2 questions about edging boards


Hi, I'm working on building a desk here and one of my first steps is getting the hang of using a jointer plane (hand plane). It's a 22" long plane and I've spent almost the whole day trying to perfect my skills with this plane. After a lot of trial and errors; I find that I can get a flat edge if I plane off the high spots and THEN plane the board from one end to the other (now mind you, I am clamping the boards together so I can plane the edges). Does anybody here have a better technique to flatten the edges? I did try using a shooting board but I can't seem to get good results from it.
Overall, I can never seem to get the edges flat if I don't plane off the high spots first before planning from one end to the other.
Also, even once I get to the point of flattening the edges...I do have a very slight gap between the boards in certain spots. Is there an acceptable gap? My gap is about 1/32" or perhaps 1/40" - it is paper thin. I feel it is impossible to get these boards any flatter! And my GOD I spent a LOT of time just getting to this point ( shaved off about 1" of wood off of a 1x6x6!) and honing in on my skills. I hope no one here says..."they MUST be near perfect...no light shining thru what-so-ever!" Please don't say this!! If you do then that means only one thing...I'm either not using the right techniques for using the hand jointer correctly or the sole needs to be flattened.
oh and the length of the board is 1x6x6. I have about 5 of these and I'm using them to make the top of the desk.
thanks for any help!
-Jer
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An author and speaker who I respect, Kelly Mehler, teaches to leave approx. 1/32 gap in the middle when adjoining boards are butted together. This is so that when they are clamped together, you will get a higher compression stress at the ends, which should tend to keep the joints from coming apart at the ends. Now, my cousin, who has a business in TX that deals almost exclusively with mesquite, tells me that if you left a gap with mesquite, you'd never get it to come together in the first place because of the stiffness, so YMMV.
todd
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Todd Fatheree wrote:

Not true with Argentine black mesquite. Whether US mesquite is enough stiffer to make that an issue I don't know but I'd be surprised.

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--John
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Jer might find 'Planing Notes' - 'Rub jointing' on my web site of some help with this job.

Planing end to end in a continuous stroke is correct technique, but it is helpful to know that all planes can plane a concave edge. The radius of the curve can be shown to be proportional to the square of the length divided by the set.
Cast iron jointers can warp lengthwise. I guess that they usually go convex, making it more difficult to get a perfect edge.
The concavity is a good thing, however. There is a tendency for these joints to open at the ends as the wood shrinks over the long term, so the tensions induced by the cramping to bring the edges together is beneficial.
Well, that's the theory anyway!
Jeff G
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Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
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You need to use a No. 4 plane, 'bout 9-3/4" long x 2" wide blade, or a No 3 plane 'bout 9-1/4" long x 1-3/4" wide blade to take down the high parts first, then use the 22"-er, it will do it's own work as it goes lower and lower with fine shaving. I have done this in a "learning state" and the effect is rather interesting as the shavings get longer and longer. Feels awesome. I have a No. 8, 24". No I have not done any edge jointing, but I will damn it, I will.
You should buy this fence if planing the edges of boards: http://www.stjamesbaytoolco.com/ / link: "new products", then 2nd down. This is, if your plane is an iron-bodied one.
Or, the veritas fence costs less: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pA716&cat=1,41182 ...which uses (cough) magnets instead of a clamp. No good for a wooden plane.
Incidentally, which 22"-er do you have?
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Alex
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I have an earlier version of one of these from Lee Valley Tools
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p2684&cat=1,41182,48945
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Upscale wrote:

Or you can use very small C-Clamps to clamp a rabbetted board to the cheek of your plane.
--

FF


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There's the idea, I'll do that when the time comes. I as a learner thank you.
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Alex
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