Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tail Vise vs. Planing Stop

This morning I was prepping some base moulding for a commission I'm working one.

Basswood is easy to plane, but it has grain direction just like any wood. And you can get tearout. Your iron has to be sharp too, even though the wood is soft. It's like trying to cut a marshmallow with a dull knife.

So when you get tearout in some reversing grain on a long board, what do you do? You turn the board around and plane from the other direction in that area. But gosh, I'm lazier than that. Moving that long board, even without it clamped in a tail vise is a pain. So I just put the plane in my left hand and pull the plane Japanese-style. With a tail vise you in effect have resistance at each end of the board. Try that with a planing stop.


  1. When I was in college, and played a lot more pool, I got tired of trying to shoot with the cue behind my back when I had awkward shots.

    So I found this small hotel (it was a small town college in northern MO) that had a great pool table in their "bar" area with hourly pool rates and spent a few hours every Sunday afternoon playing pool left-handed.

    Then, when I came across those awkward right-handed shots, I could just switch to shooting left-handed and it was no big deal.

    So I wonder... does the same concept translate easily with hand planes?

  2. That's actually a great exercise in woodworking too. I plane left-handed frequently. It's very efficient. I also pull western style planes on occasion too. Come to think of it, there are all sorts of crazy positions I get myself into when using planes. That would make for a good article.


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