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Minimum size plane for making centre joints


lslo
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Hello,

I’m a newcomer to this forum, currently muddling my way through building my first violin, with the Johnson & Courtnall book as my reference and guide. 

I’m seeking the opinion and advice of experienced members here regarding the choice of plane for making the front and back centre joints. I currently have a smaller plane available to me - a Veritas small bevel-up smooth plane. Thus far, I’ve struggled to achieve a perfect flat joint. I’ve read that many if not most people use at least a jack plane or larger for making this joint. So I am considering obtaining a larger plane. However, before I take on the additional expense, I was wondering whether the fault may simply be with my technique, or whether the small bevel-up smooth plane (9”) is just too small for this job. 

Does anyone have experience using a smaller size plane for making the centre joints? Can it work with the right technique?

Thanks for any input.

Lawrence

 

 

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I certainly had trouble with my first attempts.  I developed an unhealthy interest in old planes and other tools.  One that I bought, an Oz clone of a Stanley 6, is brilliant for centre joints.  I hold the two halves in a vice and a few passes gives me a really great joint.  Of course, as said above,  the blade needs to be bloody sharp.

I think the lesson is a well set up plane with a very sharp blade.  You do not need to spend a squillion dollars on the plane - unless you really want to and SWMBO/HWMBO doesn't find out.

Good luck.

Tim

 

 

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Your Veritas number 4 bevel-up should be ideal for the job. Many old Stanleys, especially the longer variety, are not flat. If you want to spend some money purchase a Veritas straight edge to check the flatness of the cuts you make on each edge. Set the plane to take a fine shaving and use short strokes to correct any obvious cupping or bowing and then take one positive long stroke. Check for flatness with the straight edge. If it is still not flat repeat the process until it is.

 

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It's important to keep in mind your ultimate goal: flat, straight, and square and a perfect joint.

With the goal in mind any number of planes can work. I use a jack plane and a block plane. The combination of both make the job easier, but I could do it using either one. I've even used a scraper to help the job along. Aside from the planes, an accurate square and straight edge are essential. I find that a dark room and a well directed bright light is much more useful than chalk, but in the end, whatever gets you the best results.

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20 hours ago, lslo said:

 I was wondering whether the fault may simply be with my technique, or whether the small bevel-up smooth plane (9”) is just too small for this job. 

Does anyone have experience using a smaller size plane for making the centre joints? Can it work with the right technique?

Thanks for any input.

Lawrence

It's your technique to be improved, I use a tuned up 9 1/2 Stanley block plane also for cello.

For the initial setting where there is a lot of planing I use the big Stanley n°7 jack plane, for the last steps to make the real joint I use only the 9 1/2 block plane.

You need a very very sharp blade with straight cutting edge and a perfectly flat sole, absolutely not concave. Set the movable part in front of the blade to a very fine fissure.

I suggest to use a special blade for jointing only and to preserve this blade from others work. I use a Samurai laminated steel Japanese blade, works well.

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You actually did not have to admit that. 

Anyway, OP, yes, it is possible. My husband uses a #4, even for cello joints. I swear it. And his joints are much, much better than Nick's jointer does. I should probably have evidence for such a claim. It's true though. 

He reports that using a small bench plane is a huge pita, and obviously the bigger the better. Still, it's possible, which was your question. He keeps it very sharp to say the least. That said, I'm always wanting to buy him a Lie Nielsen #8 because when he tried one it was more thrilling to him than anything else I could possibly buy or give him. But it's spendy. As everyone knows. If he's not buying himself one, I figured he can continue to do without it for awhile. He is getting the same result with what he has. It takes me a sad amount of time to save $700 for a hand tool..somehow other stuff always comes up.

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37 minutes ago, not telling said:

You actually did not have to admit that. 

Anyway, OP, yes, it is possible. My husband uses a #4, even for cello joints. I swear it. And his joints are much, much better than Nick's jointer does. I should probably have evidence for such a claim. It's true though. 

He reports that using a small bench plane is a huge pita, and obviously the bigger the better. Still, it's possible, which was your question. He keeps it very sharp to say the least. That said, I'm always wanting to buy him a Lie Nielsen #8 because when he tried one it was more thrilling to him than anything else I could possibly buy or give him. But it's spendy. As everyone knows. If he's not buying himself one, I figured he can continue to do without it for awhile. He is getting the same result with what he has. It takes me a sad amount of time to save $700 for a hand tool..somehow other stuff always comes up.

