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It’s an intriguing thing that theories often become established facts yet have only minimal research to back up the stats. I wanted to approach this thing called overhead planing today, hoping I could present an alternative perspective. Just another view really. Last year I did a survey and polled our blog readers to get their perspective and to see how their benches worked for them considering core elements such as personal height, age, health and physical condition, impairments and so on. I’d like to open this up again for more current readers who may have missed it, to add their details to those we’ve already gathered. Please see list of Questions below:
In the past I have said that you shouldn’t really need a low bench to bear down on the board beneath the plane because a well sharpened, well set plane pulls itself to the wood. The other consideration is that the bench is used for much more at a the higher height and sub benches and equipment should not be necessary. We carried out tests on the bench to try to show that bench planes, in fact all planes, do indeed pull themselves ‘into” the wood as they are pushed forward over the surfaces being planes. I think this does help to see the theory proven. With the lightest of all practical bench planes, the #4, followed by the slightly heavier brother the #4 1/2, balanced on the surface of a board, I literally pulled the plane to see if the plane iron would bite into the wood and so pull itself to task. You can see the results for yourself:
Once again we need your help to determine the best bench heights. many hundreds of people reported improved health and welfare when the y increased the height of their personal benches from the recommended bench heights they had adopted or bought as standard.
Here are the definitive questions we feel will help establish factual considerations. The more contributors we have engaged in this, the more accurate the evaluation.
Please note, all questions are optional. Just fill in what you know or feel comfortable sharing. We aren’t asking for your name or email address (and we won’t try to work it out) so this will be entirely anonymous.