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Workshop Tip: Work backward with wandering hand tools

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A common problem with cutting tools such as marking gauges and plow planes is that the cutter sometimes wanders with the grain. To prevent this, try working in sections starting near the end of the cut and moving your starting point back each time. This way, if the tool wanders on any one pass, you’ll realign it for another short pass and the error will be very small. With a plow plane, start at the far end of the board, getting more and more of the run close to its final dimension before taking full cuts front to back. With a marking gauge, start at the near end and work backward.

—JOHN COFFEY, Locust Valley, N.Y.

Illustrations by Dan Thornton
From Fine Woodworking issue #289

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