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End grain with a record No 4 smoothing plane

You may have thought that from the last post that I turn my nose up at No4 and 5 planes. This is not the case and I have tuned and got to know intimately my jack and smoothing Record planes. A well tuned and sharpened plane is a joy to use, no more so than getting a perfect finish on end grain. In the past I would go for electric sanders, these days by default I pick up hand tools. In fact I think it is quicker to plane the end grain to clean the saw marks up, and then to give it a final fine sanding, rather than to try and sand the 2 end grain ends. It also gives a better flatter finish.

The wood is Douglas fir, English grown, 8 x 6 inches. Unfortunately English grown Douglas grows way too fast. I have used American stuff before which usually is very slow grown with up to 30+ rings per inch. Slow grown Douglas is a very different wood to fast grown stuff and is certainly a better quality wood. I prefer working with slow grown softwoods any day.

I used my Record smoothing plane at a skew across the grain after planing a fine bevel around the edge to stop wood splitting out. I also tend to  work from the edge into the middle and stop short of the far edge.

Skewing gives a far better finish, rather than pushing the plane inline.

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Coffin Smoother

Coffin Smoother
My Dad recently gave me a plane of his, a coffin smoother. He is a sculptor mainly working in metal.
I have fallen in love with this old and battered plane and am appreciating its uses and qualities. I am newish to the use of planes, although I have renovated a few metal record planes and old wooden ones. The plank of wood you see in the picture is 4 x 13 inch and 6,1/2 feet long, an inch too wide to fit through my planer thicknesser. Out came the planes, and Dan and I had to take the wind out and level smooth. We both by far preferred the wood planes, they just glided over the wood, light and warm to the touch. This is all very subjective, but these things certainly add to the pleasure of the work in hand.
I have a lot to learn about planes, and I think one of the problems with both these planes is the rather large mouth size. In the larger plane the shavings all bunch up in the throat. I think it is time for an insert to be fitted to reduce the mouth size.
This plank of wood is being made into a bench, the “mortice” joints you see are sliding tapered dovetail joints. The female parts are easy to cut, but the male tenons are not that easy and take a long time to pare down to fit. More about this in a later blog.