While I am an advocate of buying top quality tools, I would weigh the necessity and amount of use that a plane is going to get against the cost/quality. There are decent planes available that won't break the bank and still perform admirably. I would also tend to lean towards the brass model over steel because of the rust issue, which even when maintained and kept in a relatively moisture free environment steel will tend to rust.
Walt have you considered cabinet scrapers? They're easy to use, easy to maintain, and fairly inexpensive.
I currently use scrapers for most of this type of thing. The problem I have is the surface does not end up flat. The scrapers follow whatever contour there exists. I love scrapers as a means to get around sanding...but I would like to explore planing more.
Lately I have noticed that I am not impressed with the surfaces I have been getting using my approach of scraping and finish sanding. It is not awful...but not inspiring either. When I am able to pull off hand planing the surfaces are more to my liking. A planed surface seems to bounce light off in various directions...making for a more pleasant thing to look at. I typically shy away from planing by hand as tear out seems to happen to me all the time. I have attributed that to using a low angle jack plane...but I don't really know that. I lack the experience of using other types of planes. It just seems the low angle on my existing plane tends to "lift" the wood fibers sometimes...causing tear out. I have a little block plane...but the body of the plane is too small to really go after a large surface (I can't get my weight on it).
I read (and re-read about a million times now) an article in FWW on using a smoothing plane and it kind of inspired me to learn more. It seems like a lot of the problems I have are not unique...and if I take the time maybe I could better understand and utilize hand planes. There does seem to be a sizable up front cost to get a good plane and maybe a book or two on the finer points of getting it right. I don't want to build up a huge colleciton of planes (as I sometimes see folks do)....I just want to be able to get a nice surface when the surface is flat and in plain view to see.
A bit off topic here...has Goldhiller been around lately?
I don't see how you can get a finer surface with a hand planer than with a mechanical one with good finish sanding, but if this is something you want to explore, more power to you. :cool: With this explanation of your purpose, I'd go with the more expensive plane because it's probably got a better grade of tool steel, which will hone to a sharper edge and hold an edge better than the cheaper models. I'd also do as much research as I could to determine what brand is best for the price. I don't personally like hand planes, with the exception of taking down a door edge, even then I'd rather hit it with a belt sander. There are some instances where they are the preferred method, but I rarely get into those situations. :D
Goldie is in and out. He's been super busy lately, so he's more out than in and doesn't do much posting while he's here. Send him a PM and he'll come. :D
Here is my understanding (and don't call me out on this cause I am no expert). A plane shears the wood cell cleanly with little damage to the wood cells. Sanding rounds overs the cell edges and fills in the tiny voids around the wood cells. Even scraping tears the wood compared to planing. I would imagine this clean cut gives slightly better definition to the feature edges in the wood structure thus allowing for a cleaner section of the material. It is a small detail...no doubt. But it does bother me when I put in so much time into a piece and the surface looks....uhhh...uninspired. Maybe this is a waste of time and money...not sure at this stage.
Considering that you can buff a piece of wood to a polished shine with sandpaper, I really doubt that you'll get a better finish using a cutter rather than sanded, particularly a hand cutter such as a plane. All I can really see you doing to a large surface is filling it with gouges and warbles, not getting a baby butt smooth, ready for final finish surface. Even if it is possible, I would think that it would take you so long to master the technique to make it unhelpful. The patience that something like this would take would be phenomenal.
But hey, I'm not going to stop you from doing what makes you happy. If you've got a genuine interest in experimenting and working with hand planes, go for it. And considering that just a couple years ago you went from a novice to a guy who built his own spectacular kitchen - complete with hand made mini-blinds - I'm certain that you'll acheive what you set your mind to. :cool:
Ha!!!! You remember my blinds??!!! LOL! I wrestle with those things everyday. On occasion one of the copper rings connecting the slats will fail. I have learned that overlapping the ring ends works better then trying to butt solder the ends together. Everything makes sense in hind sight :)
I have also experimented with various cable diameters and coatings. If the cable is too thin it kinks too easy. If it is too thick it does not travel smoothly through the guides. By far...teflon is the best coating...albeit the most expensive. It has been a while since I have needed to do a repair...so I am probably due soon :D The ratchet heads for the spools have worked well...about the only thing that has not given me trouble.
I will have to put up a picture of our new front yard. The walk and retaining walls were finished last fall. This spring has consisted of installing plants (and I mean a LOT of plants. NO GRASS!!) Along the way I installed a path lighting system (using fixtures I made) and fixed up the 40 YO mailbox with a new post and a new paint job. The paint job ought to get a few laughs. You will see :eek:
Of course I remember the blinds! As I do the countertops with the chunks of glass and a bicycle sprocket and other trinkets embedded in it, the retaining wall, the swing set.
Now if I could only remember what I'm supposed to be doing ... :D:D
Sorry I have not visited in a while. I would like to say I was doing something with my time...but I don't really remember :rolleyes: I was surprised to see this thread still hanging around.
Anything new and exciting going on? Any of the old characters showing up in the TOH BB?
Most of the old timers are here, though a few we've not seen in a while, Goldie among them. Nothing particularly new or interesting happening on the forums or in my neck of the woods, how about you?