Saturday, January 10, 2009
Cross Grain Planing
Been building a lot of "cross-grain" planes the last few weeks. Dado, Fillister and dovetail planes, to be precise. Plane that are designed to cut across the the grain have different needs to planes that are designed to cut along the grain.
First up is a skewed iron. This gives a slicing cut across the fibres and leaves a noticibly cleaner surface. It also makes a cool curly shaving, too ;) But the skewed iron rips the surface at either side of the cut - and badly! So this necessitates this second "cross-grain plane" feature....
The Nicker iron. This is placed ahead of the main iron and is situated on the outer edge of the plane (on a Fillister there is one, on a dado there are two). It slices the timber allows the plane to make clean, sharply defined cuts. Rather like scoring the workpiece with a marking knife.
The final feature is a fence. By having either a fixed or adjustable fence you define the width of cut the plane will make. And the skewed iron is usually set to pull the plane against the workpiece due to the cutting action. (Of course a dado plane, which cuts across the boards far from an edge, has no built-in fence. A batten is usually clamped across the workpiece to guide the plane).
So there you go - three features which allow a plane to make clean accurate cross grain cuts. They make a lot of extra work for the planemaker but the result is a unique plane.