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Rimino

Essential VM Hand Planes

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Hello everyone.  Does anyone know what the essential hand planes are for violin making?  Thanks everyone.

 

 (is a no 4 smoother one of those or could it substitute for one of the essential vm planes?)

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I do fine with a jointer (not a handplane), a block plane (the workhorse, I use it for everything), a small block (LN 102) for fingerboards etc., Five radiused fingerplanes and two flat ones. 

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You don't need this many. I posted this photo once before on Maestronet, when I made it about five years ago. Since then I've sold off some underperformers. And it should be said that I'm a cabinet and furniture maker too. Nonetheless, to repeat, you don't need this many.

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1 hour ago, MarkBouquet clearsky said:

You don't need this many. I posted this photo once before on Maestronet, when I made it about five years ago. Since then I've sold off some underperformers. And it should be said that I'm a cabinet and furniture maker too. Nonetheless, to repeat, you don't need this many.

1

I always thought a finger plane sized rabbet might be useful.  Is that what the square(ish) black plane just to the left of the finger planes is?  I like your two scraper planes, who makes them?

Thanks,

Jim

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Jim, that's a spoon bottom carving plane made from hard anodized aluminum by Gary Condit, probably close to 40 years ago. It's designed to be held as shown, and pulled towards the user like a Japanese plane. It has a rather gaping mouth, which is a downside. Condit also made one with the blade positioned vertically for scraping. I remember seeing one in Boyd Poulsen's shop when he operated in San Mateo, CA, many years ago. He might've made some flat bottomed ones too, but I can't clearly remember.

The scraping planes are Lie-Nielsens.

 

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IMG_1090.JPG

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3 hours ago, Rimino said:

Hello everyone.  Does anyone know what the essential hand planes are for violin making?  Thanks everyone.

 

 (is a no 4 smoother one of those or could it substitute for one of the essential vm planes?)

The Ed Heron-Allen violin making manual mentions a try plane #7, a smoother #4 , or a #3,  three or four finger planes with a few of those having toothed blades for difficult wood and lastly a smaller 4 x 1 inch hobbiest plane are the minimum planes needed.  So yes, a #4 is one of the ones needed.

Personally I have no use for a #7 try plane.  I also have no need for the finger planes.  Sharp chisels, keenly shaped scrapers and a good gouge or two are all I need along with a good #4 and or a #5 set up as a smoothing plane.  I suppose all I'd need for a hand plane, if I weren't pressed for time, would be just the #4 - just for the violin though. 

If someone came up to me and asked "can you make me a cello?" I'd simply reply "can't you just go down to Guitar Center and buy one?"  

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I'm not sure this plane is indispensable, but I've been happy using it on bass bars and some edge work.  I like that I can see where the blade meets the wood.  If I had to make another I would chamfer more aggressively the inside of the opening above the mouth.  As it is now, it doesn't clear shavings as well as it ought.

IMG_1985.JPG

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2 hours ago, Mark Landeryou said:

I'm not sure this plane is indispensable, but I've been happy using it on bass bars and some edge work.  I like that I can see where the blade meets the wood.  If I had to make another I would chamfer more aggressively the inside of the opening above the mouth.  As it is now, it doesn't clear shavings as well as it ought.

IMG_1985.JPG

Nice. That’s just what I was thinking of. 

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On 4/5/2019 at 6:01 PM, MarkBouquet clearsky said:

Jim, that's a spoon bottom carving plane made from hard anodized aluminum by Gary Condit, probably close to 40 years ago. It's designed to be held as shown, and pulled towards the user like a Japanese plane. It has a rather gaping mouth, which is a downside. Condit also made one with the blade positioned vertically for scraping. I remember seeing one in Boyd Poulsen's shop when he operated in San Mateo, CA, many years ago. He might've made some flat bottomed ones too, but I can't clearly remember.

The scraping planes are Lie-Nielsens.

 

IMG_1089.JPG

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It has been a long time since I have seen these, I have them somewhere.  Condit also made the Salchow planes I believe, as well as clamps and some pretty cool violin hangers....long ago out of business.

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I picked up a Sargent no 409 c (corrugated sole) smoothing  plane (no 4) off eBay inexpensively, the sole was mostly flat but I flattened it more on metal with 150 grit sandpaper with a lot of 3 in 1 oil which a plane collector told me to do and granite and likewise with the blade which I finished off with stones and a strop all in less than an hour, the plane is extremely easy to use and well balanced and heavy and and it flattened the top wood very easily and quickly.E278960D-1E66-4C1E-A872-8C9534EF66C6.thumb.jpeg.d34233234ec205146b08984c0552b3f7.jpeg

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Rimino, I hope you're not using that "liquid hide glue" in the background of your plane photo to build violins. If you are, you need to do a bit of research to understand why it's not held in high esteem by violin makers.

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21 minutes ago, MarkBouquet clearsky said:

Rimino, I hope you're not using that "liquid hide glue" in the background of your plane photo to build violins. If you are, you need to do a bit of research to understand why it's not held in high esteem by violin makers.

