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Thread: Edge Planning

  1. #1
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    Default Edge Planning

    Wondering, what the wisdom thinks about following from “Art of Joinery” based on Moxon. I am straight sharpened plane iron person but at times found edge planning less than satisfactory. I have blamed it on poor planing so far.

    “Analysis
    In Moxon, the primary job of the jointer plane seems to be working
    edges to make them straight and true. Not only to make them pretty but to glue them up into panels.
    Now here is one area where Moxon vexes me. Moxon calls for the jointer plane to have an iron that is sharpened perfectly straight across, like a chisel. And the way you correct an edge is through skill – Moxon says it looks hard to the layman but is easy for joiners.
    As one who has practiced freehand edge-planing with a jointer plane that has a straight-sharpened iron, I object. I think it’s easier to correct an edge with an iron with a slight curve. You can remove material from local- ized spots by positioning the iron to take more meat off one area.
    This jointing technique with a curved iron appears in British workshop practice throughout the 20th century. It is today a fight as fierce as tails-first or pins-first in dovetailing. So give both jointing techniques a try and take your side. And just be glad Moxon doesn’t write a word about dovetailing.”


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  3. #2
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    I'm with Moxon, but if I've learned one thing about woodworking, it's that there is nearly always more than one way to do anything. If something works for you, do it that way.

    Now, when I sharpen my plane irons... (withdraws, laughing maniacally).
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  4. #3
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    I think I'm with AlexS and Moxon on this one (not that I'm an expert). The edges of my irons are curved away to avoid track lines when face planing but the rest of the blade isn't cambered. I'm a novice hobbyist but I can get an edge and face square. Took a bit of practice though. I think the sharpness of the iron is more important than anything else. Maybe it all goes hand in hand but I think as I've gotten better at sharpening, the work has gotten easier and the results better.

  5. #4
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    Straight for me; and I always attribute any and all errors to my skillset (or lack thereof).

    I wonder though if the "slightly curved" plane irons were simply the result of hand sharpening/honing on worn stones and the described planing technique evolved more from accident than design?
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Tiff View Post
    ......I wonder though if the "slightly curved" plane irons were simply the result of hand sharpening/honing on worn stones and the described planing technique evolved more from accident than design?....
    'Tis a valid speculation, CT.

    To me, cambering a blade with which you are trying to make a surface perfectly straight & square makes no sense at all, but there are plenty of advocates for cambered blades. I duff the edges of my smoothers ever so slightly, too, but the jointer blade gets the straight-across treatment. Not worth starting WW3 over - what works for you, works, as has already been said....

    Cheers,
    IW

  7. #6
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    I've tried both. I understand the concept behind the cambered iron. You position the plane such that the deeper part of the cut removes the higher part of the edge. Nonetheless, like Ian mentioned above, ultimately I don't see how there is any way to achieve what you want with it. The edge has to be straight across in order to get a good joint and I can't for the life of me understand why a curved iron would be better for that. Even if you do get it such that most of it is in plane, you're still going to have to use a straight iron in order to get a clean joint.

    In my opinion edge jointing is pretty difficult. For such a mundane task, it's something you have to check repeatedly and work to a very high level of precision. Blowing it on edges which are out of square can really add up, especially over several joints on a large panel. Particularly for the "purist" approach, where you're not just cleaning up table saw marks, and where the entire edge may be totally wonky and uneven in all directions, it can really consume some time.

    When I first started woodworking I put in my time and learned how to do it with relative efficiency, but, unfortunately, I also determined I have a tendency to be a bit heavy handed on the left side of the plane. It's not something I can really train myself out of very easily (although i did recently stop biting my nails...), so I use a jointer fence. On the one hand I'm a bit embarrassed to use "training wheels" like that, but on the other it's an objective savings of time. It pops on and off effortlessly, and it's 100% accurate. With the amount of time I get in my shop, this is a "life's too short, mate" solution that I happily embrace. Maybe some day I'll spend a week doing nothing but planing away boards and get the muscle memory dialed up to eleven, but for now the jig works for me.

