Hand Planing rough stock

I'm looking to start my next project and was thinking of hand planing all the stock to build it.
As an armature who's barely used a little block plane am I crazy? Or can the skill of hand planing a 4/4 to 3/4" be learned over the course of a few months?
If so which plane would I want to look at. I was thinking perhaps a #5 probably either an antique or an expensive new one (for the weight).
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I forgot to mention that the initial plan would be to plane the wood for night stands (2) with at least 1 drawer in the plan. to give you an idea of how much stock
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yugami wrote:

WOW, I had the very same thing in mind a couple months ago. I have access to a bunch of rough Walnut but I have no planer. I worked at it for a while with a #5 hand plane, got half of the board pretty smooth, enough to see the beautiful color but it was VERY uneven. I tried some more to get it flat but I finally gave up.
My new thickness planer should arrive sometime early next week!
Cant beat technology, in my opinion.
Dont get me wrong, Its great fun to see the thin shavings come off the hand plane and that sound of the sharp blade slicing through the hard wood is fantastic but, its a lot of work and skill.
Good luck, let us know how you do. Hopefully someone else can encourage you more than I have.
Andy
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:: Clever Sig here ::

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I'm looking for less encouragement and more sanity check. I need excercise and would love to have the patience that it would take to do that. But I don't want to get discouraged and quit either.
I'm relatively new to wood working. Having done a small handful of projects over the years with some good success. I'd hate to set myself up and quit.
I may find a cheap thickness planer and get a good handplane to finish the job.
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On Thu, 6 Dec 2007 12:44:26 -0800 (PST), yugami

In my opionion getting the boards smooth isn't too big of a deal (although that mush wood will be a workout). Getting it actually flat and evenly thicknessed (both across the width and along the length) is a MUCH bigger deal. Getting multiple boards the same thickness is (for most inexperienced people) pretty much impossible in my opinion. So, if you can at least get them smooth and at least semi-flat with parallel sides, some design planning needs done to minimize the need matching thicknesses on multiple boards. I would thnk that minimum planes would be a #5 with a scrub blade and a straight blade (or two #5 one set up as a scrub - #5s are cheap and plentiful). Probably a #4 tweaked out well as a smoother and, for those longer side boards you might do well with a #7 jointer. Well setup #5s could serve OK as a small jointer and an oversized smoother, but it is easier for the inexperienced to use planes desined for the task.
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Perhaps you should start on a smaller project and work up. For example a decorative box or perhaps a cutting board. With a project this size, the amount of stock that has to be planed and dimensioned is relatively small, thus it's easy to get positive results and experience quickly. As your experience grows, so will your confidence in doing larger projects.
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wrote:

Another learning approach is to do the rough dimensioning with power tools and then do the final dimensioning/surfacing with hand planes rather than take the final dimensioning passes on the jointer/thickness planer and sanding. When I started it was with stock that was purchased as surfaced on four sides and I'd straighten it out and smooth it with the hand planes--it was never flat, straight, or smooth coming from the supplier.
Alternatively, just figure that you can do it and plow ahead!
John
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John Grossbohlin wrote:

FWIW, I have an experience that might be worth relating. The other day, SWMBO found a log in the firewood pile that she saved for me. "Here, this has lovely burl, fix it up and give it to your mother for Christmas.:" The burl was nice and the shape was cool, so I thought it was worth a try.
Like most firewood, it had been rough cut with a chainsaw and I do mean rough. I don't own a bandsaw, nor do I have the pleasure of having a planer. So I said I'd handplane the roughish side and get someone to bandsaw the other end which was still covered with bark. She figured I'd just munge up the burl with the plane and ruin it.
What I did do was nick the plane iron quite nicely on some embedded dirt (always clean off real rough lumber, he says now).
But after I re-sharpened the iron, and got to real wood, it started to look really nice. At that point, I figured it was maple, which is a bitch to plane by hand especially if it's figured like this log is, but ya know..once it starts to smooth out a bit, it's really a joy to work with.
I don't have L-N or even Veritas planes. Mine are run of the mill, but I do know how to sharpen. And once you get to the point where the iron is making that "swoosh" sound over the wood, it makes it all worth it.
To the OP: in the long run, what other guys have said about roughing down your wood with a power plane is good advice. It's a lot of work otherwise. But someone else said finish it off with a hand plane, and I think that's a very good way to introduce yourself to one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of the hobby.
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Tanus

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"yugami" wrote...

