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It measures about 600 x 500 x 30 mm.  When I  resurface water stones  I  make sure to  use  the edges.  I put the straight edge on it recently and it appeared pretty flat. I've got a thin palette knife which measures .1 mm at the point and I just tried it with the straight edge. On the long axis I can get the knife under the middle of the straight edge, and on the short axis I can't get it under at all. So it has retained it's flatness pretty well considering how much I have used it.

And if it does take the end blocks down further than the corner ones I don't see that as a problem. With the present rib assembly I'm working on I couldn't get the palette knife under anywhere. And I paid particular attention to the corner block apexes where the knife tip went under about 1-2 mm, but they haven't been trimmed back yet.

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For me wooden planes are too sensitive to moisture for precision work, but if you have a climate-controlled workshop and check them before using them they can work just fine. The protrusion of the blade is also a bit boring to adjust, compared to systems with screws and levers of metal planes

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16 hours ago, David Rosales said:

Is that really much of an advantage? Are the metal jointer planes really that difficult to set up or prepare for this job?

No metal jointer plane is ready for the precision job you need to do, even if the sole looks perfectly flat. I was told by a metal worker that the crystallization process of the cast iron takes time and this will invisibly warp the body. (Basically the time when the plane leaves the factory until it arrives at the shelf)  Even if you put a metal plane into Siberian temperatures it will deform. (Don’t know how much because I didn’t test it)

when I set up my metal jointer plane I had already experience with my working rhythm, so I knew how much time I should need to get a perfect joint. So I adjusted the sole, tried it and when I didn’t match my time limit I tried to figure out from the planed surfaces what was wrong and adjusted again. I can’t remember how often I repeated it but it took maybe one morning. When the plane was in shape I just had fun making one joint after the other. 
 

In the end it is pretty much an individual choice after trying several methods with different planes. 
 

besides if you clamp your boards and hold the plane watch your footwork which is often the cause that apprentices can’t make a joint quickly. It’s almost like pushing a heavy furniture. And don’t ‘walk’ while doing the joint, your feet must stay in place.
 

For the upside down method I always round off the corners of the board not to rub up the palms of my hands on the corners. 

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12 hours ago, Greg Sigworth said:

Thank you for your input. This is a bit off topic, but how do you flatten two joined plates after joining. Do you simply use a smaller leveling plane and a good straight edge? Thank you.

I use the same joining plane, and a straightedge. The plate is clamped between the bench dogs.

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I prefer to flatten the two separate pieces before joining them, to minimize the flattening work once they are joined (which needs to be done anyway). Perhaps it wastes more time but minimizes the risk of getting the central joint not perpendicular to the plane, which is something I prefer not to overlook.

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10 hours ago, Dennis J said:

I've got a thin palette knife which measures .1 mm at the point and I just tried it with the straight edge. On the long axis I can get the knife under the middle of the straight edge, and on the short axis I can't get it under at all. 

Flat enough for sanding garlands is one thing, and then there's flat enough for checking joint surfaces and plane soles which is something else.  True surface plates are in the "something else" category; mine says it's flat to .0025mm, and I prefer to keep it that way for precision work.

14 hours ago, Greg Sigworth said:

This is a bit off topic, but how do you flatten two joined plates after joining. Do you simply use a smaller leveling plane and a good straight edge? Thank you.

12" power jointer.  Before and after gluing together.  

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On 12/31/2021 at 9:21 PM, David Rosales said:

 Am I setting myself up for failure if I follow the Johnson/Courtnall method using a jack plane instead?

Not necessarily - I used a new Groz #5 for all 21 fiddle joints and close to 15 guitar back and top joints using also the shooting board method.  A #4 smoother helps at times too.

I'll mention that I've also wore out one Groz frog assembly, was under warranty so received another free and also commenced to wearing out the same replacement frog too.  

Like the Benedetto guitar making book says- "you learn by doing."

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18 hours ago, Dennis J said:

I've tried doing this job using a shooting board and the plane in a vice technique and the results when, testing against a strong light, always reveal gaps. There are invariably high spots to deal with, sometimes quite large. The trouble is you can't identify which side is causing the problem.

Using a straight edge will show even the smallest deviation from flat with the back light technique and it can be dealt with using a small plane and finishing with a larger one. It takes only minutes to get a perfect result.

 

DSC_0004.jpg

A few passes gives a dead flat surface, one pass taking off the high spots, and the 2nd the finishing cut.  However, the blade has to be sharp, and the cut so fine that pushing the wood past the blade is next to effortless.

