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Fail to Succeed: My Flawed Sticking Board Journey

Updated: Jun 6

If you've ever tried planing moldings or non-flat shapes with hand tools, you know how frustrating it can be when your parts keep shifting as you work.


That's where the sticking board comes in.


But as I learned the hard way, there's a right way and a wrong way to make one. From cheap materials to design flaws, my initial attempt was a failure that had my parts shooting off the bench.


OverTime 8.3 explores what I did wrong and where you can go to learn how to do it right.





When I'm filming The Hand Tool Practice I do my best to show as much as I can without step-by-step narration.


But sometimes there's a nuanced topic that could use some explaining or I get a really good question from a viewer.


This video refers to:


You can find the other OverTime videos from HTP8 here:


 

Transcript


If you don't think you have time to get anything done with your hand tools in the shop, you might want to consider picking up The Hand Tool Practice.


Just spend a little bit of time on a regular basis with your tools in your shop and those small chunks of time will add up to a finished project.


But this is not the hand tool practice. This is overtime.


Overtime 8.3 - The Sticking Board


What's a Sticking Board, and why do you need one?

We're going to talk about this thing you might have seen me struggling with in the video. This is a sticking board and I first learned about sticking boards in this book by Matthew Bickford.


The reason I needed an apparatus like this while I was making this part is it's essentially the shape of a molding. It's not flat so I'm not going to be just pushing down and forward as I'm planing it. I need to also push away for myself.

So I needed something to push against and that's what the sticking board gave me that extra dimension to push in.


What did I do wrong?

When I made it, I didn't do a very good job.


First I picked the wrong materials. This plywood is too thin and it's bowed. Had I been thinking, maybe had I not been so cheap and just went and got some better material, but had I been thinking about it, the crown of this bow is in the center on the top of the board.


Flying parts

And so when I put the part down, it was wobbling like this. I put the plane down on this end of the part, that end would pop up. And when I just had this little piece of walnut down here, it would skip over the top and the part would shoot off the end of the bench.


If I had gotten lucky, I would have had the crown facing down in the middle of the board and then the part would have been touching on either end no matter where I was and because it's thin, you know, as I plain it would have flattened itself out.


A short term fix

So part way through, I decided to put a screw in here, which is something that Matt talks about in his book. And I filed it to a point so that the end of the part would bite, the screw would bite into the end of the part. And it would act as kind of like a toothplaning stop in my bench.


That helped.


A long term fix

But I think what I need to do is just throw this away and make a new one.


And funnily enough, a few days after I put that video out, Lost Art Press published the appendix in the book that covers how to make a good sticking board. So maybe Chris and Megan are watching over there.


Hmm, maybe not.


So you don't have to buy the book. I'll put a link to the blog post where they talk all about what you need to know to make a good sticking board.


 

Appearing in this video:


Classic Stanley Hand Tools T-Shirt - Dark Grey Heather - L https://www.jointeffort.net/product-page/hand-tools-classic-stanley-style

No. 62 Low Angle Jack from Lie-Nielsen https://www.lie-nielsen.com/products/low-angle-jack-plane


Items noted with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. You'll pay the same price and support my work when I receive a small commission from the retailer.



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