1. Great tips for dealing with a belly or hump. I usually create a belly when I have longer boards, must work on my technique of not ‘plowing’ and forcing the plane to dig along the length.

  2. I still have much trouble planning the tops of these boards square and straight. I watched closely but this is definitely the key process in this video. I have struggled with these joints and could be that I was not using right plane. Is everyone in agreement that either the #5 or # 5 1/2 Stanley or like is the plane to use for this? What if these boards were longer, say 12 ft. long? Is the process still the same? Is the plane to use the 5 or 5 1/2 no matter what the length? What if 3/4″ thick boards? A lot of questions but this is definitely my number one default issue that I have without a doubt. The more I plane, the worse it gets. I am actually doing this right now with quarter sawn white oak, but too much to do by hand, but I cannot get it Peter. Please show your technique as much as possible as I know I can’t be alone in having difficulty here. You made this look much easier than it is, but then you are very talented.

    1. You don’t really need longer planes than the jack plane if boards are long like that. Long boards flex and can be pulled to meeting lines with only little pressure so as long as the meeting lines are square without stair-stepping they will pull together.

      This video is to show what to do if your boards are thicker stock. People often plane say 3/4″ boards side by side because minor inaccuracies in squareness are compensated for when the adjacent board is pulled up to form the joint line. This can’t happen with say boards over 1″ because the plane blade is only 2″ and even with a 2 3/8″ blade this can be tricky. When planing boards 1 1/4″ and up the edges must be planed individually.

    2. Greg, it’s all a matter of practice and learning the correct technique. You will get it eventually. The reason it looks easy is because it really is once you get the hang of it. First of all make sure your plane is sharp and set up right then it’s just a matter of thinking about what you’re doing. Whether you are removing a twist, belly or hump or squaring to a face all you are really doing is removing the high spots. I actually find thick boards like this easier to learn on than thin stock.

      Watch Paul carefully. See where he puts his thumb to apply pressure at the front as the plane cuts into the high spot. Sometimes even both hands are not on the plane handle or tote. This gives you greater control in guiding the flat sole of the plane with pressure in just the right spots on the hard iron body of the plane. Your fingers ride along the face edge to keep the plane going exactly in the line you want, to the left a little or to the right or even right in the middle. Like a finger gage. Work The high spots. Think. Listen. Look where the shavings are coming out and what width they are. You can see and feel the high spot and watch/feel it get lower with each pass. Having your hands up on the handles when doing this means you will lose the feeling and tend to over compensate or flex the plane or push it in the wrong direction. Eventually the blade takes wider and longer shavings until you get a nice even cut the full length of the board. Then you can use the handles again and take a long cut as normal. Engage your senses. Learn what is happening and why. Look and listen. Feel. Watch the shaving coming out of the plane. You will get it. I used to flatten long boards like this with nothing but an old nine inch smoother, that’s all I had. The longer planes make it easier but you can do just fine with a short one in fact I think you learn more about your tool and how to use it if that’s the only one you have. I better stop rambling on. Hopefully some of my rambling has made sense and hopefully it is along the lines of what Paul would say. Hang in there. Don’t be tempted to reach for a power tool or machine. As you can see in the video part of what Paul is trying to fix is snipe created from a machine. Machines do more harm than good sometimes and usually you still need to fix it with a handplane anyway. I have a workshop full of machines but most of my day is spent at the workbench these days. The planes are always on my bench now. Sharp and ready to do the work they were intended.
      Thanks Paul for yet another inspiring video.

      1. I wanted to thank you for your post of July 30, 2014 in response to Greg Brophy. Your advise to Greg was near perfect. The message and manner of your response to this day warms my heart. Like so many wonderful woodworkers, your advise was both practical and spiritual. GOOD ON YOU, MATE! I would ask your permission to share with others, especially my four sons.

  3. What are your thoughts on jointer plane fence attachments to ease the process? I would imagine it would remove twist as it ensures squareness all in one process. (assuming the fence is accurate). I’ve also seen homemade fence attachments. Any opinions on that?

    1. I personally wouldn’t bother with a gimmicky fence. I think it would annoy me and get in the way. I tried one years ago but these days I just use the method I described above in response to Greg. Once you know how to use a plane properly like Paul you won’t really need a fence to get things square. Just use the plane and check with your square. Easy.

  4. Paul, this will be helpful as I have struggled with glue ups on occasion. I need to be more careful when I plane prior to glue up. In addition, I think I need to back off some on the amount of glue. Very helpful video. Thank you.

  5. Paul, I noticed you had filled the hollow center of your bar clamps with pieces of wood. No doubt to help stiffen them up. I like that. I always enjoy watching you work with planes. I don’t currently own one (a plane), but have had my eye on a Lee Valley 5-1/2 for quite a while.

  6. Woodworking is as near to geometry as human mind alowes it; and yet , a sharp tool and the pursuit for perfection makes -it so much closer…Thank you for showing me / us that.

  7. Thanks for your reply Paul! I’ll just have have to practice. Any tips for keeping the boars aligned without the biscuits. On the coffee table project I had a hard time keeping them aligned. Spent along a time after the glue up trying to correct the out of line boards with the plane. However, I’m much better at hand planing now :).


  8. So I’m in the garage working on my new workbench and trying to edge-join two 2x4s together and I just keep making it worse. Then I remember, “There’s a Paul Sellers video on that”. Re-watching this set me straight again.

    You’re a living library mate. Thanks.

  9. Paul,
    I read somewhere you were going to do a review of Silverline planes. I received one today, a #7 jointer. It would make a great doorstop. It reinforces the belief that if you buy cheap, you buy twice!
    The sole has a 13 thou concavity, after 75 minutes on 80 grit and a marble slab, I’ve got that down to 6 thou. It has a 4 thou twist. I’ll get it flat and twist free with a bit of elbow grease. The sides are at 90 deg to the sole. The frog is a very poor casting with a lump missing from the side and the holes for the fixing screws oversized and not machined at all. The cap iron screw is loose, very loose. The lever cap finish is poor and the screws are all damaged as if they have been fitted with a worn screwdriver. The blade shows no attempt to be sharpened and the cap iron contacts the blade on the wrong corner. The front knob has a puddle of varnish on it as if it was left on its side after coating. The rear tote is OK. The frog adjusting screw has been inserted at an angle but that aids access! The frog was rusty. The rear of the mouth is very rough. The blade adjusting yoke was spread so wide, it located outwith the machined groove on the brass adjuster wheel and would not adjust. A squeeze with pliers sorted it. The yoke is a two part very flimsy piece of rubbish.
    Overall, I got exactly what I deserve for paying just less than £20 including postage sold as new in damaged packaging. I think someone may have looked at it and returned it as unfit for use. However, if we ignore all the cosmetic things and fettle it as I would expect to do with any second hand plane, strip the wooden parts and give them a coat or two of oil, then I will have A working plane, I will keep my eye out for a good Stanley and inspect it before I buy it.
    Please take the above a constructive comment, The plane will work, but it will take several hours work to get it flat and tuned. Being retired, that’s not an issue for me, but for a tradesman it would be better to buy a Stanley and earn money using it.
    Thanks for your input to this as without it, I would not have known how to tune a plane.

  10. Excellent video as always. I have a question about the use of biscuits when edge joining thick stock. I have 1 5/8″ thick soft maple that I will be creating a 40″ dining table. Would you recommend biscuits to be used and if so do you have any techniques you could share other than using a biscuit joiner? Also was thinking of running some metal brackets through the bottom of the wood to assist in preventing the top from bowing. What are your thoughts/techniques recommended? Thank you.

    1. Hello Adam,
      Generally we don’t feel that biscuits are necessary. The frame of the table usually holds down the top and helps to prevent bowing, as well as making sure your stock is stable before you start. Laminating the top can also aid stability.

      1. Hi Philip

        Thank you for your response and insight to this!

        What are you referring to when you say the frame of the table? I am using a tresle base to secure the tabletop to, is the base what you refer to for the frame?

        Yes I will be confirming the stock is level, square and without twist or bows prior to glue up.

        Thanks again!

        1. Hello Adam, the frame I was referring to is the apron that it is common to have on tables. Turnbuttons are then used to hold the top to the apron while allowing some movement. If you have a trestle base, this may be different, depending on how it holds down the tabletop.
          Best, Phil

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