Fixed-width Panel Raiser

panelraiserNov13Build a plane that cuts smooth and crisp raised panels with, against or across the grain – the magic is in the spring and skew.

by Willard Anderson
pages 24-31
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Panel-raising planes are used to shape the raised panels in doors, paneling and lids. The profile has a fillet that defines the field of the panel, a sloped bevel to act as a frame for the field and a flat tongue that fits into the groove of the door or lid frame.

I’ve studied panel-raising planes made circa the late 18th and early 19th centuries, including one made by Aaron Smith, who was active in Rehoboth, Mass., from 1790 to 1823 (Smith may have apprenticed with Joseph Fuller who was one of the most prolific of the early planemakers), and another similar example that has no maker’s mark.

Both are single-iron planes with almost identical dimensions, profiles and handles. They differ only in the spring angles (the tilt of the plane off vertical) and skew of the iron (which creates a slicing cut across the grain to reduce tear-out).

The bed angle of the Smith plane is 46º, and the iron is skewed at 32º. Combined, these improve the quality of cut without changing the tool’s cutting angle – which is what happens if you skew a standard bench plane.

The two planes have a fixed integral fence and no nicker. The right edge of the profile is non-cutting and acts as a depth stop. The left edge (also non-cutting) acts as the fence.
This panel-raising plane is designed to be held at a spring angle of 19º and is well suited to work with material that is 5⁄8″ to 3⁄4″ thick. The heel of the Smith plane is stamped “9⁄8 * 1⁄16″,” which corresponds to a profile width of 13⁄16″.

Blog: How to Shape a Panel-raiser Plane Iron.”
Blog: Take a look inside Bill Anderson’s Edwards Mountain Woodworks.
Article: Learn three additional ways to make raised panels in this free article.
In Our Store: Pick up a copy of the new book “Woodworker’s Guide to Handplanes.”
To Buy: Hock Tools sells blade blanks for this plane.

From the November 2013 issue #207
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