Hand-Made Appearance of a Scrub Plane

To get the scalloped look of this made-in-Mexico cabinet, you need a scrub plane — a traditional tool that some woodworkers really like. March 4, 2009

I have a customer who wants me to replicate the style of finish below, and my question is about the wavy look you see on the piece. Would I use a hand planer to create those waves or is there another way?

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Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor G:
Have you seen this?

Creating HandHewn Look

From contributor J:
They could be chatter from some old school planing mill contraption. You could come close maybe by using a curved jointers plane wooden or metal.

From contributor W:

It looks like someone was trying to replicate the 'rough-sawn' look not hand hewn. I get that look by lightly sanding or 'skip-planing' rough-sawn reclaimed lumber that was originally circle sawn to create those diagonal arcs. Then match the stain color and finish for that look. They might like the authentic rustic look of actual antique reclaimed lumber and it would save you the trouble of replicating and distressing.

From contributor I:
These boards definitely have been scrub planed on the diagonal. You can either shape a plane iron yourself or buy an actual scrub plane (ours came from Lie-Nielsen and is a thing beauty to use). If you know how to plane, and the wood is not dry and hard, the work goes very quickly.

From the original questioner:
The customer said this piece is made in Mexico, and it's going in the same room where our entertainment center is going. We will be using alder for our cabinets. They are on a tight budget so I want it to be quick and easy but you all know how that goes.

From contributor R:
I'm with contributor I. That looks just like a scrub plane to me. I have the Stanley and the Lie-Nielsen. The Lie-Nielsen iron is a little wider than the Stanley. Both work great and are actually as fast as using a power planer and don't leave the mill marks that a power planer does. Another great tool is a scorp. Barr tool’s makes the best one I know of.

From contributor J:
Those lines are too regular to be done by hand in my opinion. To reproduce what I see you would need to sit there with a straightedge and a hand plane. That will have to be done on the rough lumber before it is sawn into parts. Then you will have to hand sand to replicate years of blunting as your work will be sharp. I think someone could somewhat easily do it but it would be very time consuming. I would look for time and materials on that part of job.

From contributor R:
Speaking as someone who has done miles of scrub planning, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to do. You also have very good control and I don't think I would have any problem keeping the lines straight. The really important part is to keep the iron really sharp and use soft wood if possible. (White pine cuts like butter).

From the original questioner:
Thanks guys for all the tips, I will look into a scrub plane. It will be a nice distress trick to learn. I appreciate all the help.