Does a thickness planer and a jointer replace hand planes? Do the guys who
own a planer / jointer find that hand planes are no longer used or do you
just find that you don't need as many? Regards. -Guy
I once thought, as a newbie, that power tools were the answer and I tried to
the extent possible to model my shop after Norm. After I practiced a while
I realized that while power tools have their (valuable) place, but they will
never replace hand tools. Yes, I have a good planer (Delta) as well as a
jointer (Jet), but I also have a growing collection of hand planes, all
users. Yes, I can cut half blind dovetails on my IncraJig or through ones
on my Keller, but if I only have a few to do it is satisfying and
therapeutic to cut them by hand. I work wood as a hobby, thus I have time
to kill. It is nice to be able to enjoy the peace and serenity of a quiet
shop. Would I give up my RAS, BS or TS? No way. But neither would I give
up my old Disston saws or my old Sargent planes (nor the Veritus shoulder
plane SWMBO got me for Christmas- note the drive by neener!)
My ramblings, nothing more.
Sometimes something won't fit in the power tool, other times the hand
tool is simply quicker. Of course, the power tools can prepare a
whole bunch of stock to close tolerances in a short time, so both are
handy to have.
A well tuned hand plane can leave a surface pretty much ready for a
finish. No power jointer or thicknesser I've ever used is capable of
that. I had the power tools first, and did a lot of hand sanding
until I saw the light of the hand plane and scraper.
For me, the major utility of hand tools became apparent when I learned
how to properly sharpen, and the value of a good quality chisel or
A scraper, with or without a plane around it, is used to smooth
wood. A well-tuned scraper can eliminate any need to sand
with paper coarser than about 400 grit.
A craper can be held in the hand, held in a holder like the
Veritas or Hartville holders, or in a plane as simple as the
Stanley #80, or as elaborate as the #112, or #12 3/4.
Machines don't replace handplanes, they just take the drudgery out of
rough stock preparation. Planes are still the fastest way to get rid of
the machine marks - certainly faster than a random orbital sander.
Every once in a while when I'm building something small like a box or
end table I'll do all the face jointing and thicknessing by hand because
it can be enjoyable and give a sense of satisfaction. However, most
projects I do all the stock prep with machines. I usually remove
planer marks with a smoothing plane and I'll often make a pass or two
with a jointer plane to get the ripples out of an edge before glueup.
I use a block plane to fit doors, trim off protruding dovetail
pins/tails, add bevels, and work on small areas of tearout. I'll use a
shoulder plane to get perfect tenons after cutting the on the tablesaw.
I use wooden molding planes to, uhm, do moldings. The list goes on.
Scott Post firstname.lastname@example.org http://home.insightbb.com/~sepost /
On Sun, 4 Jan 2004 10:06:31 -0600, "Guy LaRochelle"
Not at all.
They never did, never will do. You still need the hand plane for
smoothing, as machine planers leave planer marks behind. There's also
the issue of planing something to width, cutting a rebate etc. Now it
might be possible to do this by machine for a production run, but as a
bench-working one-off, it's time to pick up the #5.
At one time, rough stock preparation was done by hand with a scrub and
a fore plane, and edge jointing was done with a jointer. Now for those
two tasks alone, there's a reasonable argument for the machines.
I'll say this much... I don't own the machines, don't have room for them,
and can't afford them. I'm getting by without them. Therefore, the answer
is "yes, you can make do without the machines." I don't even have a scrub
or a fore yet. I make do with a #4 and a #5 and ajust them constantly.
However, stock preparation is a *big* part of the time I spend working on a
project. I do everything I can to cut corners. For example, the box will
be lined, so I don't plane that face of the board. I buy wood that's
semi-rough, but has been run through a planer enough to establish something
close to flatness, so I don't have to do a lot of face planing. I remove
only just enough material to get a smooth, flat surface, and don't try to
thickness an entire board to a specific dimension unless absolutely
After a few months of this, I can definitely see why the machines are nice
to have. There are days when I don't feel like Neandering, but I have no
choice in the matter.
Work or not, it's much better to do this and be able to use walnut than to
settle for the S4S oak-or-poplar stuff I had been using previously. This
is *definitely* better than nothing.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
My thickness planer paid for itself in a month. It saved most of its
price by letting me buy a buttload of timber as-sawn, then I hired it
out to the sawyer to plane the rest of it, which he sold on to others.
as others have said no. you can get away without a jointer using hand planes and
not work too hard. but it is hard to replace the planer with hand planes. it's a
lot of work to dimension lumber by hand. not so much to flatten it enough for a
Knight-Toolworks & Custom Planes
Custom made wooden planes at reasonable prices
I followed the advice of Bob Key and I'm really happy with that. I
started using mostly hand tools. When something gets too time
consuming using a hand tool, I switched to power tools. As Steve
said, after trying to thickness a board with a hand plane, you will be
VERY grateful for a planer, even if it does make too much noise.
Read Bob Key's answer to the question "You style yourself a hand tool
woodworker, but you have all those power tools. What gives?":
His whole site is good: http://www.terraclavis.com/bws /
As someone who first thought it was ridiculous to spend time hand
planing boards, there are times when it actually IS the fastest and
best procedure. for example, I built a coffee table with mitered
ends, and with some walnut stripping around it. They ended up not
being quite flush. Sanding would have taken forever, not to mention
messy. A small hand plane made quick work of the uneveness, and made
the sanding much easier.
The basic rule is no matter how wide a jointer you have, the next nice piece of
wood you want to keep in one piece will be 2" wider.
I now have a 12" jointer. So naturally, my next peice called for a 1 peice
cherry top, said cherry being 16" wide (a 16" wide. 8/4 plank) that would
ultimatley be 13" wide.
So out came the scrub plane, the jack plane, the jointer, and the smoother.
Yes, it took a few hours, Yes there were a lot of shavings to clean up. Even a
few to admire. But it is one nice top.
Normally I agree. I ususally try to keep boards when glued up no more than 4"
wide. Frank Klausz told me with that max width, it didn't matter what the grain
orientation was. In this case, it was a one piee top for a demi lune table,
which mounts with the edges floating on all sides, so it can expand and
contract. Much nicer in one piece.
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