Yeah, the only thing that I would use it for is maybe purfling. 

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26 minutes ago, MarkBouquet clearsky said:

Rimino, I hope you're not using that "liquid hide glue" in the background of your plane photo to build violins. If you are, you need to do a bit of research to understand why it's not held in high esteem by violin makers.

I don’t use it on the violin, just to glue the blocks to the mold( do you know of a better glue to glue on the blocks?)  I buy raw granules of glue and use cow hide to glue on the top and fingerboard and rabbit skin for the rest (is this correct?).

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3 hours ago, MarkBouquet clearsky said:

I hope you're not using that "liquid hide glue"

I use it to glue the blocks in, but the blocks separate a little too easy.  I used hot hide glue before but I think it held too good and I had to really force the mold out.  

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For the OP,

Planes are really useful.  The more the better, in a way.  A good block plane is probably the most versatile and all around useful plane.  But plan on aquiring many over time.

Theoretically you can adjust one plane to do several different kinds of tasks. But I prefer to have dedicated planes for each kind of task.    

To keep costs down, I tend to buy less expensive planes and then fix them.  But, as many have pointed out, that costs time. 

Also, I love antique wooden planes. I prefer the feel of the wood tool on the wood I'm working.  But also, there are three very practical reasons to prefer antique wooden planes, even if you aren't on a budget.  1) you can find planes with beautiful hand blacksmithed thick heavy blades, and with a hard steal laminated on to a thick softer steal body.  You can't get remotely as good blades until you go to multi hundred dollar premium brands.  Even then, the western style modern planes will have unlaminated blades, hard all the way through.  If you're hand sharpening, that's a pain.  2) If basically healthy, antique wooden planes are highly repairable.  Not being metal, all the work is easier.  You can flatten the sole easily. You can restore a sole by adding wood.  You can chisel the mouth wider, or glue in wood to close the mouth. And being wooden, it's also easy to work the seating and wedging so the blade and cap sit dead solid in the body. 3)  Such planes are highly modifiable.  Even though the blades are wonderfully thick, since the hard edge is still just a laminate, you can heavily rework these blades comparatively easily. Depending on your purpose, you can make the edge dead straight, slightly crowned for smooth but more agressive cutting, or rounded.  You can also comparatively easily complete modify the sole shape, and even body length. Whatever suits your purpose.

So what are the variations?  

    Length, width, weight

     Shape of sole

    Toothed or untoothed

     Cap close or far from blade edge

     Mouth close or wide of blade

     Blade edge straight (or matching sole shape) , crowned, or very rounded.

Regardless of metal v wood, or adjuster knobs v hammer adjust, these variables tailor a plane to particular uses.

The big choice is a heavy versus fine cut. 

For fine, set the cap very close to the blade edge. This helps limit the thickness of cut.  And set the mouth very close also.  For a very fine set, this also means the mouth, cap, and blade shapes should closely agree.

For a heavier cut, we reverse these things. A wider gap from blade to mouth, a wider set of cap, a crown of blade shape compared to sole to allow a deeper bite.  These all contribute to a more agressive cut.

Longer and wider cause a plane to track the shape of the sole more closely.  So for flat soles, longer and wider mean a plane will float over an uneven surface and only cut high spots. In contrast, a shorter and narrower plane will follow the uneven wood more, engaging the blade in more spots.

Together, these factors give the traditional categories of planes, and how they differ.

A joiner then is long and wide, tends to medium and fine sets with a very straight edged blade.

A smoother is meant to finish out an already flattened surface.  This means we want a smooth fine cut, we don't want to destroy the flatness, but do want to engage the whole surface with our cut, even if there is some drift in the actual flatness.  So this purpose gives the typical features of a smoother: wide fine set blade perhaps barely crowned or rounded lightly at the ends.  The body is wide enough to hold the smooth wide blade, but short enough to follow and engage a surface that perhaps isn't perfectly flat.  Often the width tapers in the coffin shape to help the plane follow the surface better.  But for finishing very flat work, smoothers that are wider and kept their width for the full sole are better.

A scrub plane's mission is completely different, and again its purpose gives its features.  A scrub's purpose is to rapidly remove the bulk of wood as we work down from raw lumber to desired dimensions and flat surfaces.   To meet its purpose, a scrub plane has a highly rounded blade and wide mouth.  This lets it really dig in and gouge off heavy chips of wood rapidly.  The body is narrow and not so long, to help it engage uneven surfaces.  But part of the purpose is to take limber toward flatness, so scrub planes are a bit long to help with this leveling.

If we're dimensioning and leveling a board by hand, then after the scrub our next step is to discover and rather aggressively knock down high spots.  This was the role of the old Jack Plane.   But bodern Jack's tend to be more like a short joiner, or narrow longer modern smoother.  Still, in older wooden Jacks you also find examples that have more of the wide mouth and narrowish body. To play the traditional role, a Jack's blade set is not near as agressive as the scrub's, but still the cap is set wide, and the blade crowned for a reasonably agressive cut.