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17 hours ago, Greg Sigworth said:

Thank you for your input. This is a bit off topic, but how do you flatten two joined plates after joining. Do you simply use a smaller leveling plane and a good straight edge? Thank you.

One could/should do some leveling after gluing, then cut out the profile oversize by a few mm's, do some more leveling to perfection or close enough for later, start and finish outer arching to just before purfling trench stage, rescribe half template or finished garland to the underside gluing surface with washer, draw out your corner shapes/widths, get the inside arching done or close to, rescribe half template/finished garland with washer again but this time include the width for the inner linings,  remove unneeded inner plate wood or finish profile outer shape.  Sand flat on plate glass and repeat, if necessary to gain purchase for the two blocks and to a lesser extent the corners. 

I'm typing from memory so rehash the above any other way you see fit.

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I have used the Stanley 9.5" block plane, but find a No.5 plane easier to work with... the extra length helps keep the cut even all the way to the end of the board.  In either case a flat sole, razor-sharp blade, and fine cut are essential.

I use the face-to-face in a vice approach.  I will "rough level" the faces if they are notably warped or out of flat... but save full leveling until the end.  Getting a good joint takes about 10 minutes, with most of that time spent finessing the flatness of the joint, especially at the ends of the board.

I can't imagine planing each piece individually and getting a good joint

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I've tried planing plates together face-to-face in a vise but gave it away because I was just using a steel ruler to check for flatness which wasn't very reliable. And when taking them out of the vice and holding them up against a back light gaps showed up.

But come to think of it checking for flatness with a straight edge while they are still in the vise is probably a viable way to go. However you would have to be sure your plane blade was sharpened with a straight bevel.

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Joinery is frustrating work when you're learning, and simple, even enjoyable work once you get the hang of it, particularly with a hand plane. A few careful cuts with my #4 and the job is done usually in a few minutes.

IMHO... you really don't want a plane longer than the piece you're joining... the longer (heavier) planes require some experience to use particularly at the beginning of the cut when you're supporting all the weight of the plane and trying to keep it square to the wood. I personally use a #4 smoother and it works great. Also, consider using winding sticks, these are a simple tool that can help you see and correct any twist in the plates both for joining the edge and flattening the joined plates. I also don't see the value in a sprung joint for violin plates. It's fine for things like long table tops, but violin plates have the ends cut off when cutting the outline and the joint needs to handle stress. I would opt for a perfect joint instead.

More opinions... A wooden plane is just as good as an iron one but more sensitive to things like humidity and harder to adjust. As much as people emphasize a flat sole, it's not as critical as people seem to think... there are certain places along the sole where flatness is more important than others. The plane blade extends beyond a flat sole so it's never really a flat cut no matter what you do. A low angle plane is a fad and doesn't do anything better than a standard plane except cost more because it's a fad... a 30° bevel up blade seated at 12° is a 42° cut, a standard bevel down blade is a 45° cut, not really any significant difference.

Even more opinions... Clamping a plane in a vice and moving the wood doesn't allow you to take advantage of the plane's weight, or allow you to let the plane do the work. Also it can destroy the plane's 90° sides and make it useless with a shooting board, particularly a metal plane. I don't really understand why people do that as it does seem like kind of the most difficult way to do the job and would require a ton of practice to get a decent result. Proper technique with a plane is something you can learn quickly. A razor sharp blade is the most important and critical thing, taking light cuts, and checking regularly for flatness and square.

I would watch Paul Sellers' videos on YouTube too, he's an incredible wood worker and can show you how to tune/use/sharpen planes as well as get perfect joints.

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Getting perfect edge joints can be something of a trial and error exercise. But things like good planes and sharp blades properly adjusted really are a must. Backlighting can reveal even very small deviations from flat if you look carefully enough. Something like a .1 mm gap (about the thickness of a moderately thick piece of paper) will be very obvious. And I think that around that size gap the glueline will be clearly visible on the joined plates. So the accuracy requirement for an invisible glueline along the entire length of the plate is fairly high. If you have to look very hard to see the glueline anywhere you have done a pretty good job.

 

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Ok... dumb question... a powered jointer has two tables adjustable to match the thickness of the cut, otherwise the joint will not be straight ... . Why is it then that there are no hand planes with two adjustable soles.... would that not produce a better straighter edge?

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I have a Record No8 and can get a shaving about .002 of an inch thick the whole length of the joint surface.   I followed recommendations of having a slight hollow in the middle because the glue swells the wood, otherwise there would be gaps at the end.  

after glue up,  flatten the plates by planning cross grain on the maple and with the grain on the spruce.  

