Smoothing planes and card scrapers

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I'm getting ready to make several largish projects in hickory and hard maple and I'm not looking forward to sanding. I've heard that you can replace sanding with a smoothing plane and scrapers. My goal is to remove marks from the jointer and planer, then hvlp spray a tung oil/poly mixture several layers deep.
I was thinking about picking up a smoothing plane from grizzly. There are several in the $30 range, although I'm not sure which one to get. My gut is telling me the biggest one since it's a large project. Does anyone have the pros/cons for this plane compared to the veritas/lieneilsen type expensive stuff?
How do you decide on the blade depth of cut? I'm worried about taking too much off in one pass and unflattening the board I'm trying to finish.
As far as the scrapers go, anything special I should look for? I was planning on getting one of the sets I saw on leevalley (iirc) that had several scrapers with the burnisher, file, and other stuff.
Should I give up and just sand? I'll be able to use a DA sander when the big compressor gets here.
thanks.
brian
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True for the most part.

Pros: Cheaper Cons: Cheaper Seriously, you get what you pay for. But that doesn't mean the Griz won't work--I have an old Stanley Blue Handyman plane that is just fine with some flattening, rounding of corners, etc. You'll see a lot about "tuning" a plane. And the Griz will need lots more of that than a LV or LN, and may not be worth the effort. But IMHO, some of the tuning talk is over-rated--gettting a REALLY sharp iron is far more important than all of the other tuning steps combined.

As fine as possible. Get a little scrap of wood to pass back and forth across the mouth of the plane as you advance the iron until the blade first begins to take the thinnest sliver off of the test piece. I use a little 2x2x3" long piece of cherry that I shave the corner off of as I set the planes. <snip>

Yes. I'm a big fan of planing and scraping, and of not breathing sanding dust. But a finished project of moderately expensive wood is not a place to try out new techniques, and if you screw up the planing, you will have to do a LOT of sanding to correct your mistakes. Stick to what you know here, and get a decent plane when funds are available, and practice on some scrap hardwood. Once you get to where you see the difference between the clarity of your planed surface and a sanded one, you will know you are ready to plane a project.
BTW, while planing versus sanding can make a big difference in how a surface looks when raw, I'm not convinced there is much difference under a film finish -- I pane and scrape a surface I plan to shellac mainly because I like the process so much more.
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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ok, so you're advocating waiting and getting the good stuff. I'm ok with that. I ordered the scraper set from leevalley. I figure I'll experiment with that.

I have a tormek. :-)

I was planning an experimental project up front. Something small. My wife had requested those bear ear isoloc thingies from leigh. She also wants me to try one of the inlay techniques they show on their website. So I figured I would try the scraping/planing angle on this one as well. I think I've decided on a bathroom over-the-toilet cabinet type thing. It's a good place to hide a misfit project. :-)
brian
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Snipped a bit. At the risk of being called a tool snob - OK call me one, I really am one - If the choice is a cheap smooth plane or sanding, stick to sanding.
I own some very nice planes from LN, Veritas and Steve Knight. In order to make them function properly, you do need to tune them. The cheap planes with their cheap irons will not get as sharp or stay sharp long, especially with Hickory.
The difference is time and energy. A cheap, sharp plane will indeed plane for a few minutes, that's right a few minutes. This is under the assumption your intention is to get a ready for finish surface and not just hogging down and edge.
Learning how to pull a hook on a card scrapper is to me, a very important endeavor. After you master this simplest of tools, it will no doubt be the most used tool on your bench.
Dave
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I've decided to go with one of the expensive ones. I haven't decided when to get it though. or which one. Maybe woodcraft will have a sale.
I ordered a card scraper set from lee valley with this gadget that's supposed to help get the right angle and burr.
brian
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Not if you replace the cheap blade.
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x-no-archive:yes
Not to change the topic, but does using a spray gun to stain instead of hand staining produce a better result? brianlanning wrote:

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I believe so. I haven't tried it yet. I know that it will avoid brush marks. In theory you can get self-leveling finishes that make the brush marks go away. But I haven't had much luck with that. Spraying should go a lot faster also.
brian
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Ok, tell me you do not apply stain with a brush.
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I painted my first two projects. Then I stained and polied my second one. Then I've made three or four major shop projects For the one I stained, I used a gel stain with an old shirt. In the future, I'll probably avoid stains altogether. I don't really care for them. I'm mainly interested in various colored clear finishes like shelac or varnish or poly. I admit that finishing is my weak spot though. I know nothing about it.
Looking back at his post, I see that he said stain. I sort of read finishing in general.
brian
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I gotcha now. Naturally the clear finishes revile the woods natural beauty.
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On Thu, 23 Feb 2006 23:26:21 GMT, "Leon"

Of course, you mean reveal. Back on topic - scrapers are amazing for such a simple tool, and LV's scraper plane works very well and is easy to adjust for the lightest of cuts.
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wrote:

Yes.. My spell checker and I seldom agree.
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wrote:

Only the ones Norm uses
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LOL.
OK OK OK,, I do not always proof read may spell checkers changes. LOL.
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Yes you can however sanding is easy to learn. The smoother plane will leave a crystal clear surface prociding you use a good and sharp plane.

You should look in to one of Steve Knights planes. Reasonabley priced for a high quality plane.

You want to cut just deep enough that you actually cut wood, no deeper. IMHO the plane should remove thin fluffy shavings almost effortlessly.
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Leon wrote:

I find lots of folks that go with this theory. I guess I'm a bit of a maverick, but really get down to business at first. I'm lucky enough that I don't have health problems and a not-insignificant amount of upper body strength, so when I hog off the high spots, I _really_ hog off the high spots. Just today, I was pushing my bench across the floor of the shop. My iron was dull, but I was gonna finish with that #5 before I sharpened it, dammit. The #7 whispered off (most of) the plane marks in just a few passes.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'd rather make 20 heavy passes than 100 light ones. YM, of course, MV.
-Phil Crow
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I'm too skerd to do that deep of a cut.
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wrote:

Maple? Stick with sanding. Good quality, good range of grits, and maybe a usable quality 1/4 sheet sander.
Smoothing planes cost more than $30 if they're to be usable. Maple isn't the timber to learn on either.
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Using a plane is an art, and not learned on one project. Card scrapers work well and are a lot easier to use and sharpen. I cheat now, I found a painting company near by that has one of those big (52 inch wide double oscilating head) sanders. I took a 84 by 40 by 2 inch thick hickory table top to them to sand. Their rate is $140 per hour, and it took them 15 minutes. It would have taked me all day to have done that. Some cabinet shops have them, or would know where one is. All you are left with is touch up work. robo hippy
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