furniture making

Terrific Trio (Essential Planes Part II)

When choosing “the essential planes” the sorting factors differ from person to person, and my selection definitely reflects my interests and projects.  These three planes, combined with the previous pair, fulfills my needs for 99% of the work I do, and, as an added benefit, don’t weigh much or take up much space.

My final three Essential Planes are;

The scrub plane is simply part and parcel of my work in that they get rough wood flat (but not smooth) fast.  I find myself using one more and more and the power planer/jointer less and less.  A great part of that development is the nature of my projects — I make almost no large scale “cabinetry” — and the steeply cambered iron works wonders at getting things flat.  Even on my large-scale projects, mostly workbenches, the scrub plane is a jewel when it comes to flattening gigantic slabs of wood that don’t even fit into the planer anyway.

I’ve got both metal bodied (LNT) and wooden horned scrub planes and use them interchangeably.

Next comes the toothing plane, perhaps peculiar to my work in that I do a lot of veneer work and laminations for which the toothing plane was designed.  The serrated, or “toothed” iron is perfect for getting surfaces prepared perfectly for gluing together and there are regional techniques whereby all secondary surfaces are flattened quickly.  Again, not smooth, but definitely flat.  Admittedly I own far more toothers than I need (13) but you should have at least one and incorporate it into your work.  It really increases production efficiency.

Finally is a plane probably in most of your tool kit, the rebate/dado plane.  When it comes to making wide channels to fit pieces of wood together, or cleaning up the inside corners of joinery, nothing can compete with a rebate/dado plane.  I would say that it is a tool perfectly designed to do one essential thing, but it is more than that.  It is great for shooting moldings the Roubo/Bickford way.

Up next, three tools that may or may not be “planes” per se, and whose utility depends on my projects.  If my work was a little different they, too, would be in the pantheon.