Jumpin’ Jack Flash


I thought of titling this post ‘Why you don’t need a planer thicknesser or a gym membership’ but it didn’t seem quite as snappy. I spent the majority of the day getting stock to thickness traversing boards with my trusty L-N 5 1/2 jack.  No sane professional would do this as sane professionals own a planer-thicknesser and have a gym membership.  Do I need to workout? Nope.  Traversing with my jack and then taking passes lengthways using the freight train that is my L-N No.8 Jointer (weighing in at 4.54 kg or 10 lbs for those of an imperial persuasion) is workout enough for a couple of hours.

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I blame myself: I insisted on buying rough sawn stock from the affable David and Andy at Interesting Timbers in Radstock near Bath.  I first broke it down last weekend with my big, nasty Disston D8 (note: no beard, no check shirt…).  I had picked up the Cherry for this box and had also spied some really lovely Elm lying unloved at the bottom of a stack. It is worth the trip as David really does always have something worth having.  I just don’t drive a truck big enough…

Back to the box: taking the sides to size was reasonable enough (as you have sen these are already completed) as I was going from 25 mm (1″) thick stock down to 19 mm (3/4″) but, the top and bottom of the box needed to be much thinner: 10 mm for the bottom, 9 mm for the top.

I set my jack for a very heavy cut across the board and this was the result: really chunky shavings. The board thickness came down very quickly thanks to the blade setting and by keeping the sole well waxed (you do wax your sole don’t you?).  I made sure to use my little block plane to keep a chamfer on the long edges to prevent spelching and to regularly rotate the board as it is easy to take more of the far edge than the near one.


Next I will be cutting the grooves for the lid and the base to sit in. Back to making some goulash with Debrenecer sausage…

– Paul Mayon


2 thoughts on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash

  1. I tend to favor sawing if I have to plane more than 1/4 inch off a wide board. I think it ends up easier in the long run.

    • Very true – sawing can work very well – but you would be surprised at how quick the thickness came down tho’ – maybe 1/16″ thickness shavings on each pass due to the severely cambered blade. I have never had the results I really wanted from re-sawing using a hand saw.

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