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27 April 2016

Ask Mitch - Planing out Plane Tracks

Not getting that smooth surface from a plane...

I am trying to get that smooth surface that feels so good without using much sandpaper. However my problem is that I leave plane tracks at times and always resort to sandpaper to get rid of them. What could I be doing wrong?

If you have a straight cutting edge to your plane, then it's the corner of the blade that is leaving 'steps'. Ideally you don't want the corners to cut, so you can either knock the sharp corners off with a file, or use a curved/cambered blade so that the corners can be kept above the sole, feathering out the shaving. Sticking with a straight blade, you can use the lateral adjuster to hide one corner, then plane a set of shavings working across the wood so that the hidden corner side feathers into the previous cut. Each method will give slightly different results, as will varying the amount of overlap between shavings. The surface can never be totally flat, but the deviations are very slight and gradual, to the point of hardly being recognisable. Don't forget that a sharp blade without any nicks is essential too.
Good luck, Mitch
Recommended watching: Hone a Plane Iron

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