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STL242: Is there one block plane to rule them all?


This episode is sponsored by Maverick Abrasives and Pony/Jorgensen

Join us live for as PantoRouter’s Mac Sheldon and John Henry Souza demonstrate this powerful joinery machine.


Question 1:

From Tom:

I am working on the chair described by Mathew Teague’s “Build an Elegant Dining Chair” video. I have been working on the back splat and the crest rail, cleaning them up after I band-sawn to rough shape with the Veritas large spokeshave. 

 The issue I am having is chatter and the difficulty of pushing the spokeshave. When there is no chatter and I can make a clean stroke, the results are great. The wood is cherry and extremely smooth to the touch after it is cut by the spokeshave. But I get chatter frequently which requires more strokes to clean up. I have made mountains of shavings (I am building 10 chairs) and keep the blade sharp. I have inserted both the shims behind the blade that were supplied with the shave. The shavings are about 0.004″ or thinner. I am frequently stopped cold mid stroke and have pushed so hard on the shave that I have worried that I will break it. I have tried to ease up on the pressure in my push until that does not cut at all. But even then the shave will dig in mid stroke and stop cold.

 Do you guys have any suggestions?

How to Sharpen a Spokeshave

Shopmade honing jig makes sharpening your spokeshave super-simple

Smooth Curves with a Spokeshave

For curvy furniture and shaped edges, make the spokeshave your secret weapon

Webinar: All About Spokeshaves with Peter Galbert

Replay Join chairmaker Peter Galbert, for a webinar on spokeshaves.

Question 2:

From Chris:

How do you recommend storage and protecting your sharpened card scrapers. Currently, mine are laid out in a single layer on a window sill because I’m not sure what else to do with them. It seems like a wooden block would be great, but I’m not sure how to create the right kerfs to stash them? Do you use a bandsaw and go in from either side, alternating rows?

Make Custom Holders for Hand Tools

These custom-made holders keep your tools safe and secure.

Question 3:

From Rich,

A local woodworking professional elucidated the many virtues of the skew block plane, including that of fitting a tenon to a mortise. I purchased the plane and after nearly a year of heavy use, I am extremely satisfied. 

Perhaps naively, I believe the skew plane obviates the need for a shoulder plane. Have you all used the skew block and if so, believe there to be a functional limitation when contrasted with a shoulder plane? I am not looking for an excuse to purchase a tool I do not own. 

And also:

From Max:
I recently purchased my first block plane, the Lie-Nielsen rabbet block plane, because I thought this would be a great multi use tool; capable of trimming tenon shoulders and faces as well as doing all the tasks a normal block plane could handle. I also purchased a shoulder plane soon after that, thinking it would be another great tool for the arsenal. I am now interested in the regular 60-1/2 adjustable mouth block plane (particularly for its use as a kumiko strip thicknesser), and am worried I may have impulsively purchased the wrong block plane. So my question is this- Is it good to have both a rabbet block plane and shoulder plane, and/or both block planes? And does the rabbet block plane do things that the shoulder plane can’t?

The Best Way to Fit Tenons

Machines will get you close, but only a handplane will deliver a piston fit



Question 4:

From Devin:

Is it possible to put a back bevel on a bevel down plane blade in order to change the cutting angle without changing the frog? Got a pretty nice old jointer plane for next to nothing but when I have curly stuff and I’m trying to edge joint long areas I get a TON of tear out.

Chris Gochnour’s sharpening process

Watch a hand tool aficionado who is always looking for new ways to be a better sharpener


Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to [email protected] for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page.

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