Machinery to Replicate the Look of "Scrub Planing"

Suggestions on ways to get the scalloped-surface look of an old-style scrub plane, using power equipment. January 8, 2010

I am working on a way to scrub plane the surface of solid wood with a portable machine. I want the "iron" width to be about an inch wide repeat. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor S:
Marunaka surfacing machines have a fixed knife and a feed system to push wood under a very sharp knife. The knife can be angled to make shearing cuts. The knife can be ground with a slight waviness, to mimic hand planed surfaces. This is not portable, though. Most people faced with this problem turn to power planers with either shop made or commercial knives that will make a wavy width cut.

From contributor V:
I agree with the above that a portable power planer is the answer. I would hone the iron myself and be worried about grain direction tearout. Another idea is to regrind the knives for a portable benchtop planer. This would give the look but may be too consistent for the look you are after.

From the original questioner:
I have a portable Bosch planer 3 1/4" with replaceable carbide knives but I'm thinking the amount of metal is not enough to have my sharpening guy grind a "scalloped edge" onto. Iím still looking for other ideas that involve an electric motor as I get older (and smarter, we hope). I'm always looking for ways to do things easier.

From contributor V:
Maybe if you tell us exactly what you are wanting to do besides one inch wide repeats. Are you planing beams already installed on a ceiling, etc?

From the original questioner:
What I am trying to do is create parallel depressions or troughs, with a concave section (curving down into the wood) partially overlapping and irregular. These will be about 1" on center. I'm working with fairly thin pieces (3/4") to make into cabinet doors/fronts.

From contributor V:
I would use an actual scrub plane or a power plane like you own. If you want to replicate plane marks that a scub plane would make, the knives on a power planer are plenty deep enough. Use high speed steel and shape your knives yourself on a bench grinder. Just a simple curve is simple to hand grind. Hone it, polish the back, and go to work. I would think a single convex shape on the knives will work better than a "scalloped edge" for the look you described.

From contributor J:
Festool makes a hand power planer that has different knives available. There are a few different options with wavy knives.

From contributor A:
Do you have access to a CNC router? A core box or big ball nose set to engrave a 3 axis random spiral will give you a very nice chisel or gouge look if the toolpath is properly applied.

From contributor O:
If you are trying to match old looking woodwork, you need subtle random variations in the depth and direction of the scallops. It starts with wood that you can run a hand plane over, then use a plane on it. It won't take that long to do a kitchen, if that's what you're doing. A production run of faux hand planed MDF or something isn't worth it, it looks fake. It's like seeing those trailer truck exhaust stacks on a pick-up truck.

From contributor D:
I often distress custom built doors and have two CNC machines, but don't use them for this. I don't go so far as to beat them with chains (people tell me they actually do this), as it's already a good workout using powered hand tools. We use powered hand planers, belt sanders, pnuematic scalers, mini angle grinders and hand drills with various wire wheels.

From contributor R:
I have tried all the knives that Festool offers, but always go back to the scrub plane to get that realistic look! Then I sand with brush type air sander.

From contributor H:
Thanks for that tidbit about the Festool knives. I have been close to ordering those for mine but just never liked their shape. We also use the hand plane with the knife ground in a slight curve. A power plane with the same type curve might be the deal. To me the hand planning is the easy part; everything else that follows is whatís hard.