Episode #28: Edge Jointing – The Match Planing Method

To make edge joints by hand for gluing multiple boards into wide panels, you have a couple of choices. The first is to plane the edges of the boards meant to be joined straight and square to the reference faces. I talked about how to do this in Episode # 27. If done correctly, this will result in a nice flat panel. If you are more familiar with machine methods for making edge joints, this method will sound familiar to you because it’s the same basic principle used when making the joint on the power jointer. However, when making the joint by hand in relatively thin stock (like around 1″ thick or less), we can take a short cut by match planing the boards, or planing both edges simultaneously. It’s faster, and the edges don’t need to be perfectly square to the faces like they do when using the first method (they do still need to be straight though). It’s still important to know how to square a board’s edge to the face (it’s a basic skill everyone should learn in my opinion), but it’s not necessary to do it in every situation.


 

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Episode #28: Edge Jointing – The Match Planing Method

  1. Nice video Bob. I’ve used this technique before. I never realized it was also called “match planing.” I always took “match planing” to mean using match planes (tongue-and-groove). It sort of makes sense to use the same term for both as the desired outcome is essentially the same. It makes me wonder if their is a difference in the language over time.

    • Swirt,
      I’m sure there are language differences over time. Many of the tools and techniques we use actually got their names/terms from adaptatations of other languages. It’s a whole discipline of study in itself.

    • Jay,
      I don’t use the spring joint, I plane all my edge joints flat. Never had a problem with the ends opening up. I think the spring joint solves a problem that really doesn’t exist if one uses lumber that has been properly dried and prepared. Still, there’s nothing wrong with the spring joint, except you cannot do a rub joint with sprung edges. In order to make a proper, strong rub joint, the edges have to be dead straight. I like the rub joint as opposed to clamping my panels, so I don’t use a spring joint.

  2. Two really good episodes Bob, very informative. Of course I’ve read them on the blog, but to see it in action is even better.

  3. Hey Rob. Liked how you match joint the edges, I use a similar method with machines (Festool). I place two edges together and then run my TS saw in the middle, then I open the faces like you did and finish it with my Lie Nielsen nbr. 8 for a perfect as I can joint.

    My question is, what about?
    Matching also the type of grain face and at the same time reversing the growth rings so the boards compensate each other during the seasons?

    I use a lot of ALder and it gets difficult creating panels because on one side the grain lines will be “fatter” than the other with cleaner lines.

    Matching:
    1. Grain direction
    2. Alternating the direction of the growth rings.
    3. Matching the thickness of the grain displayed on the face.

    This gets intense.

    Where do you compromise?

    • Hi Bobby,
      The aesthetics of the finished panel are most important to me if the entire panel will show. If the joint will be hidden in the finished piece, like it will with the two boards in this video, then I just make sure that the face grain direction is the same at the joint to make planing the finished panel and leveling the joint easier. I do my best to match the direction of the face grain so that the grain in the finished panel runs in the same direction at the joint. Sometimes I can accomplish this, sometimes I can’t. Aesthetics always wins if the finished panel will be seen.

      I don’t worry at all about alternating the growth ring direction on adjacent boards. I’ve found that it really doesn’t matter. If the panel is going to cup, it’s going to do it whether you alternate the growth rings or not. If you alternate the rings, you just end up with an “S” curved panel instead of a cupped one. Neither is desirable, but you can’t prevent wood movement, you can only plan for it.

      Instead, I choose my stock for wide panels carefully at the lumber yard to try and avoid the problem with cupping in the first place. I try to start with the straightest and flattest rough sawn boards I can get. Then I don’t worry about the growth ring direction. I’ve found that boards that start out relatively flat and straight in the rough, usually tend to stay that way after sawing and planing (in general, but there are always exceptions). On the other side of the coin, I’ve found that boards that are significantly cupped or bowed in the rough often revert to that state even after being sawn and planed straight and flat. I think reaction wood/internal stress is more of a culprit than moisture when it comes to properly dried lumber. So I avoid all but the straightest and flattest rough sawn boards.

      To me, it’s much more important that the grain match in the finished panel look good rather than alternating the growth rings on adjacent boards. If they alternate, that’s fine, but I don’t try to do it intentionally. They end up however the grain match looks best.

      So to summarize, in order of importance, I try to:
      1. Get the best aesthetic grain match for the finished panel. In the finished piece, the appearance is the most important thing.
      2. Align the face grain direction at the joint for easier planing and joint leveling in the finished panel. But not at the expense of the best aesthetics.
      3. Alternate the growth rings, though I really don’t conciously do this. They typically just end up however they fall based on meeting my goals for #1 and #2.

  4. Hi Bob,

    Great podcast!!! Thanks for the great tips on hollowing out the center before edge planning the boards. I also like the tip on the cabinet makers triangle. I had to glue 2 boards to make a panel, and followed these tips, and it was the best edge joining I have ever done. I was amazed how well the boards lined up. When I went to glue the panels, I didn’t have to use half the amount of pressure on the clamps that I have had to use in the past.

    Scott

    • That’s great! Glad the video helped you. I think this technique is great and still use it constantly. Most of these joints weren’t even clamped in period shops. For smaller joints and few boards, a rub joint with hot hide glue was all that was required.

Comments are closed.