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Giving up on hand jointing.


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19 hours ago, Crimson0087 said:

With a sharp plane how much pressure is needed to get that first bite. I feel like I have to push hard and fast to get the cut started and that's why I lose control. This is how I've sharpened. 25 degrees.


I noticed that you appear to be using the OEM plane blade. You'll get much better results with a better blade, like a Veritas.

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OK...OK MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH!!!!! Today I went and bought leather and glued it to wood and polishing compound. I sharpened it again and polished it and it was sharp. I used my shooting board to get "started" on squaring the face but noticed it wasnt perfect. I then clamped it in the plane and....well...see for yourself!!! I DID IT!!! I CANT BELIEVE IT! But I actually have a good light free joint on my maple back. No light. Square! Im sure its not perfect but its pretty darn good. Its only been a week and I almost gave up but looking back at how I was trying to do it a week ago I feel stupid now. I was running at it hard and fast with no control! Thanks to everyone's input I couldn't have done it without all the advice!

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Congratulations that's looking much better.  I think you could try going even thinner on the shavings but that looks like good progress.  

It looks like your shooting board is close to the back wall, you might want to rearrange it so you don't have to lean over so far.  I orient mine parallel to the front of the bench so it's easy to push the whole length. 

It's funny when I played your first video I had to look around behind me, I thought my cat was howling. LOL  

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(I have taken so long typing this that while I was typing it seems you have made good progress with your centre joint, congatulations! I will still post this as you may wish to avail yourself of my workshop footwear advice?)

Hello Crimson, being a novice violinmaker myself, perhaps the first and most valuable thing I should say is to take heed of the advice generously given by the experts of Maestronet!

I have been doing woodwork of sorts for many years and I really love making things. I have to admit that for some tasks I seem to suffer from a bit of a lack of patience- being a person from an English branch (no garlic) of the Professor Van Helsing school of woodwork who really does enjoy chopping wood with an axe and the hammering in of all types of nails, brads and spikes - and perhaps I am not naturally temperamentally suited to the careful exacting nature of much of violinmaking?


However even I have had some sucess when I have worked carefully following instructions from a good book or teacher and have resisted my strong urge to try to run before I could barely walk.

I love planing wood but I have had (and still do have) difficulty with centre joints and flat planing generally because of these main factors

1 My plane wasn't very flat

2 My plane iron/blade was sharpened to a curved profile - good for rough planing but not the best for planing flat joints

3 I am always tempted to "save time" by attempting to use the plane (chisel or gouge) without sharpening it first or checking if it is sharp enough and end up wasting time and effort in the process.

Here is a picture of my last centre joint being made using a home made single iron plane. I was successful as I took my time, I had recently flattened and remouthed my plane to make the opening small and sharpened it carefully. I held my wood on the benchtop wedged between the pegs on my small experimental bench top


Regarding your workshop sandals perhaps you could consider trying some Dutch style wooden clogs, I like wearing them in my workshop, no one else is there to see me! and apparently they are recognised as safety footwear.



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On 10/21/2022 at 11:02 PM, Steve Voigt said:

As a planemaker who has helped many people learn the basics of planing…may I suggest that you're going about this the wrong way? You're viewing the isolated job of planing the center joint as an unpleasant task to be gotten out of the way, instead of thinking about it as an opportunity to become highly skilled with a plane. You say you've tried everything, but it appears you've only been at it for a short time, not nearly long enough to learn any of these approaches. You need to take a giant step back, and slow way down.

First, you need to learn to sharpen. As others have observed, the tear-out and chatter visible in your previous thread indicate that you haven't mastered sharpening yet, and sharpening is the gateway to everything in woodworking. This may take you weeks, just to get decent at it.

Then, you need to be able to use your plane to produce tear-out free surfaces and gossamer shavings. More weeks. When you can do that, practice four-squaring boards--two sides and two faces that are flat, parallel, and perpendicular. Start with something like Easter white pine, and work your way up to more difficult woods. When you can do this, you'll be ready to graduate to edge jointing. But you've got to work through the basics first.

Now, you can skip all this and buy a power jointer, but if you can't use a hand plane, how are you going to do the many, far more complex steps involved in making an instrument? So again, I suggest you radically shift your time horizon, accept that it's going to take a while to learn, and get back to it. Maybe have a beer and give it a night off first.

Well said

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On 10/22/2022 at 8:43 AM, Don Noon said:

When I used a plane, I used the fixture shown below.  There's a flat, thick board with a thinner board attached to it, and a couple of pegs to locate the plane onto the fixture.  The pegs are not necessary, but help when getting the plane and board into the vise.

I think it is almost necessary to have the plane blade-up, so the wedges can be held firmly and maximum controlled force can be applied.  And of course the sharp blade, flat sole, well adjusted plane as has been so often mentioned.



I use a similar setup, except the staionary plane is clamped down onto the guide board which is clamped into the vise. I push the piece to be planed flat on the board, and the plane cuts the vertical edge of the work piece.

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32 minutes ago, Bill Yacey said:

I use a similar setup, except the staionary plane is clamped down onto the guide board which is clamped into the vise. I push the piece to be planed flat on the board, and the plane cuts the vertical edge of the work piece.

Yeah that's basically how I've always done it, clamp a long joinery plane flat with a leveled board 1 1/2" thick butted up alongside the plane and clamped or screwed to the workbench, then slide the board you're planing flat against the 1/12" board and slide it past the plane so your cutting point is 1'1/2" into the width of the plane where you make contact, so you're at least getting the flatter section of the plane blade if its somewhat curved.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A bit of a late reply.  I can commiserate completely with the OP.  My comments as an autodidact non-professional maker:  

1.  THANKS so much to all the pros to take the time to offer suggestions to us would-be luthiers.  We would be lost without you.  

2. For the OP, congrats on achieving your first goal.  For what its worth, my own suggestions (and failures) for center jointing can be found under Jay Higgs' bench in the contemporary makers gallery.  The center joint is just one of many tricky tasks you will encounter.   If you want to have fun doing the best you can do, research Maestronet, watch Davide Sora's videos, and read some violin making books before each step. Then give it a try and make copious notes of what works for you and what mistakes you make along the way.  

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