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Thomas Coleman

fingerboard dressing plane, round or flat?

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Hello all.  I was wondering if you could spare a moment and tell me about your fingerboard dressing plane.  What model of plane do you use?  Is it flat bottomed or arched on the long axis?  As always, thanks for any time you care to give my question.

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I use a Lie-Nielson No 102

 

https://www.lie-nielsen.com/product/block-planes/small-block-planes?node=4072

 

It's the same size as the Stanley 102, which I used for years, but it's a bit more elegant.  The Lie-Nielson's blade adjustment screw is a nice improvement over the Stanley.  You definitely want a flat-soled plane for planing fingerboards.

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I used to use my Record 51-1/2 low angle block plane, but it tended to tear out unless the mouth opening was set really small. One day I decided to try my LN scraper plane and discovered it did a marvelous job of resurfacing with absolutely no tear out.

 

The only thing I don't like is the brass body; it leaves brass colored streaks on the wood. If I could do it again, I would get a cast Iron body.

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I use an old Stanley adjustable throat block plane with a Hock blade, the length of the sole of which I arched "very slightly" (I mean, very slightly, maybe .5 mm over the length) after locking the throat in place where I wanted it.  Have done for more than 30 years. I can plane a (even kinda stinky) board very quickly and very accurately with it....  and can easily go straight from plane to block and paper... so different strokes for different folks, I guess (excuse the pun).  

 

Anyone who hasn't ever seen one, or believes that a flat soled plane is the only way to go is welcome to visit.   :)

 

My experience indicates the smaller 102 type planes can work quite well also (I've experimented), but I'm quite used to the one I use so I stick with it.

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I think there might be a case of 'this is what I was taught and I'm not going to budge', relating to the flat soled planes.that and the fact that changing the shape of the sole of a plane is not the quickest task. You obviously thought at some point it might be worth the effort, and its good to know you still do, Geoffrey!

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Hello all.  I was wondering if you could spare a moment and tell me about your fingerboard dressing plane.  What model of plane do you use?  Is it flat bottomed or arched on the long axis?  As always, thanks for any time you care to give my question.

I have two planes. One that is dead flat and another old Stanley that has worn and warped slightly over the years. Between the two of them I can get the board the way I want it. So I guess I'm in Jeff's camp. The plane doesn't have to be absolutely flat but if the longitudinal curve is excessive you'll automatically create too much scoop in the board even with the bare minimum amount of blade.

 

Bruce

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I use Japanese scraper planes, flat bottom with wood bodies, the larger one i use on cello and bass fingerboards or to remove larger amounts of wood, the smaller one is for finish surface prior to sandpaper used with a stiff block.

 

larger plane is 170mm x 60mm with a 45mm blade

small is `100mm x 30mm with a 23mm wide blade

 

when the smaller is adjusted just right the camber is right when it stops cutting, then ready for final sandpaper and polishing. i use a leather backed block of wood for sanding block, 150mm long, this cuts the planing marks without following the differences in grain density and planeing chatter 

 

reese

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Do you find the scraper planes chatter when cutting ebony? The one I have has a very thick blade that sings as it cuts; I've never experienced chatter.

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I use Record 9 1/2 plane (with Samurai blade).

 

Bottom sole is slightly round.

 

From the throat to the front about 0.5 mm ,from throat to the back about 0.8 mm.if you check with a straight edge.

 

KY

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When I was in school I was taught to use a 102 flat sole. I would angle the plane if I wanted more scoop. I haven't used that method for quite some time now since I abodoned that and went to a curved bottom plane when I left school and started working. The moral of the story I think is that different things will work. I'm happy with the results of my curved bottom plane for now so I see no reason to change.

Also, I have a very steep bevel on my blade. About 45 degrees. Works well with ebony and squirrelly wood. And I set the mouth opening very small. It's a Veritas block plane and I have others of the same that are flat soled. I use these planes for everything so I don't have to go to a different feeling plane for finger boards or bridges or whatever.

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I am also one who uses a slightly rounded plane for fingerboards. Much easier than a flat plane, in my opinion, but a flat plane will work too, so it's probably not worth the bother to make a rounded plane if you don't do a lot of fingerboards.

