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Thread: Finger plane question

  1. #1

    Default Finger plane question

    The next thing I want in my luthier tool box is a finger plane. I know I'll end up with a few, but which size one first and flat or curved blade. If at least two are essential, which and why?
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  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    I use a 12mm most, but I find that the 10mm is about equally useful. I use convex sole finger planes, but I have and use a flat sole palm plane. I think I would be just as well off, or better off with a convex palm plane rather than flat as well.

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  4. #3
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    I have 3, all convex, 8, 12 and 18mm. The 18 gets used the most, then the 12 and the 8 only around the fingerboard on oval hole mandolins.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    I think you'll find that every luthier has his/her favourite so you will have to discover yours through some trial and error. For what it's worth, my favourite fingerplane, out of about a half dozen or so that I have, is an 18mm GEWA brand plane with a spoon sole. I use it for about 90% of all my fingerplane needs. I like it even more now that I made a new wedge for it that makes it much easier to use and practically eliminates blisters. It has just the right amount of curvature for me and the blade fills the the whole width of the mouth which drastically reduces clogging. It can be a little bit of a pain to adjust just right but I put up with this because it just works so well otherwise.



    Next after that I use my GEWA 12mm convex plane for some tight spots and a 22mm flat bottom plane for such jobs as planing an even height on the perimeter of the plates to allow for routing of the binding rabbet and for shaving down the linings before final leveling on a sanding plate.



    I bought one of the fancy finger planes from Lee Valley with the adjustable palm rest and was very underwhelmed. I ended up grinding a fair bit off of the "toe" and the sides and it certainly improved it but I still only use it occasionally. For my liking, it has numerous problems the biggest of which is way too much curvature of the sole. I know of another luthier who loves them. Go figure.
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    that headstock shape is absolutely beautiful Mr Apitius!
    love the inlay as well.

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  7. #6
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    Years ago someone posted some pictures on how they made their own finger planes. Anyone remember that?
    I am no pro but found on the few necks I have carved the 12 and 18 mm curved bottoms was easier for me to use and control than the flat one. I cleaned them up with scrapers at the end and then a very fine sand paper. I wonder if a narrower flat would have been as easy as the convex wider ones. The early bit of neck shaping was done with a draw knife certainly needs to be sharp and a bit of practice but I love it.
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    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    that headstock shape is absolutely beautiful Mr Apitius!
    love the inlay as well.

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    Thanks Daryl. The inlay (a Great Blue Heron) was actually designed by the customer of this "Club Jazz" model. I executed it using various shell types, 18k gold for the beak and eyeball and Sterling silver for the head plumage.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    I've been trying to come up with a blue heron inlay idea, since I live next to a creek frequented by blue herons (just up the road is the Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast). That looks like a design that I might be able to use for inspiration.

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    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    I've been trying to come up with a blue heron inlay idea, since I live next to a creek frequented by blue herons (just up the road is the Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast). That looks like a design that I might be able to use for inspiration.
    Hey John, I also happen to live near a Blue Heron hatchery. (A natural nesting area) It is in the woods along the Beaver River which is quite navigable by canoe. If I didn't see it, I never would have believed that these great birds nest in the trees of a dense forest and can fly between the trees with unbelievable ease.

    If you like, I could ask my customer if he would mind if I forwarded his drawings to you.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    That would be great, Oliver. I probably wouldn't "rip it off" exactly, just use it for a model.
    Yes, the herons fly overhead and up and down the creek here, day and night, sometimes making that prehistoric call. We sometimes refer to them as pterodactyls.

  12. #11
    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    That would be great, Oliver. I probably wouldn't "rip it off" exactly, just use it for a model.
    Yes, the herons fly overhead and up and down the creek here, day and night, sometimes making that prehistoric call. We sometimes refer to them as pterodactyls.
    I sent you a PM.
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  13. #12

    Default Re: Finger plane question

    I made a set of finger planes not too long ago. I even made a toothed blade for one of them. You can check out my thread below.
    so far I have really been liking the smallest double convex plane (8mm). the smaller ones I've made seem to remove a lot of material quickly since it can gouge out deeper channels. If it's too small though it can get stuck in it's own rut if you know what I mean.
    These things cost almost nothing to make and I though the process was fun. You can make any size you want. I'm sure they won't last as long as a nice professional brass plane body but it suits my needs very well.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...n-making-tools

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  15. #13

    Default Re: Finger plane question

    Get one of the mid sized Ibex and put your own handle on it; they are the "gateway plane". The toothed blade is a must for curly maple. I find a small scraper more useful for the delicate recurve work than a plane.

    Ask ten builders and you'll get 25 different responses....
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    Get one of the mid sized Ibex and put your own handle on it; they are the "gateway plane". The toothed blade is a must for curly maple. I find a small scraper more useful for the delicate recurve work than a plane.

    Ask ten builders and you'll get 25 different responses....
    James, that's a really nice treatment on the Ibex. So nice that I'm making one for my plane. Dumb question: Did you epoxy that handle to the plane body, or does it just slip on? Thanks!
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  17. #15

    Default Re: Finger plane question

    I cut sort of a mortise & tennon in the back of the plane ad the used superglue to hold everything together....
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  19. #16

    Default Re: Finger plane question

    ".....ad the...."

    Looks like my N is on the way out; 'should me corrected to "....and then...."....

  20. #17
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    Years ago someone posted some pictures on how they made their own finger planes. Anyone remember that?
    Wooden ones are easy to make, though there needs to be some sort of sole plate because all the wear is concentrated on a very small area. I usually inlay some boxwood or vitae on the bottom.
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    Years ago someone posted some pictures on how they made their own finger planes. Anyone remember that?
    dunwellguitar FingerPlanes

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  24. #19
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger plane question

    Quote Originally Posted by bennyb View Post
    That's the one!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

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