The role of the scraper plane...

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jamie shard
Raw Log Import
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Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:58 am

The role of the scraper plane...

Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:00 am

I'm starting to work with figured maple (for some home window/door trim) and I'm learning how tricky it is to prepare the wood for finishing. I've noticed that Chris often uses a scraping plane as the second to last step (before a sanding schedule). I've been using a hand-held scraper as well as a small two-handled, spokeshave-like scraper plane...

Is a scraper pretty much mandatory for figured wood? I'm looking at many feet of trim, so I'm starting to think about a scraper plane...
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Chris Hall
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Re: The role of the scraper plane...

Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:46 am

I'm surprised that no one answered your question Jamie. I had not noticed it until today :oops:

For most purposes, a standard bedded 38.5˚ plane with properly set up and set sub blade will take care of the situation. You'll know you have the plane set up correctly when you can plane an easily worked wood against the run of the grain without tear out. The sub blade prep and set up is critical to success in this regard.

Some woods are more cantankerous however, whether they have rowed, interlocked or curly grain, or are just plain old hard as rock. In some cases the regular plane can take a shaving without tear out, however you might only be reliably getting one or two passes before problems develop, and resharpening after ever pass or two can get old quickly. In other cases the type of wood will simply not cooperate and tend to tear even with a perfectly set up standard plane.

The way forward is go to a more steeply bedded plane, say with a 45˚to60˚ bedded angle for the blade. The 45˚ plane can still use a chip breaker. With the steeper bedding angle comes a more obtuse blade bevel angle, and this will stand up better against hard woods as well, in terms of keeping a sharp edge.

If a 60˚ bedded plane does not do the trick, then you will have to look at scraping planes, in which the blade is near vertical, or even forward of vertical. The surface you obtain from such a plane will not be quite as glassy as what can be obtained with a lower bedded angle plane, but it will be satisfactory, I have found, and it will be free of tear out.
jamie shard
Raw Log Import
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:58 am

Re: The role of the scraper plane...

Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:24 am

Chris Hall wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:46 am
I'm surprised that no one answered your question Jamie. I had not noticed it until today :oops:

The way forward is go to a more steeply bedded plane...

If a 60˚ bedded plane does not do the trick, then you will have to look at scraping planes...
No worries!

Finishing birds eye/wavy grain maple has been quite an adventure for me over this summer. Ultimately I did something kinda sneaky and instead of using a pigment stain, I went with a dye applied with a cheap HVLP. As a result, I get a much more uniform tone, yet still get great "depth" when I apply oil followed by varnish. It is very forgiving of small amounts of tear-out, because the staining isn't trapped in those pockets.

That all said, I am still working on getting a good surface off the blade, so to speak. The planing (sharpening!) / scraping continues. I think I'll play with some back angles on one of my blades to raise the pitch... it would be nice to get a polished/cut surface instead of a fuzzy/scraped surface.

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