Agree completely, Rick.
After making 45 rods on planing forms, I inherited a MHM last spring. One of the early ones.
Have updated a lot of it, including locating a recent model plane body. I'm severely handicapperd in the area of spatial relations, but am improving. I have hordes of questions, many of which have been answered by Matt and Ric and Rick K and the Norlings and Scott Grady. BUT . . .
I still generate significant gluelines, even after using new scraper blades. I split, file nodes, soak, press (displace) nodes, straighten, rough, soak, bind into M-D forms and cook. PID convection oven, 320 F. 2-1/2 hrs, kill the heat and leave the cane in 'til the oven is back at ambient, or nearly so (4-5 hrs total). I then soak again and plane final. Most of the gluelines (98-99%) are invisible/nonexistant. But any is too many. I have used the MHM on probably 2 culms' worth of unacceptable results (mostly swelled butts), and have definitely made some progress. Okay, a lot of progress. I'd like to check out an observation with you experienced users, and that is this:
When I was using a planing form, the spline I was cutting was indexing off one of the cut sides, either right or left, but not the enamel side. Given that the MHM design has rotated everything 90 degrees and that the enamel side is "down," i.e., resting on the anvil, it seems to me that enamel side has to be dead flat on the anvil. I'd be interested to hear whether anyone thinks this is correct, irrelevant, helpful, whatever.
I have begun to take a lot of additional care with straightening/flattening, even before I rough, and I sight down the apex over the nodes to make sure that apex is straight. If it isn't, I pull the spline and straighten it before I finish whatever stage of planing I'm at. Otherwise, I should expect to see one side of the node "dished out," with a correspondingly huge gap at the glueline. It's made a lot of difference, but the swelled butt still presents glueline problems. One approach I'm evaluating is to remove a minimal amount of cane (.001-2") during the final planing. Again, thoughts on this would be most welcome. I'm a total greenhorn at using this tool, so don't make any assumptions about my knowledge base.