When planing wood on the surface, the board is placed against the bench-stop, and the plane is worked in the direction of the grain as much as possible. This latter remark also applies to edge planing, but when this is being done it is generally more convenient to hold the wood by the bench-screw than in any other way.
When planing in the ordinary way the right hand holds the handle of a jack or trying plane, or the block just behind the iron with a smoother. The other hand holds and presses down the block in front of the mouth - fingers on one side, thumb on the other. The smoothing plane, if both hands are used with it, which is not always necessary, is from its small size held with the hand over the top front edge rather than over the top only. When drawing a large plane back do not press it on the wood, but ease the pressure and rather turn it a little over, so that more of the edge furthest away than of the whole sole is on the wood. The smoothing plane is so light that it almost naturally is lifted or eased from the wood when it is being drawn back.
If an edge is being planed, the trying plane or jointer, which is merely a long trying plane, is used, and is held in a somewhat different manner from that already described, at any rate so far as the left hand is concerned. The thumb is now placed on top with the fingers below, so that the finger-tips act as a kind of guide to keep the plane in position during the thrust. The smoothing plane should not be used on long straight edges, as it is too short.
Iron-soled planes run more easily when a little grease is used on them, so that some should always be handy. A piece of bacon rind does as well as anything, either for them or saws.
From the foregoing directions the way in which to use any other plane may be gathered, as in principle they are all alike.
As the scraper may be considered an adjunct to the plane the way to work it may be described here, and it should be remarked that its use is greater on hard wood than on soft. On the latter it is indeed seldom used, as it is not necessary and would only be a waste of time. The wood, as in planing, is placed against the bench -stop. Though a small tool both hands are used to work it. It is held with thumbs on one surface and the fingers on the other. Now, supposing the plate to be upright, slope the top edge forward so that the sharp angle of the bottom is in the best position for scraping. This is done by pushing the scraper forward and using considerable pressure. To hold the scraper in one hand and simply scrape about anyhow, as I have seen some amateurs do, is no use whatever. With a proper edge and proper use real good thin shavings are made. To scrape a large surface is hard work, and especially tiring to the thumbs. Though apparently simple, some knack is required to do the work thoroughly.
The use of the brace and bits is so obvious that it is only necessary to say that too great a pressure should not be exerted or the bits may be bent. The thinner and lighter the bit the less it will bear, but it is seldom anything is gained by using excessive pressure. One hand turns the brace while the other presses on the knob on top, though occasionally it is more convenient to place this against the worker's chest. In this position the base is kept more steady while being turned. At first a difficulty will be experienced in boring straightly, i.e., perpendicularly to the surface, but by a little practice this may soon be surmounted.
When boring right through a piece of wood with a centre-bit, bore from both sides in order to ensure clean edges. Bore first till the pin comes through on the opposite side. This gives the exact position in which to place the bit when boring through from the reverse. If the wood is very thin place a waste piece underneath it, and in any case the pressure for the last few turns should be light to prevent the clearing or bent edge tearing into the wood.
The use of the winding sticks may not be clear to the novice, and as they are of considerable importance, especially when planing, and may be used for other purposes, such as testing door frames, though an accurate worker hardly needs them for the latter, it may be well to give an explanation about them here. It will be noticed that some boards are twisted, not merely hollow or rounded across their width, but lengthwise. Lay such a board on a bench top or other flat surface and it will not lie level, one corner will be up. Such a board is said to be 'in winding.' To make the meaning of 'in winding' clear, as it does not simply mean that a board is bent equally in any direction, for it may rather be explained as part of a twist or screw given to the wood, let the novice take a board sufficiently long and thin to be slightly twistable. Two people now take hold of it at opposite ends and facing each other. Now let them try and twist the board by depressing it and raising it at opposite corners, when it will, though of course only temporarily, be 'in winding.'
To detect a slight winding is not always easy without some aid. This is got with the sticks. Place one across near one end of the board and one near the other. Now, on standing at either end and looking over the nearest strip, it will be very easy to see whether the two edges coincide or not. If they do not, but instead one appears higher than the other or sloping in different directions, the board is 'in winding.' Figs. 74 and 75 will make the position of the sticks clear. In the first, they are shown on the board looked at from above; in the second, as looked at from the end, showing that there is a twist in the wood.
Any winding of this sort must be removed by planing, and it will not be altogether easy for the novice to get such a board into workable order. It may be as well to say that a very much twisted board should be discarded when possible.