Planes versus power tools (attn: Trent)

This afternoon there was a comment by Trent in a thread about planes. He said that he rarely needs one because some combination of power tools could solve most any problem. I don't deny this . . . . but . . . . .
I'm building two small sleighs for decorations. My wife had one but it was damage and she asked me to make a new one. Of course, I'm making it from thicker material (1/4" plywood) and I used the old parts as templates. I assembled the "base" that consists of a flat platform and the runners. Next was to assemble the top portion, two sides and a front and back panels. Easy. Done.
Now you sit the top section over the platform. Well, you do if you allowed for the thicker material on the panels, otherwise you just say some nasty words.
OK, how to fix. Router? No way! Too big and awkward for this job. Tablesaw? Two passes would do in but not with the runners securely in place. Bandsaw? Maybe the back, but not the sides. I could disassemble the glued up runners and use either saw. Total time would be about 30 minutes. Things never look quite perfect one taken apart and re-glued either.
I could disassemble the top and cut new end pieces. Total time 30 to 40 minutes.
Or, I could simply plane the sides and back. Total time was about 10 minutes. Very satisfying in the end. Just something about making them curly shavings.
While power tools can solve many problems, they are not always the "best" solution or the fastest. I guess it just proves the old adage of "the right tool for the job" I'm sure I'll always have a couple of planes in my tool box. -- Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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I just finished a set of bookshelves that sit on my wife's computer desk. The computer desk is cheap office store furniture that is made of mdf and a plastic antique pine laminate. I managed to exactly match the color on the solid pine shelves I made, but that's another story. The point is, sandpaper never touched this project. The only power tools were the tablesaw to cut the basic shapes, and a router to cut the joinery. The boards were thicknessed, flattened, jointed, and smoothed with a scrub, a #4, #4 1/2, #5 1/2 and #7. The joinery was fitted with a shoulder plane and a #65 1/2 rabbet block plane. Edges were softened with a #65 1/2 adjustable mouth block set for a very fine cut. I sprayed a waterbase finish, so I used synthetic sanding pads rather than steel wool between coats, but that was the only abrasive to touch this project. Abrasives never touched bare wood. The resulting clarity of the wood grain made it well worth the extra effort, and the quiet relative to the power tools I skipped (jointer and planer) was wonderful.
Cheers, Eric
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>that he rarely needs one because some combination of power tools could solve >most any problem. I don't deny this . . . . but . . . . .
Edwin,
Couldn't agree with you more. I, for one, was inspired to start woodworking by watching Norm for years. You quickly find out that a blade spinning at 3000 rpm or a bit turning at 10,000 rpm (I'm guessing at these speeds) lacks the delicate touch that some things need.
I think the thing that turns most people away from planes and scrapers is the tuning required. Having used a plane that was well tuned (by somebody who knew what they were doing, not me), I can tell you it's quite a different experience that using the Buck Brothers plane you just bought from Home Depot right out of the box. DAMHIKT!
Jo
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On 7 Nov 2003 03:19:59 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (John) wrote:

>that he rarely needs one because some combination of power tools could solve >most any problem. I don't deny this . . . . but . . . . .

I just got done stripping a bunch of cabinet doors, John. I used my RotoMate. A couple of the doors had some pencil notes on them...under the paint...as we sometimes do.
I was able to feather the paint removal...so that I didn't even take the pencil scribbling off. After I read the notes...including the 'Joe loves Sandy'..with a heart, no 'loves' lol...I made another pass and removed the pencil.
BUT...
I did it outside...to avoid the inside mess. And the tool is noisy. A plane is MUCH better for avoiding mess and noise.
My RotoMate is not the tool for EVERY job...nor is the plane. I haven't used my plane in probably a couple of years or longer. But I wouldn't want to give it up...for old times sake, if nothing else. lol
BTW...the RotoMate spins at 30,000 rpm. It goes so fast that you can actually see thru the sanding head...so you can see exactly what material yer takin' off. Quite a nice tool.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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wrote:

Onther example is the surface. Power tools can quickly surface and size a board. Only a plane or scraper can leave a bell-clear surface to finish.
The difference between a hand planed or scraped surface and a sanded surface is huge.
Barry
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B a r r y B u r k e J r . wrote:

That's a fact! Now that I have a taste for the glassy look, I expect my belt sander will only be used to re-grind my plane irons from now on. :)
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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wrote:

I can't imagine working without having a block plane always to hand. Mine is used _constantly_; a tiny chamfer on the end of a tenon, a quick swipe to remove cutter marks. No wonder Lee Valley sell one as an "apron plane"
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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andy, do you use a shoulder plane for cleaning up shoulders? does anything else work nearly as elegantly?
dave
Andy Dingley wrote:

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wrote:

Nice post, Ed.
First...to address how I would do it...
I'd use my RotoMate. I could probably do the same job in 1 minute...2, max.
But I think what I get from your post is the PRIDE in doing it with a plane. Actually, in my way of thinking, there's more pride just in doing it by HAND...with the plane...rather than using a power RotoMate.
I guess that's what I was kinda trying to convey to Dave when he asked about planes...to give him just MY OPINION about top-of-the-line vs. inexpensive. They really CAN both do the job...as I'm sure we both know. And there's kinda a hidden pride when doing it with NOT the most expensive tool out there.
I read Charlie's post, Ed...and I read Conan's. I must say...Charlie's was much more cordial to read! lol There is no doubt that either of them have more experience with a plane that I do. I would hope Dave...or anybody...would take that into account when reading all the various posts.
And...to be quite honest...the only thing I ever used a plane for was for removal. But I think there's a lot of folks that only use it for that purpose also.
I think I've been pounded pretty far into the ground enough for this week. I'm gonna go git some coffee now! lol
Have a nice weekend, Ed...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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I too have a plethora of power tools and enjoy using the non-powered tools. I like the silence in the "shop" [basement]. And I also like a well tuned hand tool, it makes the entire job easier.
Jack
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

snip
To date I've not made a drawer opening with four perfectly square corners and I like flush mount drawer faces and dovetails, half blinds on the front, through dovetails on the back - with wooden drawer guides. I don't see how a power tool could get the fit I want - belt sanders make changes WAY to quickly. But with a block plane and a minute or two I get the fit I want - without ear plugs, dangling power cord, dust all over hell and subsequent hand sanding to get the 80 grit scratches out. And chamfering the edges of the drawer sides and taking just a little out of the middle of the top of the back of the drawer is easy using the same tool.
Now it you prefer routed lock joint drawers with metal drawer glides
--
BTW - curlies out of a block plane don't float around in the air for
hours and don't get in your finish later.
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