I Need Something Like a Ruler
Several years back I was fitting some 1/4″-thick mullions and muntins into a door and needed to plane the little suckers to remove their sawmarks.
Planing thin stock can be a real pain. I’ve seen how other craftsmen do it. Lonnie Bird drives escutcheon pins into his benchtop (or a planing board) and works against those. It’s a neat trick. David Charlesworth attaches the stock to a planing board temporarily with cyanoacrylate. This is fantastic for long stock especially.
Here’s how I came up with my method. I like to use planing stops because they are fast. And as I was considering how to plane these little nubbins of wood I was staring off into space outside my shop window and the tool rack hanging before it.
I remember thinking to myself: “For this planing stop, I need a really thin and rigid piece of material. Something with really square edges so they’ll grab the work. I need something like a steel ruler.”
So I searched over the junk pile in the window well behind my bench. (Note: This is my secret shame area. Though I don’t have a tool well in my bench I have a junky window well instead.)
None of the little bits of wood in the window well fit the bill. They were too thick or their edges weren’t crisp. Then it occurred to me: Hey moron, why not use a steel ruler?
And so I did, and I continue to use my slender 12″ Shinwa to this day. It works great. I clamp it to the bench and go to town. And now to go get some ginseng.