Shop(ping) time

This weekend, LOML and I moved the workbench to the shop. I hope I have never to move this thing again.

The shop, and the new old workbench

I started to plane the workbench, it was slightly warped. (Work-in-progress shot above). Planing this beech is really hard work, although it might be that my planing technique is not yet perfect (this is a considerable understatement). In between, I figured that I could work on my planing technique with some easier-to-work wood; I found some boards of larch behind the shop and decided to try those.

Planing some easier wood

This worked great, after maybe half an hour I had finished the faces of a  6-feet long board. I had some tear-out around the knots, but I was still satisfied with my progress so far. The new 1000/6000-combination waterstone was definitely a good investment for sharpening the iron.

Planed larch board (right), next to an unplaned one

Because I found no other excuses, I went back to planing the benchtop, and also tried to work it with a scraper. I had sharpened it as described  in Tage Frids book, and I was quite impressed by this simple tool. It really is kind of a microplane – though not the right tool for planing a benchtop. Really good for finishing the surface, though. At least that was my impression.

The result of pulling the scraper three times – I was quite impressed.

After that, I was considerably worked out, and also freezed (the temperature was around -10°C outside, and in the shop as well, probably), and called it a day.

Oh, and I started to build a wooden mallet, to practice  my joinery and for setting the planes. It is not finished yet, and I forgot to do some work-in-progress shots. More on that later.


~ by Michael on February 14, 2010.

3 Responses to “Shop(ping) time”

  1. Schoner shop indeed! Beautiful shot in the snow, and I love the wooden walls of the shed. What are the dimensions? Maybe 3mx3m? Will you heat with a small woodstove?

    Get that jointer plane you found sharpened up! That will be a primary tool. The other planes look nice. In addition to metal planes, I have a set of ECE scrub, smoother, and jointer that I bought from an old neighbor before I knew how to use them. It’s a little hard to tell from the photo just what yours are, but you might want to look for one that is in between these and the jointer in length. A cambered blade will help with the heavy going, so you might consider sharpening one blade straight, and one curved.

    You’ll want to end up with a scrub plane for heavy stock removal (since you appear to be following European continental style), a medium length plane for moderate removal, a long jointer for straightening, and a short smoother for final work. Use them in that order, then use the scraper. You can skip using the scrub if you don’t need to remove a lot.

    Hand tools are much more satisfying than power, you will be glad you can’t afford the power tools!

  2. Thanks, Steve!

    3mx3m is about right, yes. For now, I don’t have a stove. Actually, I’m not quite sure if it were good for the workbench, if it sits for the whole week at freezing temperatures and gets heated on the weekend.

    And yes, I’m following European continental style, for the reason of me living in Germany 🙂

    And thanks for the advice with the scrub plane – that’s indeed missing at the moment. As far as I know, a scrub plane doesn’t have a chip breaker, right? So if I took one of the undefined planes, sharp the blade curved and remove the chip breaker, I’d end up with a scrub plane, more or less. Is that true?

    • This got me thinking about my wooden planes, so I looked at the ECE website, and they have a very nice instructional booklet you can download on their homepage at It covers usage and blade grinding curvature. They also have a downloadable catalog, so you can see all the specs on the planes (length, body and iron width, bedding angle).

      It turns out I have an Ulmia scrub plane, an ECE Primus jointer, an ECE Secundus jack (they call it “Expert” model), and an ECE wedged jack.

      A scrub has a narrower blade that is ground to a tighter radius. This makes it cut a deeper but narrower shaving, otherwise it gets too hard to push. You can grind a less aggressive radius on your cheapest plane, and that can serve as your roughing jack (what the English tradition calls a fore plane), in between the scrub and the straighter-ground jack (or it might be a smoother, depending on length and bed angle). I’ve seen scrubs on Ebay, you should be able to find one. Then you’ll have a full range for each stage of stock preparation!

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