After painting the woodwork in one of our rooms I was absolutely delighted with myself… until the paint dried and I realised that the door was now sticking in the door frame because of the extra 3 layers of paint on both. Crap.

I needed to shave a bit off the width of the door so it closed smoothly. A quick dash to Chadwicks in Sallynoggin and I had just the tool for the job.

The equipment

This majestic thing is an Irwin Record cast iron wood plane – it cost me about €30. It’s a heavy two-handed plane for shaving, smoothing and finishing wood.

The method

  1. Firstly I needed to set this up. There is a carbon steel cutting iron as part of the unit which you need to assemble properly. Unscrew the plate at the top to remove the cutting iron which will have its blade protected. Loosen the second screw to expose the blade and cause a slight “overbite”, then tighten it all back together.
  2. There is a lovely big brass wheel which lowers the blade depth. Set this to be a very small gap initially – you should be taking off very fine shavings, not big chunks.
  3. If you are only shaving a small bit from the top or side, you can get away with keeping the door on its hinges. Otherwise, you should remove it completely and set it down. If your door sticks on a new carpet you will have to take it off and put it on its side. A bench plane like this should really be used horizontally rather than vertically. You also definitely need to use two hands – unlike my photograph below!
  4. Once the screws are tight, place the wood plane on the surface of the wood and in long smooth strokes, shave off very thin layers of wood.
  5. Get a brush and pan ready – it creates a LOT of these shavings
  6. That’s about as technical as it gets. Repeat the long smooth strokes to get a nice finish on the door.
  7. When you’re done with the wood plane, you might want to use a very high-grade sand paper (120 grit +) on an electric sander to get a very smooth finish
  8. Make sure you check whether the door still sticks regularly through the work. Don’t do what I did – I got frustrated at how long it was taking and ended up taking WAAYYY too much off the corner of one of the doors!

-Seán

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