# Planing a door.

If I am going to plane the bottom and sides of a door to fit a frame,
can I get away with using my current "smoothing" #4 plane, or should I
invest in a #5?
Mark.
A cheap electric plane is much faster, but make sure you back-up the "exit edge" when working on the bottom or the grain may split (alternatively work towards the centre).
Dave
There must be a technique, when planing the top or bottom of a door, for removing the same amount from the side members (across the grain) as from the top or bottom components (with the grain), but I haven't discovered it.
Gave up years ago and now use an electric planer for that job (and most others). When planing the top or bottom start the cut off at each side of the door and finish somewhere in the middle or else you'll spall off the wood on the surface of the side pieces.
Sorry about the lack of knowledge of the technical terms for the components of a door, I'm sure you will follow what I mean.
I've never understood how to plane to the center - surley you are going to end up either missing bits, or planing the same bit twice?
Mark.
Agreed that it's not the best way, but draw a line first and just plane down to it. ... and don't call me Shirley ;-)
Dave
In an earlier contribution to this discussion,
The longer the better. A No.4 is just about ok, but longer is better.
You'll struggle with a hand plane on the end-grain at the top and bottom - a power planer is far better. But a hand plane gives better control on the vertical edges.
In an earlier contribution to this discussion,
You need to 'feather' it - by lifting the plane slightly as you approach the overlap area in the middle. Or, having seen off the end grain with a power plane, you're probably better off doing the centre section with a hand plane.
In article , snipped-for-privacy@totalise.co.uk writes:
That might not work well with an electric plane as you need to switch direction so the timber is planed in both directions roughly an equal number of times. This is to prevent microscopic error in the parallelism of the rotor axis and sole plate accumulating and creating a bevel. Planing into the centre means timber (at any one point) is always planed in same direction. You should use scrap pieces against the exit edges (both of them).
For top and bottom of a door, I just use a circular saw and a clamped batten. You can take of fractions of a saw kerf this way if you want and don't get any of the splintering problems. I then just use a powered plane for taking sharp corners off, and shooting in the sides if required. (although I often find wedging the frame a better way to fix uneven gaps)
I use an electric plane for this purpose but I've never understood what all the different types of hand plane are. What is a #5, #4, etc?
TIA
plane the bottom and sides of a door to fit a frame,
The top and bottom parts of the door (the horizontal elements) are the rails. The side parts (vertical) are called stiles. The central vertical dividing parts are called muntins, but you'll not be bothering them with your plane.
Edward
The numbers refer to the old Stanley model numbers. The No.4 is 2.5" wide and No.5 is 3" wide (and 9.5" and 10.5" long respectively). They're known as smoothing planes. No's 6, 7, 8 are longer versions of the No.5 (and known as jack, fore and jointing planes respectively - although my memory may be faulty on that).
The very long planes are really for edge jointing long boards where a long and very flat side is required. Most jobs can be done with a No. 4. It's weight is reasonable, and handle big enough to be comfortable. There are also No's 3, 2, 1 going down in size, but they're much less common (or useful).
I'd agree for trimming doors, circular saw and guide batten is the way to go - it's not a job that requires fraction of a mm precision. But nothing produces a beautiful wood surface like a hand plane - not saws, not thicknessers, not power planes. There's also lot's of spots where it's easier and produces better results to use a hand plane.
Hand planes can also do precise fitting (and shooting-in) that only a router can equal (though they can also do lots of other stuff) - and do it without all the set-up. The downside is of course the skill required both to sharpen and set up a hand plane well and to use it well. A hand plane will always be slower as well, but you can cross- plane can get wood off quickly.
I'm not saying hand tools are best, and there's a substantial learning curve to skilled hand plane usage - but in some jobs it still has no equal.

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