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Thread: Scrub plane

  1. #1
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    Default Scrub plane

    I want to convert one of my planes into a scrub plane by grinding a convex bevel. I have a spare no 4. Will this be suitable for the purpose, or should I instead buy a second blade for my no 5 or 6?
    Cheers,

    Eddie

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    Using a scrub plane is hard work. The Stanley 40 has a 1-1/4 inch wide blade while a number 4 has a 2 inch wide blade just like the number 5. The number 6 is even wider - 2-3/8 inches.
    Scrub planes take a deep cut, so wider blades are hard to push and narrow blades easier to push.
    I think that successful scrub planes have narrow blades so that they can be used by the average person. You may need the physique of Arnie Terminator to wield a number 6 as a scrub plane.
    Scrub planes also have big mouths. I really don't think a number 4 is a suitable candidate.
    Take Vann's advice on the second number 4 - (If I were you, I'd tickleup both the No.4s to see which performs better. The better one I'd set up with the best iron, tight mouth, etc and use as a good smoother, for fine cuts. The other I'd set up for general work (planing doors or the first passes on a piece that might have grit or nails hidden on/under the surface).

    See if you can find an old narrow woodie at the markets and convert it. Old woodies usually have wide mouths anyway from use or from having the sole dressed. They are also usually quite cheap. You won't need a cap-iron for a scrub plane either.
    Have a look at this pic of a Stanley 40 and you will see what I mean about the width of the blade and the size of the mouth.

    Stanley 40 scrub plane

    pic courtesy of Hans Brunner Tools
    .... some old things are lovely
    Warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them.

    D.H. Lawrence

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    What SG says is perfectly logical & good. I've always wanted a #40 or one of its clones, but never stumbled over one at a price I was prepared to pay.

    In the meantime, I have been successfully using an old #4 as a scrub for more years than I can remember. When I say old, I mean old - it's pre-lateral adjustor & has no cast ring under the front knob (pic). If that seems like a terrible thing to do to a venerable old tool, rest easy, it was in dire straits when I got it, with irreparable woodwork & some clown has knocked a great chunk of metal out of one side, right on the arch. I wondered if it would stand up to being used at all, but it has given me no trouble despite some occasional heavy use. I can't remember what radius I chose for the blade curve - around 70mm, I think, and it's the bog-standard blade that was in the plane when I got it. With the mouth opened as wide as it goes, it does an excellent job (pic 2 - shavings - or would they be better described as chips?). It's not at all hard to push (& I ain't no Arnie!). These planes are used at a high angle across the grain - at least 45 degrees, even 90 degrees on occasion, which scoops the fibres off very easily.

    So the moral is - something is usually better than nothing. You have little to lose other than a few minutes of time shaping a blade - give it a go.....
    IW

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    Well, speaking of wooden block planes, I did notice that my old Dad has one of these guys lying about: https://www.woodworkforums.com/f152/p...-plane-119564/

    Apparently the steel is quite OK, and with a bit of tuning they work quite nicely. Could I make a scrub plane out of this, by widening the mouth?

    The need for a narrower blade doesn't concern me so much. I'll only be reducing the thickness of boards occasionally, and I'm quite a big guy - I'm 23, 6'4" and a recreational power lifter, so I don't imagine that the wider blade will cause me too much discomfort (of course I might be wrong...).

    Alternatively, I could fix and sell the spare #4, and put the money towards a dedicated scrub plane,

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    I may use a scrub plane about 1% of the time, compared with a jack plane 99% of the time. The difference is in the purpose of the plane.

    The scrub (3" radius) is for rapid removal of a lot of waste, where there is a lot to remove. A jack with a cambered blade (8" radius) will remove as much but not as quickly as the blade does not bite as deeply. Most of the work we do by hand does not require a scrub plane.

    I would get a second blade for your #5, if you really want to go deep, and grind it to a 5" radius. Your jack should have a 8 - 9" radius to work as a traditional jack. Some use their jacks as long smoothers. I do not.

    One last thing - most scrub planes are too short in my opinion. A #4 would be too short. I recommend something about the length of a jack - this will offer flatter registration.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

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    Wouldn't the heavier no 5 with the wider blade be much more work than the narrower no 4?

    It's probably a moot point, since I've decided to use the ALDI plane. I figure this option is both free AND educational, and allows me to have a wider mouth than the 4 or 5.

    But still, what do you think?
    Cheers,

    Eddie

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    I have a vague memory of the Aldi - I think it is a horned woodie. I turned one into a scrub plane once, but it had a 1 3/4" wide blade. How wide is the Aldi?

    It is the woodie in this picture, the others being the Stanley #40 and Veritas scrub planes ..



