the Carpentry Way: A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (43)                                                          

A Ming-Inspired Cabinet (43)

In recent work, I edged-to-width and cross-cut the carcase boards. Soon it will be time to cut the dovetail joinery on the box corners, but I need to finish plane the boards which will have the pins on them ahead of time. Can't leave the boards with the slight amount of planer ripple on there now can we? More than that though - the boards which have the pins cut cannot be planed down after the joinery as it would loosen the joints. The tail boards, on the other hand, can be planed after the joinery is cut as it won't affect the fit. In any case, there are boards to plane, and they are tackled one by one. Areas exposed to view are given most of the attention, and areas which are hidden inside the cabinet are given a few passes and that's about it.

I start out with my Funahiro 'Tenkei' single blade plane, working my way across:

As the board is twice as wide as my planing beam, I take a run of shavings with the board shifted over to one side, then move the board and plane the adjacent run of material.

After a pass over every part of the face with the steeply bedded single blade plane, I then do a second finishing pass, a slightly lighter cut, with a standard 8-bu (38.66˚) slope plane with chip breaker:

The result is that all the planer marks are removed and the surface is left, in my dreams at least, crisply flat and clean.

I am fortunate to have several options to choose among for a standard type 70mm finishing plane - this time I opted for the Usui Kengo plane called 'Kenkon'. Like the Funahiro Tenkei, it uses Super Blue Steel, and goes one step further, being Vacuum Arc Remelted ('VAR') steel. This plane was last made in 2000 I believe - I bought mine as a lightly used example, that was sorta set up, but not especially well. I'm starting to get it a bit more tuned up now.

With two freshly sharpened blades, I can work two~three carcase board surfaces before I have to resharpen. Nice to have the chance to resharpen so frequently as it is a skill I am continually working to develop.

From time to time I am running my hand over the surface to see if there were any plane tracks to be felt:

It's hard to photograph surfaces to show the sheen, however I couldn't feel or see any track lines at all. That's the goal of finish planing, and sometimes I am lucky enough to realize that goal.

Towards the end of the work on face #2, I could sorta sense that tear out could maybe happen soon with the slightly dulled Usui plane so I finished off with the steeper plane in a small area, just to be safe. Best just to resharpen.

At least with VG bubinga you can plane it without too much fuss, while the rather more unruly curly bubinga is another matter. On all eight VG carcase boards I only had a couple of small areas with slight tear out, nothing along the lines of what could be described as traumatic.

Another one goes under the knife:

Trying to capture the surface, as usual, stymies my (largely non-existent) photography skills:

Another one:

What's this? Yep, another one:

Usui's plane makes a few more passes on the last board, last surface:

That was a workout! Bubinga is a far from an easy material to plane. I did the best that I could and the results seem satisfactory for the time being. As I handle the boards over the next while, and look at them in the right lighting conditions, I imagine I'll find spots on these boards needing further attention.

The side boards were then trimmed to finished length on the sliding saw.

Those side boards were then ready for the next step, namely layout:

All for this time my friends. Thanks for dropping by the CW blog. On to post 44.