Is Your Handplane Tuned? Acacia melanoxylon Knows


Among the finest issues about getting older has been the very fact
that I can now do extra woodworking duties “by really feel” than “by

As my already-crappy eyesight has turn out to be dulled by center age,
I’ve discovered that my different senses – significantly my sense of
contact – have turn out to be heightened. I can not at all times see a knife
line, however I can really feel it with my noticed, chisel or airplane.

Similar goes with the dreaded tear-out – I can really feel it coming
by the tote and knob of my handplane earlier than I see it in a
shaving or on the wooden itself. This suggestions permits me to
appropriate issues throughout my stroke – often rotating the
airplane’s physique barely – to enhance the suggestions.

I can also really feel when a board is flat or clear – I don’t must
examine each sq. centimeter (until I need to).

You don’t, nonetheless, must endure 20 years of woodworking to
develop this instinct. The shortcut is to easily get a piece
of Tasmanian blackwood (Acacia
) and see in case you can airplane it with out
tearing it.

Toolmaker Colen Clenton gave me a hunk of it whereas I used to be in
Australia this month, and it’s from the identical board that David
Charlesworth’s chunk of blackwood comes from. It’s nasty
stuff, and this specific chunk has bark inclusions, plus
sapwood, heartwood and loopy grain. Enjoyable!

This week I made a decision to see how my planes measure up and file
what settings on the device will produce a clear floor. The
outcomes weren’t stunning. To get clear cuts, you want some
mixture of the next properties.

1. Sharp iron. Sharp fixes every part.

2. Tremendous lower. The thinner the shaving, the much less tearing.

three. Excessive pitch. Planes which might be pitched at 55° or greater have an
simpler time with blackwood.

four. An in depth-set chipbreaker. If the airplane has a chipbreaker, set
it a hair’s width from the sting. A chipbreaker isn’t a
must-have merchandise. I’ve a number of planes with out breakers that
might deal with the blackwood simply utilizing the above three
traits. However when you’ve got a breaker, you may as properly
use it.

5. Tight mouth. Closing the mouth tight appears to assist, although
not as a lot as the highest three traits.

6. Cease skewing. Skewing the device lowers your efficient reducing
angle, which may improve tearing. Aircraft the grain instantly 90°
to the grain.

Oh, and the entire above suggestions are for naught in case your airplane does
not have a well-bedded iron and a fairly flat sole.


The Doomsday Board
Oh, this could be a very good place to say that I do personal one
board that’s fully unplaneable. It’s a bit of completely
straight-grained Douglas fir. John Economaki of Bridge City Tool Works
despatched it to me a pair years in the past and urged I give it a go.

So I took a single stroke on its face, and my airplane iron was
trashed – it seemed like a toothed iron for veneer work.

I took an in depth take a look at the board. It seemed regular in each
approach. I resharpened my iron and tried a unique face. Once more,
my iron seemed jagged, like a bread knife, after just one

What’s the deal?

Economaki defined that the board was from a tree that was
close to Mount St.
throughout its 1980 eruption. The wooden was fully
impregnated with tiny bits of volcanic crap. And people little
bits of volcanic junk have been trashing my airplane.

The humorous factor is that I didn’t simply throw the board out. I
maintain it within the lumber rack in case I ever get right into a planing
contest that’s unwinnable.

— Christopher Schwarz

Hey, need to arrange a handplane so it might probably airplane blackwood? A
good place to start out is with my new DVD “Super-tune
a Handplane
.” It goes by all of the steps required to
deciding on an previous device and tuning it up utilizing family merchandise
(nor floor grinders or milling machines). Test it out


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