Monday, May 17, 2010

Planing Small Parts

I'm inlaying a French knot of walnut into cork flooring.  As you can see, there are a lot of short parts between the long runs.  Small parts are 100-300mm typically with a miter cut on one or both ends.  Parts are just 5mm thick  (BTW, the picture shows the parts sitting in the recess... they aren't pushed down yet... I ain't done yet!)

The strips were cut on the bandsaw from a scrap piece of walnut.  That piece was so bowed you could poke someone with it from around a corner.  Normally, I'd cut a strip on the bandsaw then plane the exposed surface to remove the bandsaw marks then cut another.  Planing this piece was awkward so I decided to do it after the pieces were cut.  Now, how do you clamp such a thing to a bench to give it a swipe of a block plane?!

What I did was take a piece of MDF and routed a groove about as long as the longest piece in the knot (longer pieces between knots can be done in segments on a bench).  The groove depth is about 2mm leaving 3mm above the board.  Clamp this block to the bench however you like and set the small pieces in it for easy planing.
Note that I intentionally routed the groove longer on the two outside edges so the mitered end could poke into the void and not damage the point.

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