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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I have a panel that I glued up for the top of a blanket chest. What is the step by step proper procedure to hand plane the panel flat? I have all the hand planes needed but I need more detailed instruction. Can I plane the board after I sanded it?

thanks,
Dimitri
 

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Dimitri Guest said:
Hi,

I have a panel that I glued up for the top of a blanket chest. What is the step by step proper procedure to hand plane the panel flat? I have all the hand planes needed but I need more detailed instruction. Can I plane the board after I sanded it?

thanks,
Dimitri
OK hand planning! I was think I was the only one that did that any more!

First if you have not done this sort of thing before I would not do it to the blanket chest until you have practiced for a while.

You also need long planes, do you have ones that at let's say 15" long? You might get by with at 12" but anything less I would not try.

By the way we are talking a flat chest and not a rounded top right?

Anyway first you will do sanding last if at all. You will want to remove any glue that came out of the joints by scraping it off the is step one.

Next you will want to find if the panel is warped or bowed (concave/convex).

Now before I get into this any farther are you still interested?

Ed
 

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An Easier Method of Flattening a Panel

Dimitri,

I heartily agree with Reible. Hand planing a panel is a daunting task if you've haven't done a lot of hand tool work. My most recent project was a blanket chest that had a frame and panel design. The panels were glued up hard maple and quite large. What I did (and have done in the past) was take the glued up panels back to my hardwood lumberyard, which has a wide belt sander. For a very minimal fee they ran the panels through the sander and had them back to me in 2 days. Even though I have a tablesaw, jointer (6 inch) and portable planer in my shop, I find having the lumber yard perform big milling tasks to prepare stock only adds a few cents per board foot and saves me loads of time. Got this tip from a professional cabinet maker, who's hourly rate as a professional is worth a lot more than mine as an amateur. Besides, it allows me to focus on designing the piece, layout, joinery, and assembly, rather than stock prep.
Gerry
 

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That sounds great. The problem in my area local lumber yards are now a rarity. The biggies Home Depot and Lowe's have driven them out of business.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes! I am interested in your process to flatten the top of the chest. I have all the hand planes needed i.e #7,#6,#5,#4,#3. Please describe the process if you can step by step.

thanks,
Dimitri
 

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Dimitri Guest said:
Yes! I am interested in your process to flatten the top of the chest. I have all the hand planes needed i.e #7,#6,#5,#4,#3. Please describe the process if you can step by step.

thanks,
Dimitri
OK,

I will assume since you have all the planes that you must know something about planes. But, let me go over this quickly,
1) the planes must be sharp
2) the blades must be square
3) the planes must be adjusted (cap iron, frog, centered and depth)

You must also have a straight edge longer then the chest top. Depending on how big the chest is a square might work or you might have something like that that will work.

If you have not sized the top yet please donot do so. Sizing is the last thing to do.

For now lets say you have selected a top and bottom. You must locate the high spots, using the straightedge find the high spots and mark them. Start with the bottom to give yourself some additional practice. You want to plane off the high spots. You must try to plane with the wood grain, since this is a glued up panel (right?) this might not be easy. You will want to have the plane set to take a very fine cut 1/32 or less. (You should set this up and test on a separate piece of wood..... you want a long thin strip of wood (very thin).) The plane should be held at a slight angle to the grain so it shears, this is a thing you feel and hear when it is right, it is a "zip" sound. Hit all the high spots and again check with the stg. edge. Make sure you do the diagonals as well. Use this method until it is very nearly flat. Then start with the sole on the wood just before the blade and make long smooth strokes with the grain. As it gets flat the ribbons should be long, wide and continuous. Each pass should over lap the previous one and you may want to adj. to an even finer cut. The surface should be getting flat and may look shiny as you finish.

The other side is done the same way. Depending on grain directions you might need only scape to finish or some sanding might be needed. At this point you should be done and can size the top.

If you at anytime get tearing try making the cut thinner or go back to going at a slight angle, or maybe try coming at the wood from a different direction (180 deg.).

Let us know how this comes out.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ed,

Thanks very much for your reply! I will begin practicing on scrap glued together pieces and let you know how it works out.

Dimitri
 
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