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If the moisture in the glue swells the wood, which it theoretically will do to a small extent because side grain is not particularly affected, why will it not swell evenly along the entire surface?

I've never seen any swelling like that when joining boards.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Dennis J said:

If the moisture in the glue swells the wood, which it theoretically will do to a small extent because side grain is not particularly affected, why will it not swell evenly along the entire surface?

I've never seen any swelling like that when joining boards.

 

 

I don't know the answer to that.  I've just read on here somewhere so that's how I plane mine.   It works anyway. And I use a rub joint, no clamps.  

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10 hours ago, Mat Roop said:

Ok... dumb question... a powered jointer has two tables adjustable to match the thickness of the cut, otherwise the joint will not be straight ... . Why is it then that there are no hand planes with two adjustable soles.... would that not produce a better straighter edge?

I think it's a good question, but I don't have an answer. Maybe it is thought that the improvement in performance would come at the cost of too great an increase in weight or price?

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6 hours ago, MikeC said:

Here's an interesting article on plane flatness and the three important areas of the sole that need to be flat.

https://www.handplane.com/66/thoughts-on-hand-plane-sole-flatness/

Maybe it's better than nothing, but if it is purported to be as good as a totally flat plane sole, I will disagree.

More ideally, the outfeed (meaning everything behind the blade) would be set to the same level as the blade, and the "infeed" would be set differently, to expose the cutting edge to whatever you want your cut thickness to be.

On 1/2/2022 at 7:49 PM, Mike Atkins said:

I would watch Paul Sellers' videos on YouTube too, he's an incredible wood worker and can show you how to tune/use/sharpen planes as well as get perfect joints.

My impression is that he ain't much, in comparison to what many good violin makers or restorers can accomplish with a plane, as well as with lots of other tools.

I get it, some people have learned how to make a good living off their Youtube videos.

I prefer to take my cues from those who are good enough to be so overwhelmed with paying client requests, that they don't have time to make videos.

There are exceptions, of course (as with anything), like Davide Sora's videos.

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17 hours ago, Mat Roop said:

Ok... dumb question... a powered jointer has two tables adjustable to match the thickness of the cut, otherwise the joint will not be straight ... . Why is it then that there are no hand planes with two adjustable soles.... would that not produce a better straighter edge?

Not a dumb question, it is impossible to plane a perfectly straight joint with the blade sticking out of a single flat surface as in the design of the normal hand planes no matter the price. Of course you can get close enough to work, but never perfect.

A simple solution is to glue a piece of shim stock behind the blade the same thickness as the cut of the blade, if you truly want flat with a plane,,,

simple.

Why doesn't someone make them?

I guess no one sees the need, I myself think it is a great idea,,, but shim stock is cheap,,,,

cheap like me, my wife picked me up for a song, and she even sang out of tune.

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34 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

My impression is that he ain't much, in comparison to what many good violin makers or restorers can accomplish with a plane, as well as with lots of other tools.

Certainly I would agree that violin making is a different level of woodworking. The topic of this thread is pretty basic woodworking stuff and not really super unique to violin making. Paul Sellers has well over 50 years of experience as a master level woodworker with hand tools, who is apparently in his retirement years doing what he can to share his knowledge of woodworking with anyone who is interested.

To say "he ain't much" seems a pretty harsh criticism, a very broad generalization, and random claim simply by making assumptions about how one spends their time indicating their capability. I think you might have difficulty supporting that statement with any legitimate criticism. Conflating woodworking and instrument making isn't exactly correct either. Not all instrument makers are necessarily great woodworkers, and not all woodworkers could necessarily make good instruments. And skill in either isn't dependent solely on what can be accomplished with a plane – his skill with a wide variety of tools I believe is pretty indisputable. The fact that he offers his knowledge and experience for free, like Mr. Sora is something that should be applauded IMO, rather than looked down upon.

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2 hours ago, Mike Atkins said:

Paul Sellers has well over 50 years of experience as a master level woodworker...

What is "a master level woodworker"?

2 hours ago, Mike Atkins said:

I think you might have difficulty supporting that statement with any legitimate criticism.

I would not.

2 hours ago, Mike Atkins said:

Not all instrument makers are necessarily great woodworkers, and not all woodworkers could necessarily make good instruments.

Yup. Significance?

2 hours ago, Mike Atkins said:

The fact that he offers his knowledge and experience for free...

Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. Some people make a darned good living making and posting YouTube videos.

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