hand plane technique

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Mike (et. al.),
I've planed cherry, red oak, birch, hard maple, and pine. I'd definitely say that maple is a lot more difficult to plane than the other woods. I found that I was sticking the plane alot (it would get about half way in the stroke and stop). But after some practice I found that either I really muscled through the stroke in which case it worked fine, or I took the stroke a lot faster than with other woods and slightly less pressure and that worked fine too. The shavings didn't come out as full (width wise), so it (my knight smoother) was probably acting more like a scraper, and I ended up making two passes per one pass on other wood (mind you a single pass usually does it for me, so what's two passes anyway), but the end result was the same -- smooth as glass :)
Good luck, Mike
PS. I have lots of scrap maple sitting in a box waiting to be glued up for my workbench (vises still in their boxes as well). I'm jealous, wish mine were done. I'm just clamping a 1/2" thick piece of oak across my miter bench (mdf torsion box on sawhorses) and planing into it for now.

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Mike in Idaho wrote:

Assuming everything is set up and functioning properly, one more thing he might want to consider is taking a hunk of paraffin (the type you get in the grocery store for canning works fine; Gulfwax is the stuff we get here) and making a few "scribbles" on the sole of the plane. But be careful; the first time you take a pass, hold on tight or you might watch the plane go flying across your workshop. :-}
Also, on the idea of pressure: For problematic woods, I usually find that I have better results when I apply *less*, rather than more downwards pressure. And especially if you're trying to take a fairly substantial shaving, you'll end up sticking more if you are powering the plane downward. If you've ever used a scrub plane, this becomes apparent. The motion for scrubbing is a short almost "scooping" motion; if you keep too much downward pressure, the plane just tends to bog down.
Chuck Vance
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more good suggestions. I'll have to try just taking it easy and see how it goes. I guess I should try some poplar or other hardwood to maybe get a little easier result while I'm practicing, as well.
Mike

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Mike in Mystic wrote:

Try walnut. I'm trying some *soft* maple after cutting my teeth on, and getting pretty confident with walnut. Maple is proving to be bitchy. My board looks like crap. I'd imagine hard maple would just exacerbate all the problems I've been having, so the wood could definitely be your trouble. Especially if you have any board edges in a flamey area, which are proving effing near impossible to do anything with.
Poplar is too easy for good practice. You can get away with sloppy technique (like stripping off a perfectly formed 1/32" thick shaving with every pass) that just ain't gonna work on a real hardwood.
Save the maple for another day, my friend.
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