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Not too long ago, I bought a #5 Veritas jack plane from Lee Valley.  I'm realizing now that I don't really know how to use this tool effectively.  For example, I tried to flatten a board that was too wide to run across my jointer, so that I could run it through my planer, and it came out looking worse than when I started.  What I am looking for is a comprehensive guide for someone who is a newby regarding bench or jack planes.  Or just planes in general.  I realize I have other options, such as ripping the board to fit my jointer, flattening it, and gluing it back together for the planer, or building a "shimming sled" to use on the planer, but I would also like to be able to use the plane to do this.  Any recommendations would be appreciated.

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Tom, to start off with, are you trying to get warp and twist out of the board, or are you trying to flatten highs and lows in the board? Also, you may be missing a step if your board is really rough, you may be missing the Scrub Plane before you can get to a smoothing plane.

As far as books go, the few books I have are mainly for hand plane making. I have found however that when it comes to instructions, I really get a lot out of visual and voice aids, I love videos!

YouTube is inundated with videos on your subject. Tuning a plane, honing the iron (may not be necessary in your case, I have several Lee Valley's and they came ready to use out of the box).

The biggest mistake newbies make, is trying to remove too much material. For now I can leave you with this, take a few swipes on the practice board, if you are digging in you are more than likely removing too much. Back the iron off a tad, and keep taking some swipes and keep baking off the iron till you only see a slight wisp of shaving. Better yet, back the iron all the way out, and adjust the depth until you make the slightest contact, once you do, you are ready to go. You'll notice that you'll be skipping across the highs of the board, taking only sporadic cuts, after awhile, your shavings will become more steady and consistent, indicating you are approaching board flatness.

 

Cardinal rule number one, never plane against the grain! Only across or diagonal and along for flattening, and along for final smoothing.

 

When you become efficient with the plane, and more comfortable with how it works and the dynamics involved, you may even decide to hone the square corners of the iron slightly rounded, as I have done with the irons in my smoothers, this prevents the lines from showing up, it's a wonderful modification.

 

Since I don't own any books that address the use of a plane, I cannot recommend any.

 

By the way Tom, thank you for tagging your topic, wonderful job!

 

 

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Tom I thought I could get by without buying all that new stuff when we quit working and moved here..   Kinda the same road you're going down.. All my equipment was very worn for I had bought all the big stuff used the week I got out of the army in 60. It all came from the same shop who had bought it new....It don't mean much cause I really didn't have that much experience using most of it..

  Then years later here come blades that are so called edge gluing blades I guess that means a person can get the same thing using a joiner. Could be?? But as I have since watched many people run wood through a table saw and some were using power feeders and still could not get the edges in good flat shape like is required for gluing edge to edge no matter what they are fixin to make....So to me its the person as much as it is the machines then add the accessories needed on those machines makes lots of places that can cause poor quality work...

 I have always been an experimenter for if I want something done right for the next time I go out of my way to keep on till I am happy with what I am doing.

  Only thing I can suggest is bite the bullet and add more things for the shop and if you're just working out of a one car garage that's kind of impossible so either change the things you are building or build a shop.

  Another thing I would suggest is visit commercial woodworking shops and ask them if you can stand and observe staying out of the way, maybe even hire on as a clean up guy.

  Like my gardening right now of trasplanting trees and shrubs... I am very good is if I have room to get my backhoe in both areas, the area where the tree will be dug up and the area where it will be replanted. But two months ago I could not get the backhoe in to dig out the tree and take all the roots intact to the new hole...So I experminted first with a 6 foot tall pine. All I could do was soak the roots for two days making almost a solid lake. Then wrap large nylon rope around many times s to not mess up and remove the bark. I pulled the pine tree straight up and took it to the new hole..I had heard to cover any areas where the bark was missing to use duck tape and wrap the trunk after replanting.. The pine tree I did not use any duck tape and even though I kept the roots moist, the tree died.. Okay the next tree I also could not get the backhoe in to dig and take most roots so again I watered the area for two days and pulled up the tree and all the roots then moved in to the waiting hole. This tree, a yaupon holly with 3" trunk,  stripped all the bark off of about 4 foot all around the trunk and I have heard this will kill a tree no matter what but I have also heard is a person wraps the part of the trunk that is miss the bark with duck tape it will live....And so it has been almost 2 months since I transplanted both trees on the same day, the yaupon is still alive with almost all of its leaves... But I don't think it has put on any new leaves.

  In the past when I dig a hole with the backhoe first, then with the root ball good and soaked with water and prune lots of the upper branches, anything I have ever transplanted has live ... Like this past two weeks I have been moving 4 real tall crape myrtles but after I pruned all three they are 6 to 8 foot tall and all have small shoots and leaves coming out everywhere.