Think of it as an investment, rather than an expense. When he kicks the bucket, you can probably get close to what you paid for it. ;)

And in the meantime, it will save him time, making him more profitable. :)

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Hi

Clifton 3 works for me for violins. As mentionned above, a good plane and a sharp blade for fine shavings is a must (you can do a rough planing, and then sharpen prior to the final planing run).

Adjust the blade so that it is parallel to the sole. By running a piece of rib on each extremities of the blade and slowly advancing the blade, you will see if one side is eating more than the other, which is a sign the blade is not parallel to the sole. I have a procedure where I offset the blade on one side, slowly advance the blade and each time slowly push the lever to re-align the blade away from the extremity which starts eating the wood, until both extremities of the blade start eating the same quantity of wood.

When you run the plane, make sure also that the plates do not twist as you move the plane. I personally use a setup where one end of the plate is in the vice, and the other end is planed on the back edge and the back edge is supported by a flat block (some extra-fine shim may be needed between the plate back edge and the block support). If both ends of the plate do not move while planning, you have better chances !

Check squareness between the joint surface and the plate board only now and then  : this will save you time later on when you will have to flatten the jointed board (and not loose too much plate height in the process).

Whether you leave a gap or not in the joint (see other threads on the subject), if both ends of the joint perfectly match at the end without a hair gap in-between, you know you are where you need.

I hope this can help you .

Good luck, and patience,

Sug

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On 12/13/2017 at 2:21 PM, lslo said:

1.  I’m seeking the opinion and advice of experienced members here regarding the choice of plane for making the front and back centre joints.

2.  I currently have a smaller plane available to me - a Veritas small bevel-up smooth plane. Thus far, I’ve struggled to achieve a perfect flat joint.

3.  I’ve read that many if not most people use at least a jack plane or larger for making this joint. So I am considering obtaining a larger plane.

4.  However, before I take on the additional expense, I was wondering whether the fault may simply be with my technique, or whether the small bevel-up smooth plane (9”) is just too small for this job. 

5.  Does anyone have experience using a smaller size plane for making the centre joints? Can it work with the right technique?

 

1.  I'm not a member here but I do have an opinion for plane choice.  A #4 smoother or a #5 jack set up as a smoother will be good enough.

2.  I noticed the Veritas doesn't have a chip breaker - that may be what causing the problem.  Not enough rigidity/stiffness at the blade edge, imo. 

3.  A #5 will work, a #6 fore can be forgot about for the time being and #7 and #8 are more than enough for violin work.

4.  I bet it's the plane and just possibly a little inexperience on your behalf coming into play.   Don't worry much, you'll learn.

5.  My personal choices were an old Lakeside #4 smoother and a #5 Groz for center joint work.   Let's say you find a #4 laying around somewhere cheap or free.  On a real flat surface using emory cloth or a few pieces of sandpaper flatten the sole of the plane.  

  Retract the blade carefully.   After grime/dirt are removed from the underneath [sole] draw a magic marker line across the toe, both side of the mouth and across the heel. Don't worry about the rest - those four contact areas have to be in plane with one another.  If you're absolutely bored you can take the time to flatten the entire sole but do check squareness in relation to the sides while doing.  Complete flatness can lead to better plane work down the road - the decision is yours. 

  Bench planes use a 25 or 30 degree cutting angle.  Shops like Woodcraft sell a plane blade holder so that a correct angle can be had for grinding/sharpening/polishing.  After that, there's the squaring up of chipbreakers and adjustment to the frog and blade edge.  Here's a tip - set the chip breaker edge to the polished back side of the blade as close as you can stand to - about 1/64th will do it.  Adjust blade depth for cutting by sighting down the sole to just barely see the blade petruding, if even that far.  Save the Veritas for a rainy day.  You'll find use for it eventually..

Draw squiggly pencil lines on your wood and plane away carefully.

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3 hours ago, not telling said:

What a terrible...y pragmatic thing to say. Hmmmm. 

I"d been thinking you were at least semi-pragmatic. Did I get that wrong?

2 hours ago, uncle duke said:

1.  I'm not a member here but I do have an opinion for plane choice.  A #4 smoother or a #5 jack set up as a smoother will be good enough.

 

After about 40 years of futzing around, I finally broke down and spent the big bucks on a Lie Nielson #7. It worked better, right out of the box, than any of my other highly massaged and blueprinted planes.

I can't take credit for this "discovery", it was Joe Grubaugh who turned me on to this.

My highly corrected Bailey #7 still works quite well but it is no longer my first choice plane for anything requiring the utmost in precision. The Lie Nielson has some room for improvement too (mostly in regards to rigidity of the sole, end-to-end), but it is the best I have run across so far.

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