Today was an 8 hour day of finishing all the initial planing that I had left, 8 strips for the tips. I found it smart to take a break after 3 hours or so again, breaking for lunch after doing 4 of the strips.
I timed myself on a few strips – one I did in 22 minutes, another in 25, the last in 24. It’s very possible to get stuff done without wasting time “being careful” while still being careful.
I messed around with a plane a bit since one strip took nearly an hour to get through; I was only getting about .001” at a time. Normally initial planing is done best at 2-3 thousandths. My initial adjustment was .00 4-5” which was taking a heavy bite and way too much for the tips – a heavy bite, open mouth (on the plane), and/or dull blade will bite too far in to the cane and take chunks of fibers with it, leading to low dimensions, gaps, and large, open curls. I never got large curls thanks to the small mouth, but it was risky, and I got lucky.
The tips are especially susceptible to overly-aggressive planing because the light dimension can be lifted out of the form when the plane bites too deeply. Butts aren’t as much an issue because they’re more rigid due to the extra thickness, but tips… eh…
If the blade is not level to the bottom of the plane, the backside of it can be tapped on the same side that’s too deep – it will help correct the angle. Good angles = good strips.
Post add: My wrist was sore after all this planing. Not so much in the muscle of my forearm (which was a little knotted up but was massaged out easily and quickly) but rather the tendon sheath on the back of my wrist, right between the two bumps of forearm bone. It felt very tender to the touch, like it was bruised. A somewhat sharp, annoying pain when I touched it. I could feel the inflammation – it felt somewhat like a muscle knot but the pain signal was different. It took until now, morning of 11-26-13, for it to feel mostly normal. Still slightly noticeable to the touch, but there is barely any tenderness remaining. Whew, note to self, don’t plane for more than 2-3 hours, tops. Repetitive stress injuries are NOT worth the risk. There was a recent thread on the Classic Fly Rod forum about injuries – it seems that shoulder/ cuff injuries, as well as “tennis elbow” and carpal tunnel are common builder injuries. Knowing my dad’s history with this, I don’t want to risk going down that road. Getting a week’s work done in a day is not worth being in pain when I no longer heal as fast as I do at 25 or 30 anymore.