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
Thanks a million,
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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
WoodWorker to be
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
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.
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
reply-to doesn't work
daveldr at att dot net
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 ;)
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.
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. ;-)
email@example.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
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.
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