The Try Plane

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7 thoughts on “The Try Plane

    • Bob,
      I would say the mouth is pretty open. Most old wooden planes I have and have seen have what would be considered today to be a very open mouth. They need to be able to pass a fairly thick shaving by today’s standards. Also, wooden plane’s throats tend to be more open because the shavings need to travel farther to exit than they do in a metal plane. Honestly, for our well behaved domestic hardwoods, I haven’t found an open mouth to be problematic in use. For figured woods (tiger maple, etc.) a tight mouthed smoother helps, but I typiclaly scrape these woods to ensure a tearout free surface when one is needed.

  1. Hello Bob:

    What process should we do after flatten the board surface by trying plane with camber iron blade to pursue a “real” flat surface?Using trying plane with straight blade and flatten again?

    • Bob,
      I think you will find that most furniture surfaces you think are flat, really aren’t “real” flat, like you would expect from a piece of mdf or plywood (I’m talking about hand planed furniture surfaces here, not factory flat sanded stuff). To remove the scallops from the try plane, which are, or at least should be, very shallow, I use a smoothing plane with even less camber. My smooth plane has probably about 1-2 thousandths of an inch of camber at each corner. Some folks don’t camber their smooth planes but instead just round the corners off of an otherwise straight iron. In either case, the idea is to remove the corners of the iron from the cut so as not to leave any kind of track from the plane. If the iron were dead straight with no relief of the corners, then the corners of the iron would cut small ridges, which defeats the purpose of smoothing. I only do this with show surfaces that need to be really flawless though. For parts that just need to be flat enough for joinery, but not necessarily show surfaces, I stop at the try plane. The scallops left from the try plane are shallow enough that they aren’t really visible, but you can feel them.

  2. Thank you for this article Bob. It definitely clears up confusion I had between try and jointer planes. Especially the part about cambering the iron.

  3. I started reading this article just because it was there and I found it in search, but then I got to the part where you differentiate between the trying and jointer planes and I fully expected to disagree with you and pout about it. I’ve been taught that try and jointer were the same plane. Upon reading further, I saw the reasoning (I’ve also read Moxon where he uses some of the same terms to describe trying as you have, but I didn’t put any thought into his word choice), and I honestly can’t say that I disagree with you. In fact I may jump ship and set up my tent in your camp.

    How one could edge joint with a cambered iron really did vex me a little. I never did quite buy that anyone really did this. I have been using a metal #5 with a straight iron for it since I really haven’t made anything longer than about a foot on an edge.

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