do most shapers really count the number of passes you are taking? or do you use your eye and measuring tools more?

when you’re learning it may help to count passes to keep both sides the same. Particularly with rail bands and sanding screen on the rails… but learn to pay attention to how it looks, don’t just count.

learn to feel as well

touch is often more accurate than site

counting would not have worked for me on my first board since it was my first attempt with a power planer and took most of the shoping process to get to a point were my planner cuts were consistant and prodictable.

My solution was work a little on one rail then the other. Back and forth a little, then work the other side (deck vs bottom) left to right. Then flip and finish one side. Then back to the other side. This enabled my tool learning curve to co-inside with my shape progress. this worked nicely for working with an all 50/50 rail. (alternating lf/rt and deck/bottom and repeat)

Did someone call?

ah ah aaaah!

Keep the questions coming Tim. I’m shaping a board too, but I’ve only had time to make the template and trace onto the blank and cut out. But you’ve asked alot of things that I would ask.

For the last board I did I would take the planer down and back on the left side rail band then down and back on the right rail band. It kept the strokes even but took a good bit more time than doing a whole rail then switching. Every now and then I would have to touch up one rail to get it looking even with the other but for the most part they stayed the same. I felt like I got a more symmetric rails because of the extra time and care I put into it.

Don’t even start trying to count passes, every movement is different than the one before or after. Work on getting the first band to look the way you want and then TRY to do the same on the other side. Eventually it will become easier, after 7 or 8 years

My first couple boards I tried doing the counting method thing but gave that up because I would lose track and get confused, plus that process was not very free flowing and was a headache for me…I now do all my shaping by sight and feel but use calipers to check thinkness and stuff. the hard part is like what Jim said “TRY to do the same on each side” … Jim I bet you could shape a board with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back…

It is seeing how thick the rail is and deciding where to stop the bottom edge of the band you are laying in. I look at the rail sort of in thirds, the band I’m doing, the band I will do on the opposite side and the space I will leave in between. This is of course a neutral rail. It is the bottom edge of a band that determines how clean the line will look.