Posted: January 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: kitchen, woodworking | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Once we got into building the shelves, we found that the amateur sawmill job resulted in planks of varied thickness, no two the same, and some of them awfully thin. Our first task was to run each plank through the planer to smooth it down and plane away the high points and unevenness. You can only plane off a tiny little bit at a time, so you have to feed a plank through, shave off a wee little tiny bit, adjust the planer blades a little lower, and feed it through again, until the whole plank is smooth and uniform. It took a realllly long time! It would’ve gone a lot faster if all of the planks weren’t different sizes. But it’s pretty neat getting to use this salvaged wood.

mike at the planer
Mike at the planer
Here’s a before shot, showing the rough-sawn texture of the boards before planing.

rough board

And here’s the after shot, you can see the beautiful smooth boards after planing. The planer does the wide flat part of the board and we hand-plane the edge of every board.

smooth planed board

I got a lot of practice with the hand plane on this project! Richard has a beautiful collection of planes and he keeps them all nice and sharp, always. Some of them are hand-me-downs from my grandfather. The shiny new one was a recent birthday gift from my mom. I’ve watched more experienced carpenters work with planes and they make it look like magic, fast and easy, with beautiful long curls of shaved wood flying off to tangle on the floor. For me, it’s hard to keep the plane perfectly level and straight all the time, and if you aren’t careful it’s terribly easy to turn a nice neat edge into a very crooked, wobbly edge with just a few careless strokes. I move pretty slowly and carefully.


We’re going to edge-glue these planks to make the shelf 12″ deep. Most of the boards are only 6-10″ wide so we need to plane at least one edge of each board very very carefully to get it perfectly smooth and straight and square and then glue and clamp the edges together to make a wider plank. I think there’s a power tool that might make this job easier and faster, but whatever it is we don’t have it, so we do it all by hand.

eliza planing

One Comment on “planing”

  1. 1 Limington Farm House » Blog Archive » still working on the kitchen shelves said at 1:39 pm on January 27th, 2013:

    [...] eliza | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments » It is going to take us forever! we finished planing all the new wood and now Mike is sanding them all. I’m hand-planing the edges to get them nice and neat so we [...]

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