Flat-Top Ripping Blade is King

Freud’s 24-tooth Heavy Duty Rip Blade (LM72M010) is what is installed in my table saw 90% of the time.  The blade has 24 teeth 0.126″ wide, ground flat on the top and pitched forwards at 20 degrees.  These characteristics make it the most versatile and most used saw blade in my shop.

Heavy Duty Rip Blade - Technical Specifications (from FreudTools.com) K= Kerf; P= Plate Thickness

As you would expect, this blade excels at ripping.  The 20-degree forward (positive) hook angle makes feeding stock past the blade easier and the blade leaves two clean surfaces requiring little, if any, further clean-up.  This blade also does a formidable job with cross-cuts too, especially when freshly sharpened.  (When I need a super-clean crosscut, I take the time to switch to a dedicated crosscut blade.)

For a 10″ circular saw, 24 teeth is not very many (they may have as few as four or as many as 90).  Having few teeth allows quicker, more aggressive cutting.  The trade-off is that the blade will tend to leave a rougher cut than a blade with more teeth.  In some cases, using a slower feed rate increases the quality of cut.  In other cases it only causes burning.

Freud Heavy Duty Rip Blade

The flat-top blade is useful for joinery.  Non-through cuts have square shoulders and flat bottoms, making cleanup unnecessary.  The blade has a regular kerf that is 0.126″ wide, just a little over 1/8″ (1/8″=0.125″).  This is 20% thicker than a thin-kerf blade which typically removes 3/32″ (0.09375″).  While a thicker kerf means it turns more wood into sawdust and requires more power to spin, it also means that only three passes are required to cut a 3/8″ wide groove versus four with a thin-kerf blade.

In addition to making joinery more convenient to cut, set-up is also quicker and easier.  Because each tooth is the same, the top or edge of any tooth can be referenced for accurate set-ups.  Another benefit to the tooth shape, which distributes the cutting duty over a wider surface, is that the teeth are also very durable and as a result, I need to have the blade sharpened less often.

There is a lot more information on saw blades on the Carbide Processors Inc. website.

Squirrel-Tail Palm Plane

I have many hand planes, but this Squirrel-Tail Palm Plane is among my most-used.

Squirrel-Tail Palm Plane

This plane is a very simple tool.  The investment-cast steel body incorporates a squirrel-tail handle that nestles in my palm and a divot on the toe where I can set my index finger.  The mouth width is non-adjustable.  Both the plane’s sole and blade’s back are lapped flat, making set-up of the tool easy.  Adjustments to the projection and skew of the blade are best done with light hammer taps and it is secured with a cogwheel screw.

I use this plane exclusively for rounding over and chamfering edges, so I set the blade of this plane much like I do for my spokeshave when working on rounded parts.  Instead of setting the blade so that it projects evenly on each side, I intentionally skew the blade, giving me a variable depth of cut.  This way, I can quickly begin to establish the round-over or chamfer using the left side of the blade.  Then, by simply sliding the plane sideways to engage the other edge of the blade, I can fine-tune the shape.  No adjustments are required.

I chose this plane for the task because it is small and lightweight, which allows an easy, one-handed grip.  This is how I grip the plane.

Having a small plane dedicated to chamfering and rounding over edges is certainly not necessary, but it is very convenient.

WoodRiver #5 V3 Bench Plane Review – In Use

My LAST POST showed what the hand plane looked like out of the box.  This post shows what the plane was able to do.

While setting up the plane, I took note of the slop in the lateral- and depth-adjusters.  The depth adjuster had 3/4 of a turn of slop and the lateral adjuster had a little side-to-side play.

Lateral Adjuster Play

I honed the bevel up to 15,000-grit on a Shapton stone.  This process took about two minutes.  I then reassembled the plane and surfaced a board of beech.  This was the reflection I saw when I looked down the board’s length.

Beech, After Handplaning with Honed Bevel

The plane made shavings like these.


To further increase the performance of the plane, I then lapped the back of the blade.  It took 12 minutes to bring the blade to this degree of flatness.  At this stage, the blade was flat enough to be usable, but there was still a large hollow in the center.

Adeqately Flattened Back

Six more minutes of lapping erased the hollow and I was able to bring up the polish.

Completely Flattened Back

I then reinstalled the blade and surfaced the beech board once again.  The polish of the planed board after having lapped the back was noticeably better.

Beech, After Handplaning with Honed Bevel and Lapped Back

I took this shot for fun.

WoodRiver #5 V3 Handplane

Remember the grease I wiped off as soon as I got the plane?  Within a week of returning home to the Westcoast, I found that the sole already had rust spots.  I cleaned the rust off and applied a coat of Boeshield, something I should have done right away.

