Flat Out Flat - Possible?

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My Stanley 80 does a decent job, but sanding is required to get a smooth surface. I was just curious if you had ever worked with it. I have two pieces of 4/4, the smaller one being about 36" x 9". I intend to re-saw it to about 3/8" and make a box just to see how it works.
Now that I've finished another project, I'll start the box today.

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Lowell Holmes wrote:

I just went back and re-read the thread on sapele, and did a little Googling to find some pics of the stuff. It does look like the stuff I've seen called ribbon-stripe mahogany. I'm guessing that a low-angle smoother would be the way to go, and failing that, a scraper.
But I'm fascinated by the idea of planing across the grain. I've never done that for smoothing a piece. So you wanna send me a hunk of this stuff so I can play around with it? ;-)

Cool, let us know how it goes.
Chuck Vance
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Clark's Hardwood Lumber has ribbon stripe mahogany that is an African Mahogany and it is different from the Sapele. If I end up with a piece I have no use for, I'll consider Fedexing it to you. :-)

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Conan the Librarian wrote...

I've got a fair amount left over from an entry door I made last year.
http://www.paragoncode.com/woodworking/entry_door
Email me your snail-mail address if you'd like a piece. I'll try to pick out a nice ribbony one for you. How big?
The final surfacing on the door was done with hand tools. The smoother tackled nearly everything without complaint. In a few areas (mostly where my joinery was less than perfect) I resorted to the scraper. I should note that I do have a pretty decent smoother.
IME, planing directly across the grain produces a rougher texture than I like, but I don't recall if I did any of that on this project. Planing obliquely usually gives me a smoother finish.
Some areas of the door where the grain reversal was particularly abrupt and wild -- such as in the kick and lock rails -- needed carefully chosen approach angles to produce the best surface. Those angles were "carefully chosen" by experimentation on the particular piece (G). Oddly, sometimes working nearly aligned with the more vertical grain sections seemed to work best, if that makes any sense. As it was, some of the ribbon texture still felt a little hairy until finishing. By the time the nibs from the first coat of lacquer were gone, all was well.
Cheers!
Jim
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Done.

I've got a few as well. :-) I tend to start with a low-angle and then my L-N #4-1/2 and finally my C&W wooden smoother if all else fails.
So what smoother did you use on the project?

Yes, that's why it caught my attention. The only time I ever even go as far as diagonally is when I doing rough surfacing work.

That sounds faimilar. Sometimes you just have to suck it up, put the plane to the wood and hope you don't get so much tearout that it takes forever to clean up. DAMHIKT.

Beautiful work on that door, Jim. And thanks for the offer.
Chuck Vance
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Conan The Librarian wrote...

It's a Knight infill, mostly. It started life as a reject infill plane body, when I was doing the metalwork for Steve Knight's infills. This one had two mislocated holes on one side -- how did they get there?! (G) -- so I made it a user.
Steve did the initial shaping on the bed and toe piece from a pretty little piece of claro walnut. I eventually got a round TUIT, plugged and redrilled the bad holes and finished the plane. It took some fettling, but made a fine smoother in the end.

Thanks. It was an edifying project for me. I'll be starting on its sister, the garage side entrance, in a few weeks. Bad timing on this one, though. Right now, he wood is in the driveway soaking up our unusually high humidity of late. :-(

No sweat. One of the most interesting things about our hobby is "discovering" a new species.
Cheers!
Jim
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If I can butt in, what angle is the iron in the infill? :-) I've been toying with a Knight 45 degree smoother and a Knight 60 degree smoother. My 604 seems to do the best job so far (on the Sapele). I used the 45 degree Knight smoother a lot on a recent mesquite project.
I'm curious if a LV scraper plane might be a good choice.

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Lowell Holmes wrote...

It's 50 degrees.

I have also a Knight 45-degree woodie, but the Sapele is too picky for it as it stands. If time were taken to close the mouth, which *is* adjustable, and tune it carefully, this plane might have served. But the infill was at hand, and for "jumpy" woods like Sapele, I prefer its added mass, anyway.
Cheers!
Jim
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I'm sure there are those who will disagree with me, but if you have made a wooden surface flat to within a few thousandths, IMHO you have already spent too much time on it.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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Wow. I get the feeling others have struggled with this problem and gotten past the obsession.
While I realize that I am very obsesssive, I am trying to flatten two things that need to be flat: a pair of vise jaws and a block of maple that will be coated with green compound for sharpening. I have read that if you see any light behind a straightedge, the work is not flat, from which I surmised that one can make a piece of wood flat. (BTW My Starrett is flat, as I do have a small granite plate.)
Perhaps I will just use the natural light of my shop to peak under the straightedge- instead of a light directly behind. No light shows up in that case, and I can pretend its perfectly flat. ( I am able to trick my mind in this way- I can also bend spoons with it. Or forks. Plates.)
All in all, I think I will take the majority of the advice here and not worry too much- because one thing is for sure, its making ww not fun.
Well, okay maybe its a little fun.
Thanks for the replies.
Bob the Newbie (not the other Bob)
snipped-for-privacy@operamail.com (Bob) wrote in message

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Bob wrote:

had on my POS Fox vise. MDF is PLENTY flat enough for a vise. you are only talking 7-10 inches length. when compressed, don't you think even IF they weren't PERFECTLY flat, they would conform to the item in between the jaws? :)
for the sharpening plate I don't know what to tell you; I use the scary sharp method to hone blades (sandpapers and mylar films on top of a piece of ultra flat tile. Therefore I don't know if MDF would be appropriate as a substrate for pastes. I'd think it would deteriorate fast.
dave
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Correction:
When I said a few thousands of an inch- I was reading the gauge wrong- its actually a few hundreths. Does this change things?
Bob

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Bob, 1/100 (.01) is closer to 1/128 (.0078) than it is to 1/64 (.0156). 1/64" is hardly perceptible in wood working. The only way I can mark that close is with a utility knife. 2/100 is a little larger than 1/64. I don't work wood to .0078" tolerances. If you could, the change in moisture content during the day would change it. I have some old (antique) calipers that read to 1/32" that I use and I don't often work that close. The confusion in converting decimal fractions to English units is why I don't use my dial calipers. I want to plane my wood to 3/8", not .375", 7/16", not .4375", and so on. . . To me, using a feeler gage to measure flatness of a workbench is a little retentive. I prefer to make things. :-)

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