    This comes from the comparison I did when reviewing the Veritas scrub plane. There is also a tutorial in the review: The Veritas (Lee Valley) Scrub Plane

    For those not motivated enough to read the whole article, here is an edited conclusion (which partly addressed the questions raise earlier):

    My overall impression is that the LV scrub is a welcome addition to the armory, and will be the one I turn to first when flattening hardwoods. It feels solid and powerful. Its extra heft over the other scrubs here was evident in the extra momentum it creates. As long as the strokes are long, the issue of fatigue is lessened.

    It seems to me that the issue of weight and fatigue is a double-edged sword. The effort saved in lifting a light plane is lost in the extra effort required to push it through hardwood.

    Will we see a longer scrub plane, one with even greater heft? I think that there is a place for a scrub like this.

    What about the lighter scrubs such as the Stanley #40? I think that this is a fine scrub, but better suited to softer woods. It just did not have the authority of the LV when taking heavier cuts. On the other hand, it was nicer to use than the LV when making fine trimming cuts. The analogy is one of a block plane against a bench plane....

    ...Could one substitute a re-treaded smoother as a scrub? Well, with a suitably cambered blade it will work, but it will not hold a candle to a dedicated scrub plane, certainly not the LV....


    That was written 6 years ago. I still use the LV scrub, but the Stanley has been sold, and the ECE was cannabalised for the blade. As I mentioned earlier, I prefer now a decent jack plane, and built one specifically for the purpose of roughing out a board - longer, heavier, powerful.





    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

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    Out of interest, is there a Japanese alternative to the scrub plane?

    Regards,

    Denim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snafuspyramid View Post
    I want to convert one of my planes into a scrub plane by grinding a convex bevel. I have a spare no 4. Will this be suitable for the purpose, or should I instead buy a second blade for my no 5 or 6?
    what do you want the scrub plane for?

    flattening a wide panel? for this a #5 or #6 with a highly cambered blade is better than a #40. reasons being wider cut (the greater mass and hence momentum of the larger plane off-sets somewhat the wider cut of the blade); longer registration gets the panel flat quicker -- the #40 tends to follow the humps you're trying to remove

    scribing trim to a wall? some (The Curious Scrub Plane by Christopher Schwarz Scrub Planes: A Curious Animal | Popular Woodworking Magazine) consider this to be the primary use of the #40
    regards from Canada

    ian

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    Quote Originally Posted by snafuspyramid View Post
    Wouldn't the heavier no 5 with the wider blade be much more work than the narrower no 4?
    A #4 and a #5 are exactly the same width, so that neutralises that part of the decision......

    I think Derek uses a scrub plane a lot more than I do, and has used many more types, so you should weight his opinions accordingly. However, this is one area where I don't entirely agree with him, and probably a lot of that comes from the choices of wood we work with.

    Take, for example, the necessity/desirability of heft in a scrub plane. Being fortunate enough to live in a part of the world with a decent choice of cabinet woods, I rarely need to hand-plane mongrel stuff. I do use mine (very) occasionally on stuff like Ironbark & Bluegum, and can't say I find it any harder work than 'heavy' planing with any other plane of any size. Most woods yield so much more readily when attacked cross-grain. It boils down to how much wood you are trying to remove per stroke, which of course is a function of the radius of curvature (the tighter the radius, the deeper the centre will bite) plus blade exposure, both of which are under your control. A scrub plane is just a jigged adze or gouge, after all.

    As to how big the mouth needs to be, with the frog pulled back, there seems to be plenty of room for the largest chips on my old #4. The limit to the size chips I take is set by the character of the wood, not the plane's mouth. I take as large a chip as I can without causing excessive tear-out. On wild woods, that may be a lot less than on more well-behaved ones.

    I actually like a shorter-bodied scrub, probably because of the way I mostly use mine. I don't use it every day or even every week, and for the sorts of jobs I do, I think a longer body would be of little advantage, and in fact may be a disadvantage, but not having tried a longer plane, I could easily be dead wrong. You should certainly listen to sound advice from a sage source, and take note, but you really need to find out what suits you best in the long run. And to get an idea, you need to start somewhere, so grab one of your potential choices, shape up an old blade & try it - you will be gratified by the pile of wood chips you can produce in a very short time. After using that for a while, you'll be in a much better position to judge whether you would like a longer/shorter, heftier/lighter tool, & purchase accordingly.....

    Cheers,
    IW

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    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    scribing trim to a wall? some... consider this to be the primary use of the #40
    I have an old German Jack style woody scrub and as it turns out this is what I have mostly used mine for.

    The scrub allows you a fairly aggressive way to profile something irregular. If I really want to flatten something I'm more likely to put it through something using electrons. For profiling smaller beadings a spokeshave or a draw knife are useful, but it seems natural to use the scrub on anything with a flatish face.

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