Certainly can be done. Takes a lot of elbow grease, but is great exercise & more fun than the gym, IMO.
A lot would depend on the type of wood you're planning on planing; walnut would be much easier than white oak.
Also, when hand planing rough stock, it's a good idea to plan the project so you don't need to have the sides all exactly 3/4". Why not aim for ~7/8" and let the thickness float a tad?
As to which planes, personally, I would knock off the high spots with a smooth plane, then true it up with a jack or fore plane, then get a final surface with a scraper plane.
There are a lot of other tools that you might need/already have that would make this project go easier: a heavy bench with dogs, a very good quick and easy sharpening system where you can keep the iron sharp with a minimum of fuss/wasted time. A good straight edge. >8^)
Maybe inspirational, maybe not, but this was hand-planed: http://www.tjwoodworking.com/work02.htm
-- Timothy Juvenal www.tjwoodworking.com
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yugami wrote:

Certainly you can learn the skill. The downside is that you'll probably want multiple planes...ideally you'd use a scrub, jack, jointer, and smoother.
The scrub plane removes material fast, the jack is a bit less aggressive, the jointer makes things flat and straight, and the smoother makes them smooth. You can do it all with one plane (and I have) but having more than one makes the job go way faster.
You'll also need a solid bench of some kind with a way to hold the material while you work it, and you'll likely want some sort of marking gauge and a straightedge as well. Lastly, you'll need to be able to sharpen your plane irons.
Chris
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I would learn to use "hand planes" as a side project. You are going to be (1) Exhausted (2) disappointed (3) screw up a lot wood (4) did I mention tired ?
Do you have "excellent" sharpening skills ? Do you have the sharpening tools ?
Planes must be "razor sharp"(scary sharp) to even remotely work well.
Spend your time saving up for a planer.
It's quite an ordeal to even learn the different planes available.
There is a really good reason you don't see hand planes sold in hardware & tool stores much these days.
It's great to be "one with the wood" but you might lose your desire for woodworking during the process.
Learn about hand planes a little at the time.
yugami wrote:

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Thanks for all the advice. I'll probably go with a hybrid route and find a used thickness planer and some hand planes and play around both ways.
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There you go--be pragmatic. :) I have a similar approach. Let the power tools do the hard/rough work, and then use the hand tools for the finer work.
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On Sat, 8 Dec 2007 11:54:42 -0600, "Michael Faurot"

Power apprentices. <G>
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: I'm looking to start my next project and was thinking of hand planing : all the stock to build it.
Heh heh!
: As an armature who's barely used a little block plane am I crazy? Or : can the skill of hand planing a 4/4 to 3/4" be learned over the course : of a few months?
It's the sot of thing that's good to do once. It'll give you good experience in technique, sharpening, measuring, etc. But keep in mind this was done in Ye Olden Days by underpaid peons, not the shop craftsmen.
: If so which plane would I want to look at. I was thinking perhaps a : #5 probably either an antique or an expensive new one (for the weight).
Don't worry about the weight -- better to make sure it's properly tuned and sharpened.
A #5 is a good choice, as is a #6, which may come cheaper.
    -- Andy Barss
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I just wanted to thank everyone for the feedback.
I managed to find a small (10inch) used bench thickness planer for not very much. I'm going to buy a few older planes off ebay or something to play with and hopefully use to do some finishing some day.
The thickness planer seems to work very well. Leaves a pretty good finish on the wood (nice sharp blades in it). Now I just need to tear my shop apart and get it setup right so I can do some serious work.
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