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I tried one of these:

post-25192-0-73325300-1425084409_thumb.jpg

 

Not knowing any better, it seemed OK for removing very thin shavings.  Definitely not for roughing down a fat blank, and sharpening could be an issue.

 

My skill with a flat (or even slightly curved) plane leaves a lot to be desired, so I made a fixture to turn the radius of a raw fingerboard on my lathe.  I can scrape and sand the scoop in later.

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...You definitely want a flat-soled plane for planing fingerboards.

 

I was wrong when I said this because I mis-understood the original question.  I thought the question was if a transversely arched (concave) plane would be good for planing a fingerboard.  I don't think it would be.  But the question was about a plane "arched on the long axis."  As Jeffrey, Bruce, Matthew, chungviolins and David have all said, this type of plane could be used as long as it is not too arched.

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I'm trying hard to visualize how the plane would be arched. Would the sole and blade be made concave to follow the radius of the fingerboard?

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I'm trying hard to visualize how the plane would be arched. Would the sole and blade be made concave to follow the radius of the fingerboard?

yes and sharpening would be a challenge for me for sure. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Herdim-Fingerboard-Plane-Vn-Va/dp/B00L42LHCI

I am also one who uses a slightly rounded plane for fingerboards. Much easier than a flat plane, in my opinion, but a flat plane will work too, so it's probably not worth the bother to make a rounded plane if you don't do a lot of fingerboards.

that makes a lot of sense 

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I'm trying hard to visualize how the plane would be arched. Would the sole and blade be made concave to follow the radius of the fingerboard?

 

I believe that when people do radius the plane that both the blade and the width of the sole of the plane remain flat.  Are you familiar with a compass plane? If you google image compass plane you should get the jist of what the idea is but on a much smaller scale.  I think that the idea is a slightly arched sole makes it easier to scoop the fingerboard to accomodate the vibrating string. In regards to my original question,  I get the idea of the arching but wanted to hear opinions of people who don't arch their plane sole and whether or not they're able to accomplish the same thing with a flat soled plane.

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I'm trying hard to visualize how the plane would be arched. Would the sole and blade be made concave to follow the radius of the fingerboard?

 

The original question was about a plane whose bed would be convex lengthwise in order to plane the fingerboard concave lengthwise.  Then, in post #15, Don Noon changed the subject slightly by showing a picture of a plane whose bed and blade are concave crosswise.

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I'm trying hard to visualize how the plane would be arched. Would the sole and blade be made concave to follow the radius of the fingerboard?

I think most of us who use these planes are talking about making the bottom of the plane slightly convex from end to end, to make it a better fit to the concave scoop of the fingerboard.

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You cannot plane concave surface with a flat bottomed plane.

 

Even my regular plane is slightly rounded too.

If you get your sole perfectly adjusted,planing becomes so much fun,easy and fast.

 

KY 

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You cannot plane concave surface with a flat bottomed plane...

 

Not true.  I plane fingerboards concave lengthwise regularly with a flat-bottomed plane.

 

This is possible because a plane bottom really isn't flat. The sole might be flat, but in order to cut, the blade has to stick out. That makes the bottom of the plane, as defined by the ends of the sole and the cutting edge of the blade, effectively slightly round, so it naturally cuts slightly hollow.  As long as the plane is not run to the ends of the surface being planed, it will remove wood from the middle, but not from the ends, of that surface, making it concave.  The amount of concavity possible depends on the amount the blade projects out of the sole of the plane and the length of the sole.  More blade projection and a shorter sole wil permit more concavity.  The length of the sole can be effectively shortened by turning the plane askew to the direction the plane is moved in.

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Not true.  I plane fingerboards concave lengthwise regularly with a flat-bottomed plane.

 

This is possible because a plane bottom really isn't flat. The sole might be flat, but in order to cut, the blade has to stick out. That makes the bottom of the plane, as defined by the ends of the sole and the cutting edge of the blade, effectively slightly round, so it naturally cuts slightly hollow.  As long as the plane is not run to the ends of the surface being planed, it will remove wood from the middle, but not from the ends, of that surface, making it concave.  The amount of concavity possible depends on the amount the blade projects out of the sole of the plane and the length of the sole.  More blade projection and a shorter sole wil permit more concavity.  The length of the sole can be effectively shortened by turning the plane askew to the direction the plane is moved in.

indeed.

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