Reply To: Hand Planing

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Rob Young

I’ve watched several people “snipe” the ends of their boards with handplanes.  They claim they are taking the pressure (shouldn’t need much in the first place) off the knob and transferring to the tote.   But typically, they are leaning in (forward) so much that they can do nothing except press down with their off-hand and run the plane down over the exit edge.   YMMV

I tell them to try this (really only works with a lightly set blade) as a way of teaching the muscle memory/body mechanics you need: simply let go of the knob all together as you exit the board.  Just about all you can do is push forward on the tote without your off-hand holding the knob.  But do hang on to the tote so you don’t end up throwing the plane on the floor!  A couple of time through like that so that they get their body mechanics right and the plane takes a continuous shaving, they can put their off-hand back on the plane and maintain that light touch.

Dominant hand pushes the tote, off-hand steers the knob.  This same sort of two hands & two independent jobs skill (pat your head and rub your belly at the same time)  is necessary to make a plow plane, rabbet plane, moulding plane, etc work right so might as well train your brain with the bench planes too.