Today I was preparing wood that will become dulcimer necks and fingerboards. I am also preparing stock for the frame of a contemporary style of begena I am making for my friend and fellow musician Temesgen. You should check out Temesgen’s page and listen to his music!
A piece of wood can only be hand-planed as flat as the surface beneath it. Even a slight warp in the top of the bench will create a concave or convex surface on the final work.
Part of my regular shop maintenance is planing the top of my bench flat once or twice a year. I am currently unable to do this as it would put too much stress on my back and legs. In a few months I should be able to level the bench top but I have work to do until then!
The stock I needed to plane was long and narrow. It came to me that all I needed was a flat surface long and wide enough to plane the work at hand.
My solution was to take a long 2 X 4 of quartersawn oak I had lying around the shop and turn it into a planing surface. I trued up the surface and drilled a hole for a dowel that serves as a bench stop. I clamped the oak beam to the bench top using bench dogs and the end vise.
This setup worked so well that I will probably keep using it even after I level the bench top!
The plane is my old #7 retrofitted with a thick blade and cap iron.
I love hand planning!