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The George Blog – Trying plane & Comments

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Trying plane

I'm making some kitchen countertops from 230mm x 20mm (9" x 3/4") Hard White Maple. The boards are about 3.000m (10') long – far to long for my little surface planer (jointer) to straighten the edges.

So, for the first time in about 40 years I got out my steel trying plane (a trying plane is the longest hand plane in general use at about 450mm/18" long), to plane the edges straight and square ready to be biscuit-jointed and glued together.

Building traditional carvel yachts often required the edges of a plank some 12m (40') long to be faired and a trying plane was a good tool for that job – but they didn't have to fit with quite the accuracy of a visible glued join in a kitchen counter top!

The most accurate/difficult job on these traditional boats was the coachroof/doghouse/cockpit coamings, which were often constructed from a single length of 25mm (1") Iroko, perhaps 10m (32') long, joined up from two widths, with vertical grain styles between the doghouse windows. Anyway, the trying plane came into use on those too.

The first countertop is glued up (I used WEST) and my shoulders ache! Another, longer one, to do tomorrow ...

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