WoodRiver #5 V3 Bench Plane Review – Unpackaged

A couple months ago, while visiting some friends in Arizona, I went to a Woodcraft store and bought a WoodRiver #5 V3 bench plane.  While I don’t need any more bench planes, I was curious to see just how good the much-talked-about WoodRiver planes really were.  From what I have read, Version 3 (V3) is drastically better than the previous two versions.

The purpose of this article is to show what the V3 plane looked like out of the box.

After taking the plane out of the package, the first thing I did was disassemble the plane and wipe off the grease applied to keep the plane rust free.  I carefully inspected each part, made notes and took photos along the way.  In general, everything seemed well-machined.

I noticed that the burr from tapping the hole in the cap iron had not been removed.  I used a mill file to remove the burr.

Cap Iron

The cap iron, which appeared to be very similar to the Lie-Nielsen design, was ground to a fine edge.

Cap Iron Edge

The blade was also ground to a fine edge.  The machining marks were finer on the blade than on the cap iron and the blade was sharp, though not as sharp as I keep my blades.


The parts of the lateral- and depth-adjusters that engage with the cap iron and blade appeared to be well-made.

Top of Frog

I spotted a cosmetic defect, a scratch, on the right wing of the plane.  It did not concern me in the least.

Scratch on Side Wing

The body was machined very uniformly.  The text on the box was clearly reflected in the plane’s sole.


The frog rested on this ramp.  The small machined edges on either side of the bed were helpful in keeping the frog from twisting as it was adjusted and locked down.

Frog Bedding Surface

The bottom of the frog was finely ground.

Bottom of Frog

All the moving parts moved smoothly.

Back of Frog/Depth Adjuster

There were two of these “rivets” dropped through the slots in the frog and into the body of the plane.  In the rear of the ramp (on which the frog rests) was a pair of slot-head screws with pointed tips.  The points engaged with the conical recess in the rivets and as the screws were tightened, the rivets were pulled down to secure the frog.  The dimple on the top indicated the location of the conical recess so that it could be properly aligned once it was dropped in place.  (Side note:  When removing the pointed, slot-head screws for the first time, they backed off freely then bound up snug.  By applying a little extra torque – but by no means an excessive amount – I was able to remove the screws.  When I ran them in and out afterwards, there was no resistance.)

Frog Rivets

My biggest complaint about the plane was that the front of the mouth opening was a little uneven, making it difficult to set the mouth evenly.  A little work with a file solved that problem.

Mouth Opening

The left wing appeared to be perfectly square.

Left Wing and Sole

The right wing appeared to be a little out of square.  I e-mailed Woodcraft Technical Support about this and they informed me that if I was able to fit a 0.002″ feeler gauge between the square and the plane’s sole, they would be happy to replace the plane.  This gap was well within that tolerance.

Right Wing and Sole

The NEXT ARTICLE shows how the plane performed.

Working with Melamine Particle Board

Furniture is what I primarily make, and I think that solid wood is the best choice of materials.  No two pieces are identical, and its consistent nature lends itself well to carving – there is no risk of cutting through one layer into another creating an ugly seam.

But solid wood is not always the best material.  Recently, I made some utilitarian cabinets using melamine-covered particle board.  I don’t know if I’ve ever worked with this material, but over the past few days I became aware of some of its nuances and nuisances.

Like MDF, it is flat.  And heavy.  Sheets of plywood on the other hand are often warped, especially if stored improperly.

Like the veneers on most plywoods, the melamine skin is very thin and chips easily.  I am fortunate to have a scoring blade on my table saw which produces flawless cuts.  Because the scoring blade protrudes above the table by only about 1/16″ or so the material being cut must be flat or the scoring blade won’t do its job.

Joints that are meant to be even have to be even when assembled.  You don’t have much opportunity to flush them afterwards, especially if you’ve already edge-banded them (which is easiest).

Particle board is fragile.  Drop it and a corner will likely be destroyed.  It is not nearly as tough as plywood or solid wood.  It also has less strength, so it can sag even under its own weight if not supported.

White melamine can be clearly marked on with pencil and easily cleaned with a damp cloth.

Pre-glued melamine edging, applied with an iron, is easy to apply.  Use the iron to activate the glue, then press it down with a block of wood to ensure good contact.  Being a hand-plane guy, I used a metal-bodied plane with its blade retracted.  My logic is that the plane is easy to hold and the iron sole acts as a heat sink, quickly cooling down and setting the glue.

If you have a lot of edging to trim, dedicated tools are a good buy.  Otherwise, a plane iron does a good job but is slower.  Tape over part of the edge so that you don’t accidentally scratch the panel.

It’s prefinished, so no extra work is required.  Once it’s edge-banded and assembled, it’s done!

Prefinished means dealing with glue squeeze-out is a snap.  Just pop off the glue with a chisel.  Because glue won’t stick to the slick melamine surface, that means plain butt joints won’t work.  For these cabinets, I used floating tenons.  Screws could have also worked, but would require the holes to be capped later.