Text Resize

  • -A
  • +A
  • Editor's Mailbox
    About this Blog
    see all
    Your rating: None (2 votes)

    Quick Trick for Jointing Boards by Hand

    Eventually, as most budding woodworkers progress up the technique ladder, they'll reach a point where the siren song of handplanes just can't be ignored. For a glass-smooth, beautiful finish, nothing beats a handplaned board. But when planing the edge of a board--either to erase marks from your jointer or tablesaw, or if you'r jointing a rough board--keeping an edge that's perfectly square to the board's face can be tough. Especially when jointing boards that will later be glued up into a panel or tabletop, the slightest deviation from square can lead to gappy glue-ups.

    When I began to learn the ins-and-outs of handplanes, I devised a simple method for edge jointing a board that made things a lot easier. Follow along with the step-by-step below for my quick tip on super-square handplaning of board edges.

    Simple Jig for Square Edges

    Jointing with a handplane The Traditional Way
    Now that I've been handplaning for several years, I've become quite proficient at keeping the edge of a board square to its face when jointing. But it wasn't always that way. 
    Double-Stick Tape to the Rescue
    Double-stick tape is an invaluable shop tool. It can be a real life-saver when it comes to attaching patterns to workpieces for routing, or in this case, temporarily attaching a block to the sole of a handplane.

    Stick on a Fence
    By sticking on a small scrap that's perfectly square, I've created a simple fence that can be used to ensure perfectly square edges on my workpiece.

    By the way, don't fret over the adhesive on the bottom of your plane. A bit of lacquer thinner combined with 30 seconds of elbow grease will clean it right up.

    Under Pressure
    By combining downward pressure on the plane with side pressure to bring the fence flat on the workpiece, I ensure a perfectly square edge.
    Shavings are a Sign of Accuracy
    Notice how I'm left with a beautiful ribbon of shaving that is the full width of the workpiece for its entire length? That's a great indicator of squareness. If I had been planing with the tool slightly canted to one side or the other, I wouldn't be left with that uniform width.
    checking for square Proof is in the Pudding...er, Square
    For the purposes of this blog, I made ten passes with my handplane. I wanted to see if I was left with any deviation from square after making repeated passes. I wasn't disappointed. Here you can see I was left with an edge that's perfectly square to my board's face. Nice!