Step 4: Remove the Twist and Flatten the Board Face
Place your straight edge on the high corners to verify how much wood still needs to be removed with your wood plane.
Use a longer fore plane (No. 6) or jointer plane (No. 7 or No. 8) to remove the high corners and check your progress with a straight edge.
If you are getting “tear-out”, that means that you are hand planing against the grain. Flip your board around and hand plane in the other direction.
Below are several Stanley plane options for hand planes for flattening the board’s face (from left to right): A Stanley No. 6 “Fore Plane”, a Stanley No. 7 “Jointer Plane”, a Stanley No. 8 “Jointer Plane”, and an 18th century style wooden jointer plane (I built it, so it’s my favorite!):
Your shavings will still be somewhat heavy in this step, but not nearly as heavy as with the scrubbing plane / jack plane.
Just don’t remove too much wood on the corners or you’ll have to lower the rest of the board to match your new low corners. Once the straight edge lies flat across the previously-higher corners, move onto flattening the rest of the board face.
The longer hand plane will uniformly bring the surface downward, skipping all the valleys that a smaller hand plane would fall into. As you’re hand planing be conscious about not introducing a lengthwise arc.
Hand Planing 101 Tip:
Here’s how to avoid getting “valleys” in the middle of your board when hand planing: When your hand plane starts on the board, keep the downward pressure on the front knob of the handplane only:
When your handplane is in the middle of the board push downward on both the front knob and the rear handle (or tote):
When the front of your handplane moves over the edge of the board, remove the downward pressure from the front knob, and only push downward on the rear handle. For practice you can even remove your hand from the front knob:
Use diagonal hand plane passes, then lengthwise passes, periodically using a straight edge and your winding sticks to check your progress toward perfect flatness.
When you’re getting full length and full width wood shavings, and your board’s face starts to look flat and smooth, then you’ll know that the first board face is about ready.
The straight edge should show no gaps no matter which way you turn it on the board’s face: