Shop Log

Rough Planing the Mahogany Tabletop

These two mahogany planks are too large and heavy for our machinery.  They must be planed by hand.  Jeff, visiting craftsman, used the finishing plane to reveal the figure and see how the wood would work . . . beautiful figure, sweet to work.

Jeff planing mahogany planks

We saw that we needed a scrub plane to remove material faster than the finishing plane or jointer plane could do.   On a window ledge in the showroom, we display some wooden body handplanes — antiques, although we have occasionally used some of them.  The longest plane on the ledge belonged to Leslie’s great, great grandfather, R. A. Wylie, who came to Texas after he was paroled at Appomattox.  I took it down and ground a curve in the blade so it would scoop a rather large shaving — or I hoped it would . . . and it did.

A scrub plane is a plane whose blade has a convex curve.

Gary Grinding Plane Blade

We used a square and a straightedge to find the high spots and leveled them by planing diagonally across the planks with the scrub plane.

Austin handplaning large mahogany table top

Austin Weeks, master craftsman, using a wooden plane that once belonged to his great, great, great grandfather to surface a mahogany plank from a magnificent tree, probably a hundred years older than the plane.

Austin Planing Mahogany Planks