Hand plane question -please help?

Hello, I'm working with a solid wood countertop for a vanity -it's 1-1/8 x 18" x 28". I've glues up 3 boards to make this, and now want to plane it flat.
I only have one hand plane, and it's a cheap one from harbor freight.
Seeing as how I spend $45 on this lumber, I'd really like to avoid mistakes.
Would you kind folks please offer me some suggestions on which type of plane I need to flatten this?
Lowes is the only box store I've found that offers hand planes, but '#4' doesn't mean anything to me....
Thanks in advance for your advice! Fred
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Fred) wrote in

Fred, you may not like the answers I'm going to offer, but here goes:
There is very little available RETAIL in a hand plane, which is going to solve your problem for less than $100, and be something you'd want to use again. Mail order, eBay, used, flea market, etc., maybe, but walk-in retail, you're pretty much out of luck
Hand planes at the big box stores are generally semi-useable for construction types of projects, but difficult to impossible to tune up for smoothing a table top made of hardwood. Particularly if you are #1: in somewhat of a hurry and/or #2: without someone to show/teach some simple methods of tune up and use.
If you are in a hurry, the safest way to level your counter top is by sanding. Either using a large sanding block (2x4 with paper wrapped around it would be one way), or with a powered sander, you could level and finish smooth your project in less time than it would take to find and figure out the hand plane part.
Or you could make a few calls, and see if there is a cabinet or millwork shop that could run it through their wide belt sander, for a modest fee. Probably the easiest, if that option is available.
And when you get an hour, do a Google search on buying your first hand planes. Much has been written, most of it useful, on the subject. Jeff Gorman's site (whose url escapes me right now) is really useful. So is Patrick Leach's site, www.supertool.com, which also deals with some fascinating history. Believe what a fellow using the handle Conan the Librarian has written. Or charlieb. Or Paddy, or....
But good luck. I hope this comes out looking good!
Patriarch, proud owner of maybe 2 dozen handplanes, and nowhere near the most addicted handplane owner in my town....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I had to do a fair amount of practice on sacrificial wood before my skills were up to taking a panel rough to finish with a hand plane. Even now I'd be challenged to do it with a single plane. And there's been a lot of sharpening and tuning to learn besides.
Typically I start with a scrub plane (stanley 40) then to a jointer (stanley 7) and then to a wide smoother (stanley 4 1/2).
Though a jack plane (stanley 5) would be the plane that could do it all but it would be more work and take more skill.
I'd suggest you belt sand your countertop. Then contemplate your opening of the pandora's box of handplaning.
David

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Fred) wrote:

I won't say DAGS. I will say, visit your library. You will find instructions on hand planing in many woodworking books. The bonus is that a woodworking book is likely to alert you to other information you'll need for your project.
Do sharpen your plane blade. As a starting woodworker, you'll probably find the Scary Sharp method a good one to start with.
I'll leave the discussion of which plane, and which brand, to other responders.
Good luck!
--
"Keep your ass behind you."

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
For about $20 a lumberyard will and it for you. Unless you don't care how it looks, that has to be the best solution.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'll throw in another vote for sending it out. I recently completed a 33x60 cherry table top and took it to my local hardwood supplier to be sanded. They did the sanding for $8.
todd
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No kidding. For me, it's the only way to go. There may have been a caveat that the original material was purchased there, but heck, even if it was twice that much it would have been worth it to me.
todd
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Fred wrote:

I almost hate to ask. Where do you live and how much time/money are you willing to spend on this. A #4 is a smoother, not long enough to flatten items of any length very well. If it's a HF plane and it isn't tuned, consider it a funny looking scrub plane. Using a plane isn't something you're going to just pick up in an afternoon. Finding a #6 or #7,already tuned and sharpened, unless you're willing to spend some nice change isn't going to happen in an afternoon either. Take a moment to go to http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan1.htm and read that page, it'll help some, but the physical part of the learning and acquiring will still need to be done. So wil coming up with the money for this addiction. DAMHIKT. Minty and usable off the shelf planes can be had, but the cost will make the lumber look like pocket change. A wide belt sander at a cabinet shop or millwork shop is probably your best bet if you eed it done right and now. Save getting the planes for later. Dave in Fairfax
--
reply-to doesn't work
use:
daveldr at att dot net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well Fred, I'm going to go against the grain on this one. Fortunately for me, I didn't ask before buying a Stanley jack plane, putting a good edge on the blade and laying it on a hunk of Walnut I wanted to build something with. Yeah - I had to fool around a bit with it to get a perfect cut, but it really wasn't rocket science. Nor was it a lot of work to put an edge on the blade. Sharpened it, put it back together, used it a bit, discovered the adjustment that makes the blade perfectly parallel to the slot, and then it was just a matter of going back and forth. Did I miss some of the esoteric aspects of properly handplaning? Most likely, but in no time flat I ended up with a flat piece of Walnut that was as smooth as a baby's behind. Isn't that what you're after? If you've got half a woodworking sense about you, then go for it - and by the way, my Stanley cost me $45.00 retail.
--
-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
THANKS FOR THE ADVICE!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11 Jun 2004 10:09:36 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Fred) wrote:

Start here http://www.amgron.clara.net/planingpoints/planeindex.htm
You really need some assistance here. Find a nearby woodworker and borrow a couple of planes that are already tuned up and ready to go.
Find a power thicknesser / surface planer that can take this width, then splash out on a cheap Stanley #80 scraper to take the machining marks off.
Find a commercial shop with a wide belt machine.
Or the long way, read up on Scary Sharp (Google) and plane tuning. Take your Harbor Freight special (or buy it a cheap 50 yar old friend from eBay), tune it up, practice on some scrap, then go to it.
--
Smert' spamionam

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Maple is prone to tearout. You will probably have trouble planing it, especially if the grain in one board goes in a different direction than the adjacent board. I would find someone with a wide belt sander to do it for you, or if you are good with a hand belt sander, there is a technique to sanding to keep the panel pretty flat. Another method would be using a cabinet scraper followed by a ROS.
Typically, if you use a handplane for difficult wood, the included angle of the iron is typically 50-60 as opposed to the typical 45 of most handplanes.
Preston

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Fred) wrote in message

I second the opinion to call a few woodworking shops and cabinet shops and pay for time in a drum sander. You will be much the happier for it. Hand planes are wonderfull, but the learning curve is in months. You could also be going along just fine, hit a grain reversal and pull a 1/32" chunk out of your surface in a split second. Unless you have oriented all three boards with the same grain direction (not likely) you would have to plane exactly to the edge of one board and then turn around and plane the opposite direction.
A belt sander can also run the project in seconds if not used properly, if you use a fine grit like 180, you are less likely to disk the piece, but checking it often with a good straight edge and marking those areas which are high every 30 seconds or so should help prevent this.
Expect about $20-30 for the drum sanding of the counter top, money well spent.
Alan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.