    Cheers,
    Luke

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Maddux View Post
    ......When I first started woodworking I put in my time and learned how to do it with relative efficiency, but, unfortunately, I also determined I have a tendency to be a bit heavy handed on the left side of the plane. It's not something I can really train myself out of very easily (although i did recently stop biting my nails...), so I use a jointer fence. On the one hand I'm a bit embarrassed to use "training wheels" like that, but on the other it's an objective savings of time. It pops on and off effortlessly, and it's 100% accurate. With the amount of time I get in my shop, this is a "life's too short, mate" solution that I happily embrace. Maybe some day I'll spend a week doing nothing but planing away boards and get the muscle memory dialed up to eleven, but for now the jig works for me.....
    Luke, what works, works. Even after 60 years of woodworking, I have days where my edges won't come square without multiple tries.

    In my early days, my edges were not only canted, but the cant varied from end to end, often enough being low on one side at the beginning, and low on the opposite side at the far end. That situation can be hard to correct, you end up endlessly chasing your tail! Practice, aided by a longer-soled plane eventually reduced that effect to near-zero (most days), and for many a year I could produce an edge by eye & the 'finger-fence' method that would be pretty close to 'spot on' at the first check with a square. However, over the last year or so, I've developed your problem, where I consistently plane an edge right-side low (!!??). Unless I consciously try to plane left side low, it happens every time, which means unless I'm careful & check progress more frequently than I'm used to, I end up with it low on the left.

    There is the age-old 'trick' of jointing the two edges to be mated at once, so that any L/R errors will be cancelled by flipping the boards around. I very occasionally resort to this. You certainly get a good mating of the surfaces, but the drawback is that if there is more than a very slight cant, the boards may want to slide apart when the clamps are tightened, unless you have the double-beam type, which I've been meaning to make for myself as long as I can remember.

    Maybe I will need a magnetic fence for my dotage, or maybe we could just work together, taking an equal number of strokes off each edge & cancel each other out...

    Cheers,
    IW

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Maddux View Post
    I've tried both. I understand the concept behind the cambered iron. You position the plane such that the deeper part of the cut removes the higher part of the edge. Nonetheless, like Ian mentioned above, ultimately I don't see how there is any way to achieve what you want with it. The edge has to be straight across in order to get a good joint and I can't for the life of me understand why a curved iron would be better for that. Even if you do get it such that most of it is in plane, you're still going to have to use a straight iron in order to get a clean joint.

    In my opinion edge jointing is pretty difficult. For such a mundane task, it's something you have to check repeatedly and work to a very high level of precision. Blowing it on edges which are out of square can really add up, especially over several joints on a large panel. Particularly for the "purist" approach, where you're not just cleaning up table saw marks, and where the entire edge may be totally wonky and uneven in all directions, it can really consume some time.

    When I first started woodworking I put in my time and learned how to do it with relative efficiency, but, unfortunately, I also determined I have a tendency to be a bit heavy handed on the left side of the plane. It's not something I can really train myself out of very easily (although i did recently stop biting my nails...), so I use a jointer fence. On the one hand I'm a bit embarrassed to use "training wheels" like that, but on the other it's an objective savings of time. It pops on and off effortlessly, and it's 100% accurate. With the amount of time I get in my shop, this is a "life's too short, mate" solution that I happily embrace. Maybe some day I'll spend a week doing nothing but planing away boards and get the muscle memory dialed up to eleven, but for now the jig works for me.

    Cheers,
    Luke
    This a good explanation video from David Charlesworth on it. While it completely makes sense, I have not been game to try it yet.

    YouTube

    I have a same problem with being heavy handed one side. Using my fingers as a fence always gave me mixed results. Maybe one day I will get a jointer fence too or correct my fingers fence technique as per the video.


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  10. #9
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    6604AB65-589F-4FE1-B949-9299EC9DF0A4.jpg A nice print of a painting. Checking an edge .

  11. #10
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    I get by with the lateral lever adjuster and a straight blade.

    Two other tools I like are a nice quality Moore and Wright square hanging from the edge with the long rule down the side. This shows how out of square the edge is to the face well .

    The other tool is a pair of 12 " HSS jointer / Buzzer knives . Used as winding sticks at each end across the edge. The bevel and light reflecting of it are unbeatable for a view with older eyes.

    Another trick is using a fine hole drilled in some brass to view the winding knives . looking through a pinhole corrects the view with my older eyes . I can focus on both ends.

    Rob

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by auscab View Post
    ........ for a view with older eyes......
    Yep. As the senses fade away, we have to be more cunning to get the job done....

    Cheers,
    IW

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