   I do this in wood working now but when I had to make a living a person does have all that extra time to experiment..

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Tom, I'll be following along this hand tool journey of yours, it's fantastic fun, and there is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when you plane and flatten or join a board by hand. Once you start working with hand tools more in depth, and you start to build entire projects with more hand tooling, you'll find there is a depth in woodworking in the planning and execution of the project, that is not found using primarily machined operations.

 

I remember the joy I had when I flattened my first board successfully, and the sound of the plane and the fine broad shavings rolling out of the top, it's a feeling of bliss, and accomplishment, I hope you'll stick with it. It seems planing is the first leap most of us make, then we start using our chisels more, for mortising, then the natural progression seems to head towards sawing by hand as well.

 

Thanks for asking here, in our Hand Tool Forum!

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John has some great advise. I'll suggest Paul Sellers. He has several outstanding videos that cover all of the aspects. There are many others that are good, also. However, go through his first.

 

Brand new Veritas doesn't mean wicked sharp, necessarily. Take time to fine hone the blade. What you think is sharp may not be sharp enough (I have had to strop a couple of mine to "sweeten" them). This is the key element. Make sure that you are planing with the grain and take only enough bite to barely get a shaving. Once you have the "feel" you can find the sweet spot for whatever you want to accomplish.

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The Woodwright's Shop had Chris stop by for an episode..called Hand Plane Essentials....might do a search on pbs.org for that show....

 

IF you happened to be in my neck of the woods, stop by sometime.....I might know a few things about using a handplane...

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8 hours ago, John Morris said:

Tom, to start off with, are you trying to get warp and twist out of the board, or are you trying to flatten highs and lows in the board?

John, what started me on this train of thought was that I had a nice 8" wide piece of 4/4 cherry that I was trying to flatten.  The project was a desk top organizer for my daughter.  It had a slight twist, but enough that I didn't want to just run it through the planer.  I eventually ripped it, ran the two lengths across my jointer, and edge glued it back together to run across my planer.  That worked, of course, but the more I thought about it, the more satisfying it seemed that doing the same thing with a bench plane would have been.  You're right, though, I am starting to get more interested in working with hand tools where possible and practical.  I don't want to completely unplug, but neither do I want to become like Norm and be a power tool junkie, as he used to describe himself.  BTW, the organizer got made.  I am just waiting for my daughter to remember where we live, and come and get it.

 

@schnewj and @kmealy, thanks for suggestions.  I had seen them in my research, and now that people I respect have recommended them, I will definitely try to check them out.

 

@steven newman, I would love to visit you and pick your brain, but I don't know where you are, and your profile page doesn't say.  At least, if it does, I missed it.  In any case, if you aren't in or near to Kansas, I probably wouldn't be heading your direction.  Thanks for the offer.

 

@Smallpatch, I understand your meaning about experimenting.  That may be my next step, getting some less than perfect boards, that I am willing to sacrifice, from one of the borgs and practicing.  I was hoping to get reference materials so that I could make progress, and not just shavings. 

 

Thanks all.  I appreciate the input.

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I have this book https://www.amazon.com/Handplane-Taunton-Videos-Fellow-Enthusiasts/dp/1561581550/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529897209&sr=8-1&keywords=book+on+woodworking+planes  and it is excellent. The places mentioned so far are very good. Planes are as has been said a learning process and you will not regret your experiences. There is only one plane that I know of that comes sharpened and ready to set to wood and that is Lie-Nielsen (out of my price range) but I do have two Lee Valley Veritas. Remember what has been said and take small bites.

     The first thing you need to learn is how to tune up your plane. http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/plane_tune.shtml

    

     To flatten a board with cup you first plane across the grain to level the surface and then along the grain to smooth. Different planes are used for these two processes and you may not have both so lets say that a #5 can do both in a pinch.

     If you get this far then come back for more info it just takes a while to digest and practice.

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The key to any plane is a sharp blade. Without that you are dead in the water. The ability to be able to control the amount of wood you are removing is key, just like a jointer or planer. Veritas has some good sharpening systems.

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1 hour ago, DRAGON1 said:

Veritas has some good sharpening systems.

that'd be....

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=51868&cat=1,43072,43078,51868

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Anyone who is getting into hand tools, I highly encourage them to begin free hand sharpening, it's not hard, it's enjoyable, and it's rational. Honestly, the jigs out there are off the hook, and too many, for such a simple task.

I learned to free hand sharpen just a couple years ago, actually I was reintroduced I should say, and I am glad I went back to it. I got sucked into the jigs and hold-a-majigs a thingy's and they are great at marketing those products, but honestly, just free hand it, you'll be amazed what you can do, and how fast.

Whatever book you purchase Tom, try to see that it has a few pages on free handing it, and of course, there is the trusty YouTube full of videos on the subject!


 

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