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Using A Jack Plane

February 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 162

Rough cuts For rough cuts, such as preliminary surfacing of a board, you'll want to adjust the cap iron to allow for a fairly heavy shaving. Loosen the cap iron screw and shift the cap iron so it's about 1/8" away from the cutting edge. Then loosen the frog screws and turn the frog-adjusting screw to increase the throat opening. This lets you take thicker, coarser shavings without jamming.

Smooth cuts For smooth or finish cuts, it's well worth the effort to readjust the plane. Many woodworkers fail to realize the importance of the cap iron and frog position for these crucial cuts. The goal is to move the cap iron closer to the cutting edge of the blade so that it will quickly break chips and prevent tear-out. At the same time, adjust the frog to close the opening. This still allows the finer shavings to pass through while affording better support to the wood fibers being severed.

Pencil tip Now you're ready to plane. But before you do, consider this simple tip to help you clearly see where you have and haven't planned. Rub the lead of a pencil lightly over the edge or face of your work-piece. As you plane, you'll be able to readily check your progress.

Hand-planing is hard work: enjoyable, but it requires physical effort. If you've ever tried planing a board with arm strength alone, you learned quickly that planing is a whole-body task. Your legs are just as important as your arms. Take a stance centered on the board, where your legs are spread a bit wider than your shoulders, with knees slightly bent. Though you'll want to maintain firm, even pressure on the plane, take care to hold the knob and handle with a light grip: If you use a "white knuckle" grip, your hands will quickly tire.

Start the cut Before you begin to plane a board, take a moment to "read" the grain. Look at the edge of the board, and clamp it to the bench so that the grain will be sloping down and toward the body of the plane. Set the plane on the work-piece so the body extends off the board with the blade just in front of the leading edge of the board. Press down firmly on the front knob, and push the handle steadily with your other hand.

Complete the cut As the plane passes over the end of the board, continue to press down on the knob while pushing forward and down on the handle. As the blade nears the end of the board, lessen the pressure on the knob and concentrate on pressing down on the handle as you continue to push the plane forward.

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