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I have tried and tried to plane down to .035 with  a lot of breakage. I decided to try sanding after  I plane down to around .045. The taper seems more consistent and there is no scaring of the cane, that is there are no visible lines because I am using 150 grit. I have more control of the actual size and the pressure is light so I don't break it. I don't see this solution in my books.   I may have missed it. I do have a scraper but it is a plane that breaks these tiny tips, too. I do a lot better with the larger tapers. I am building a three section and have never had to go so small.  Do some of you more experienced guys see a problem with sanding instead of planing? Is it cheating? (LOL) I know someone sells sanding blocks but how are they used? What grit?  (Rex Tutor)

    Nothing wrong with sanding, if you can make it work.  I have often used my little 6" mill file for troublesome node areas that don't want to plane nicely, and I would trust the flatness of its surface over that of blocked sandpaper.

    But wait.  Why are you having trouble planing down to .035?   Really, you ought to be able to plane down to absolutely ANY thickness without difficulty -- even right out to a feather edge.  Thickness itself shouldn't be an issue.  Something else is going wrong.

    At the risk of being insulting, I'm wondering if perhaps your plane iron is truly sharp.  Or, again, maybe you are trying to take too much off in the final passes.   (A shaving of .002"- .004"  is a great plenty, and less is better).  Or, perhaps the throat of your plane needs to be adjusted to its narrowest opening.

    Also, I might add that for the final .010" I have always shifted over to my little Lie-Nelson bronze plane.  It is small, has a great iron, and the "feel" of it in my hand is almost like touching the cane itself.  You can really sense how the plane is moving through the cane.  Also, with a freshly sharpened iron, precise shavings of nearly .001" are possible.  (Bill Harms)


I have been playing around in the garage for the past two years attempting to get started. OK, I did more then attempt to. I have completed 1 to the point where I need to varnish and just have not done that yet. Not sure why I guess I just wanted to get back on bench with the next rod.

On my next rod I am having a heck of a time with my TIP's. I want to make is a Sir D but near the end of the tips I always end up digging out too much cane. That got me thinking..................

When you guys first started out what did you final plane first?  (Scott Wolfe)

    The butt strips in my case 

    By the time you plane the six butt strips, you will get the feel of planing. You might have the cut set too deep or the throat open too much or both on your plane. Plane down close to the form and scrape the rest with single edge razor blades.  (Tony Spezio)

    I did my butt section first.  My logic was if I really messed up, I could plane some more and make them into tips  :)   I am not overly happy with the fit - but most of the bad messes are under the handle and reel seat, so it looks OK.

    For the tip section, I removed the last 3 to 5 thousandths with a scraper rather than a plane.  Way slower, but this is a hobby for me (designed to keep me away from infernal computers).  The tip sections came out way better.  I bought a set of Lee Valley's small scrapers for a few $$ and sharpened them on a piece of 400 grit paper and then gave them an edge on a SS bolt on my bench.  Not much or a burr, but it worked well and was cheap.  I found that very little pressure worked best.  Yes, I really want one of those nice scrapers from Lie-Nielsen, but the Lee Valley ones were easier on the wallet.  I will work on convincing myself over the winter. (Greg Dawson)


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