The modern Jack plane however tends to sometimes be set smoother and used for all purposes.  A migration from a plane dedicated to rough leveling, to a general purpose plane.

There also was a traditional 'Try plane', set similar to a jointer, but somewhat shorter.  This was the prefered plane for flattening a board surface, after the scrub and jack, and before the smoother.  

Block planes are first of all, most of all, simply smaller and shorter.  This means that they tend to engage the wood surface quite directly, even if fine set.   But all the types of differences used to tailor purpose in bench planes can be applied with block planes also.

Lastly, we work with some diffcult grains at times. Fine planing of such wood is generally manageable with a good fine set up.  But agressive wood removal will tend to tear out chunks.  Toothing a blade can help with this.  But the very narrow teeth that are common today in commercial toothed blades aren't ideal for this purpose. That kind of toothing developed to texture a gluing surface in some kinds of work.  The kind of tooth that helps control tear out has wider teeth and troughs, maybe 2 to 4mm.  This can easily be created with a file.

***********************

So which planes are most essential?

I could probably do my work with three planes, though I wouldn't want to actually try that.  If I could only have three, I would pick a 2" or 3" block plane, a scrub plane, and a modern Jack.

But such a limited set of planes would quickly bump into difficulties.  I might try to addresses such issues by resetting my plane set ups for different tasks.  But each reset costs time.  And this is not a one shot time cost at the beginning of owning a plane.  If I try to make too few planes cover too much ground, then I lose time resetting every time I switch tasks!   Modern style highly adjustable planes are good this way.  And I might try improving the situation by getting additional blades and caps.  Then I can use different sets and blade shapes just by swapping.  But I'll still be losing time resetting with each task change.

These things then lead us in the direction of more planes, with dedicated tasks and set ups. As a perk, the longer you leave a plane with one set up aimed at one kind of cut, the more that set tends to settle in and get perfected for the task.  This is something that can never be reached if you're resetting one plane for different purposes.

The planes that are essential to me as I work now:

A very long very fine set jointer

A long slightly more agressive jointer 

A longish narrowish old style jack

A modern style smooth set jack

A older style but wide style jack

A try plane

A fine set old english jack

A coffin smoother

A square smoother

A scrub plane

A somewhat less ageessive scub like toothed plane

(All my bench planes are wood, except the modern jack and the scrub like toothed)

---------------------------

(All the block planes are metal except one)

A longish narrow wooden block plane, wide mouthed but clean straight cutting

A very fine flat cut 6"+

A wide mouth slight crowned 6"+

A straight 3"+

A crowned and toothed 3"+

A straight 2"

----------------------

An assortment of fingerplanes in various shapes, sizes, and sets -- mostly metal.

 

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22 minutes ago, David Beard said:

These things then lead us in the direction of more planes, with dedicated tasks and set ups. As an perk, the longer you leave a plane with one set up aimed and one kind of cut, the more that set tends to settle in and get perfected for the task.  This is something that can never be reached if you're resetting one plane for different purposes.

That planes that are essential to me as I work now:

A very long very fine set jointer

A long slightly more agressive jointer 

A longish narrowish old style jack

A modern style smooth set jack

A older style but wide style jack

A try plane

A fine set old english jack

A coffin smoother

A square smoother

A scrub plane

A somewhat less ageessive scub like toothed plane

(All my bench planes are wood, except the modern jack and the scrub like toothed)

---------------------------

(All the block planes are metal except one)

A longish narrow wooden block plane, wide mouthed but clean straight cutting

A very fine flat cut 6"+

A wide mouth slight crowned 6"+

A straight 3"+

A crowned and toothed 3"+

A straight 2"

----------------------

An assortment of fingerplanes in various shapes, sizes, and sets -- mostly metal.

How many planes is that? Twenty-to-forty? I've found that about six planes, including the miniature or thumb planes, to be quite adequate and hard to improve on. I could easily fall into the "hoarder" thing, but that's not the direction I wish to go in right now.

Choose what one wants to indulge in,

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5 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I've found that about six planes, including miniature or thumb planes, to be quite adequate.

Yeah. I'm sure I don't actually need so many.  But I like having them.  And they find ways to be useful.

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31 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Yeah. I'm sure I don't actually need so many.  But I like having them.  And they find ways to be useful.

I don't need my 650-1200 horsepower engines either. But there is something a little intoxicating about them, including the challenge of getting them to that level and making them last, not unlike fiddle making. :)

Vodka is cheaper. :lol:

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:) I'm gonna have to get selling if I want expensive hobbies like that!  

For now it's the beach, and the occasional splurge on an antique tool that can have a new life.

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24 minutes ago, David Beard said:

:) I'm gonna have to get selling if I want expensive hobbies like that!  

For now it's the beach, and the occasional splurge on an antique tool that can have a new life.

The Santa Barbara beaches are very nice!

However, I don't know of any reported shark attacks off Great Lakes beaches, or stinging jellyfish. And in the winter, even sinners can "walk on water". ;)

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Thanks for reminding abiut the sharks. I try not to remember that, and not to swim where I'm the only swimmer to chew on.

 

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