlier post why I opened up the throat on my Marples #4 plane (I've now updated the post): as well as using it to flatten the base of my bigger bowl, I use it to level the the flat face of the split blank, which will usually become the top of the bowl.
Oak bowl 2 on shave horse  - bottom up.jpg
Oak bowl 2 on shave horse - bottom up.jpg (120.81 KiB) Viewed 12016 times

Things looked a little hairy earlier this week when fairly large tear-outs occurred near a big knot which I had opted to leave in one on end the bowl blank, fortunately moving to successively to finer tools and exercising considerable care has allowed me to flatten it and drastically reduce the wacky spiked fibers around the knot. The knot itself will be mostly (perhaps entirely) removed from the final bowl, as it's mainly in the extra end zone I leave at the end of each bowl while I work on it, per Jogge's advice, but it influences the grain around it.
Oak bowl 2 knot.jpg
Oak bowl 2 knot.jpg (32.16 KiB) Viewed 12016 times

I usually try to make the biggest bowl possible, with the biggest interior volume practical from each blank - which is fine but it tends to lead you into these type of issues: I could easily have made the interior of the bowl an inch shorter, I could have just cut the knot off the end before starting; on the other hand, if you make that kind of decision too often you end up with a tiny bowl and a huge pile of chips and shavings :D. In a way, it's a form of greed :(, wanting to make as much bowl as possible, but in another way its about not wasting wood :) - in this case oak, which I value.
Last edited by ToneWood on Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:21 pm

Re. jrcaim's post on tuners, it would be a mistake to assume the accuracy of an electronic tuner is or needs to be very high, extreme precision is not required. The best tuner I have used, by far, is also my least accurate one: the Boss TU2, I believe it is rated +/-2% although I just found somebody who claims it is +/-3% & another claims it's only +/-5%. Regardless, the result sounds fine and it has other characteristics which are far more important than high accuracy.

Re. tone/accuracy/instrument quality, I'll make a few points, which almost contradict each other (music is like that):

1. Yes, as well as being beautifully made (I've seen several up close), Stradivarius instruments do sound exceptionally good. If you don't believe that, go to the Daily Telegraph website and take their Stradivarius violin test, where they ask you to compare a Stradivarius, a good old German violin C.18 and a £30-£40 Tesco violin. All 3 instruments work fine but the difference is glaring rather than subtle. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/musi ... l-ear.html

2. You don't need fancy exotic tone woods (like rosewood, bubinga, mahogany, etc) to make a great sounding instrument. To prove this point, Taylor guitars in the USA made a limited run of their famous "forklift guitars" which were made from old pallet wood - judging by the nails, they didn't use hand-planes. Taylor guitars apparently get their distinctive bright, sparkly tones primarily from the design & construction rather than wood used. Danelectro used hardboard/masonite for their guitar bodies. KT Tunstall has a guitar made from an old whisky cask.
ImageImage
http://www.laguitarsales.com/pages/3157/ --/-- http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/foru ... p?t=105479

Indeed oil can guitars (which I believe originated in Africa) have become quite popular:
ImageImageImage
http://www.cigarboxnation.com/photo/5-s ... ntext=user ---/--- http://jamscenes.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06 ... -with.html ---/--- http://cigarguitarbox.com/cigar-box-gui ... l-oil-can/
Ditto cigar-box guitars.

Tone doesn't have to be great, if you like it or find it interesting, then that can be enough.

3. A good, well set-up instrument, should will be in-tune for all notes (sounds obvious but often instruments aren't set-up right and some instrument can only get close) - if you have a tin ear, you'll find an inexpensive tuner invaluable when setting up an instrument. BTW the frets on fretted instruments aren't evenly spaced.

4. Even bad instruments can sound good in the right hands: it's more about the player than the instrument. Check-out Seasick Steve (google images), darling of the BBC & Glastonbury Festival, he seems to make a point of searching out (or making) the worst, cheapest, least looked after instruments and using them to make decent, professional music - it seems he rarely has a full complement of strings:
ImageImage
See him, hear him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv590cPhQFc


BTW If interested in how a top professional guitarist sets-up his guitars, check out Gibson's youtube series by Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VktTsxZTTAQ
He's still great: Analog Man

[UPDATE: Added bowl images, see previous post above.]
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Planes

Postby ToneWood » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:34 pm

Came across this odd looking German-made Kunz plane/shave on ebay, the same dimensions as a #3, although considerably lighter, simpler & cheaper:
Image
ToneWood
Regular
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Planes

Postby jrccaim » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:07 am

ToneWood wrote:Re. jrcaim's post on tuners, it would be a mistake to assume the accuracy of an electronic tuner is or needs to be very high, extreme precision is not required. The best tuner I have used, by far, is also my least accurate one: the Boss TU2, I believe it is rated +/-2% although I just found somebody who claims it is +/-3% & another claims it's only +/-5%. Regardless, the result sounds fine and it has other characteristics which are far more important than high accuracy.

Re. tone/accuracy/instrument quality, I'll make a few points, which almost contradict each other (music is like that):

1. Yes, as well as being beautifully made (I've seen several up close), Stradivarius instruments do sound exceptionally good. If you don't believe that, go to the Daily Telegraph website and take their Stradivarius violin test, where they ask you to compare a Stradivarius, a good old German violin C.18 and a £30-£40 Tesco violin. All 3 instruments work fine but the difference is glaring rather than subtle. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/musi ... l-ear.html


Music is about ears, unfortunately. You can make a workmanlike instrument without an ear. Using, for example, a tuner. And by following directions which tell you to shave a top, made out of spruce, to so much +/- 0.1 mm. This is how so-called "student intruments" are made. They are made by CNC woodworking machines, and I will not be surprised if soon we have 3-D printed guitars on the web. I do not denigrate what I will call rote-made instruments. I think it it is meritorious to make one. But the craft of making instruments -- violins, guitar, oboes, you name it -- that people will treasure a hundred years from now is something else again. In the case of a string instrument there is a matter of "feel" (by ear) that cannot be taught. Furthermore it takes a long time to acquire. Just think of a guitar. You make one. It works. But it isn't just quite right to your ear.. You can't take the thing apart. It is glued together and if you steamed it you would ruin it. So you write it off as a student instrument. You make a guess. The top is too thick. So you make another with a few tenths mm shaved off the top.Hmm, that's better. But not perfection. So on you go. Added to this is the maddening complexity of different batches of wood. Maybe the sides? Should I shave a few cents off the sides? I hope you see where I am going. In a "Musician's Friend" catalog I find guitars from $39 to about $2000. And that is far from the top of the line. Hey, it's a guitar, isn't it? What's the big diff? The answer is tone. If you haven't the ear, do not go beyond rote instruments. Hate to say that, but that's life.

Oh yes. If you haven't an ear and want to make a musical instrument anyway, make a dulcimer. Consult Roy Underhill. Very hard to ruin a dulcimer. Old English instrument, we got it from Olde England. It takes a bit of doing, but then, so does any musical instrument. It is much, much, easier than say a guitar.
User avatar
jrccaim
Regular
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:53 am
Location: Willow, Alaska USA

Previous

Return to Beginner's corner

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest