Knight-Toolworks plane question

Hello fellow owners, a question (or two or more...) for you.
I've been talking with Steve about a new Jack plane. I have his coffin smoother and the scrub. I'm not as adept at using the scrub (probably lack of practice mostly) and have had some difficulty getting it setup because of the proximity of the iron in relation to the rear tote (I have to hit the iron at an angle and it takes a lot of whacking to get it to set deeper). Another issue was the rear strikeplate for removing the iron was real close to the tote as well and I have problems getting a clean whack on it to get the iron out.
Steve mentioned that most of his scrub orders are toteless (traditional I guess you'd say). In purchasing the Jack I had always assumed I'd get it with the tote because I do like the additional control it gives me with the scrub when I'm planing around grain that's changing direction (knots and such) to avoid massive tearout you can get with a scrub.
Anyway, here's my first question. If you have a toted Jack, what has been your experience in setup and removal of the iron in regards to the position of the tote?
If you have a toted scrub, any pointers or tips that you can share would be great as well.
And for anyone with a scrub plane, is there a place where I can get some pointers on how to use it effectively, I've basically been learning by trial and lots of error -- not always the fastest, but I'm definitely getting better. I've looked at various plane books and they all tend to describe what the scrub is for and how it works, but not so much how to actually use it. I'm especially interested in how to use it around (and on) things like knots. And differences in using it on hardwood vs softwood. Oh, and how thick my shavings should be -- I can get them real thin like my smoother or super thick (but usually a high incidence of tearout occurs and I don't like that). I've found a bit of a middle ground that I kind of like -- however, I use it more for the look it leaves on the wood (how's that for a nice rustic finish -- requested of course), vs. actually thickness planing -- I don't think I'm taking enough off at a time for that, or maybe I am (see my problem here?).
Thanks a million, Mike
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Here's how I was taught.
Use the scrub plane at about a 45 degree angle to the grain of the wood working back and forth creating chevrons (more or less). Go for thick, short cuts, not long ones.
When one side of the board is flat (but not necessarily smooth), work it with a number 5 bench plane followed by a 7. This gets the face smooth. This side of the board is now your face side.
Take a marking gauge set to the final thickness you want. Referencing off of the face side you just worked one mark the edges all the way around the board. Just to be clear, the mark should be on the short side grain and end grain... not on the edge of the face frame (that make sense)?
Turn the board over, repeat the process. Scrub down to the marks to thickness and flatten, then switch to 5 and 7 to smooth (although I prefer the old-timey way and leave a lot of the scrub marks on the inside). Then finish with a 4.
Works for me... but I usually only do it when I have a gorgeous piece too big for my jointer and I don't want to cut-joint-glue.
HTH

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HTH,
Thanks for the info I'll give it a try when I get my scandinavian workbench built (right now I can only go with the grain as I butt the wood up against a stop block, no benchdogs unfortunately to hold stuff down a bit awkward).
Followup question: What do you do with knots? Plane around them? Plane them (what about tearout)? Or do you just use really clear wood?
Mike

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I haven't planned any boards with big, loose knots. Little, tight ones are not a problem. I don't worry about tear-out at all when using a scrub plane. I leave that for cleanup with the 4 and scrapers.

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I did not ask are you using the plane 45 degrees to the grain? I mean tearout and a scrub plane usually is not a problem unless you pop out a big chunk on that knot.
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I use my scrub at roughly a 45 degree angle to the wood. Plane all the way across it and come back the reverse direction (you'll be making a crosscross pattern on the wood) and plane that way. Once you have a fairly even crosshatch pattern, come back with your jack (I like to use my foreplane for this, but most people would recommend the jack) and knock off the ridges you made with the scrub.
IME, you still have to pay attention to grain direction. You'll know if you've got it wrong, because it will create huge divots with tearout, while if you are doing it right, you'll get a fairly smooth ridge.
The planing motion I use is a short scooping motion. Keep the strokes short, land the plane and lift at the end in one continuous motion and you'll find that you don't get bogged down and tear out as much. I'd estimate that the "shavings" are about 1/8" thick or slightly thicker. I adjust the blade depth depending on the characteristics of the wood I'm working. There's really no hard-and-fast rule. Hardwood may simply require a lighter cut due to how hard it is to push. But softwood is also more likely to tear out or splinter huge chunks. Figured wood may tear-out no matter what you do.
Knots can be a problem, but just make sure your blade is good and sharp and concentrate your efforts in a sort of circular motion right around the knot. Go at it from whatever direction seems to leave the least tearout, and just hope that you don't pop the whole thing out.
I have used various modified planes as scrubs (wooden fore/jack, modified #4, modified wooden smoother, etc.), and since I got a real scrub (vintage Stanley #40), I won't go back. It's narrow, toted and built just for that job.
FWIW, I only use my scrub for the final thicknessing step. To remove machining marks or flatten a board I use my foreplane or my low-angle jack with a toothing iron in it (or a combination of the two), followed by a smoother. Once I get one side flat and smooth, I mark the thickness from the good side using my rolling wheel gage. This does two things; obviously it gives the the reference mark, but it also severs the wood fibers at that point, which helps prevent tearout at the end of your scrubbing stroke.
After marking for thickness, I usually come back with a block plane and plane a bevel on all four sides of the board (do the endgrain first) just shy of the scribe line. This takes a bit longer, but it gives me a clearly-visible reference point to aim for when I'm scrubbing (it's easy to overshoot when you're removing "shavings" that are 1/8" or thicker, DAMHIKT). It also makes sure that there's no chance of tearout at the end of a stroke as long as I don't go below the scribe mark.
Scrubbing is actually quite a bit of fun once you get the technique down. And you get to use a rake to clean your shop floor when you're done (tmBobZ).
Chuck Vance
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Mike, the book "seven essentials of woodworking" (Amazon http://tinyurl.com/3ayuw ) contains very good explanations on the usage of a scrub plane. It's the only book I known which tackles that subject.
==============Jim WoodWorker to be

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Wow! Thanks for all the responses. Tons of great information from everyone. I really appreciate it. I especially liked the tip on using your block plane on the edges to help with tearout and as a visual cue.
After reading all your posts, I definitely think the tote was the way to go for my scrub as it really is handy to use when I'm lifting and it sounds like you use it that way in the sweeping motion described -- not to mention on grain changes.
Also, as for whether I should get the jack toted or not, after talking it over some with Steve I think I'll go with the tote as there's more clearance (the plane itself is longer) and plenty of room for the strikeplate on the rear.
Thanks everyone, Mike
PS. As for whether I was using it at a 45deg angle to the board I wasn't -- I don't have a true bench yet and can't put that direction of force on the board (I can only go in the direction of the wood as it has to butt up against a stop block I clamp to my work table). Plus I was wanting to use it as an experiment to actually leave the top of my end table (well there's a center panel actually) with the grooves the plane leaves behind as kind of a "feature". Just for fun. It's a rustic look anyway, and I thought it would add to the character of the piece.
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Mike in Idaho wrote:

If you want any easy planing bench, and a "rustic" look, try making a roman bench with stops. A bord, 4 angled legs, mortised in, a couple of mortised bench dogs. fast and easy, NOT fancy. Dave in Fairfax
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Oops, I didn't make that too clear. I'm building a rustic end table for my wife's brother & sister-in-law. My workbench will be the Frank Klausz variety -- nothing rustic (unless you consider a workbench rustic ;)
Mike
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Mike in Idaho wrote:

Sorry , my bad, I thought that needed a fsat bench to plane on. Dave in Fairfax
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Technique is as important as a sharp blade in planing. You don't usually take shavings with a scrub plane, you take chips. If you can take shavings, you are at the stage where you should switch to a jack plane.
A scrub plane is used only to get teh rough sawn fuzz off the board, and get it sort of kind like level. You do that, the jack has an easier time of it.
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I would tend to disagree. Yes, a scrub will take the rough fuzz off a board, but it will also make quick work of reducing the overall thickness. Now, if you are going to use a planer for that task, then the scrub keeps you from putting the dirt/stones embedded in the fuzzy layer through your power tool. But the scrub can BE the thicknessing tool. Having used a real scrub, I would never switch to a jack until I was close enough to finshed thickness that I would worry about overshooting with the scrub. Of course, I always consider resawing before I consider scrubbing. Less work and you often get another useable piece of wood. Scrub chips are just the next stage up from shavings in the kindling hierarchy. ;-)
Cheers, Eric
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (DarylRos) wrote in message

I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying, if you *want* or *need* to take only shavings not chips, you should switch to the jack?

I never use my scrub for removing the fuzz. I used to use a jack or fore, but nowadays it's just my low-angle jack with a toothing iron in it. If there's grit in the surface, the toothing iron is the one that is least likely to be damaged by it. And set for a fairly deep cut, it removes the fuzz very quickly. It's also easy to see when you've covered the board completely, as you get a uniform "crosshatching" on the board's surface.
My scrub is used when reducing the thickness of a board. The usual sequence is start with the toothing iron worked at about 45 degrees across the grain from both edges of the board. I then use my foreplane or smoother to remove the little serrations left by the toothed iron. (One added advantage of this is that the toothed iron doesn't tearout.)
Once it's flat, I scribe the desired thickness from that face, flip the board and bevel all four sides of the board down to just shy of the scribe marks. Take my scrub and go at roughly a 45 degree angle across the board. Reverse direction and cut across in the opposite direction. Stop just short of the bevels.
Then take a fore (or jack if you prefer) and knock off the ridges left by the scrub. Finish up with a smoother.
Chuck Vance
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