A Precisely Made Bed

I was never too keen on the thought of chiseling out a plane bed by hand, a three piece lamination with the bed, breast and wear angles cut with an incra gauge on a table saw just seemed much more practical. Though I am judicious with my use of electrons, the remainder of the plane will be built by hand. 

I was never too keen on the thought of chiseling out a plane bed by hand, a three piece lamination with the bed, breast and wear angles cut with an incra gauge on a table saw just seemed much more practical. Though I am judicious with my use of electrons, the remainder of the plane will be built by hand. 

The abutment angle will be 10 degrees, i've made up a wedge out of mdf to use as a template. 

The abutment angle will be 10 degrees, i've made up a wedge out of mdf to use as a template. 

Miller dowels will aid with alignment when cutting the abutments and laminating the plane together. 

Miller dowels will aid with alignment when cutting the abutments and laminating the plane together. 

Stay Gold

This is my Lie Nielsen No.4 smoothing plane in bronze with a few customizations. The original A2 steel has been replaced with a Tsunesaburo blade and the knob and tote have been changed from cherry to walnut. Aesthetics aside, there are a few functional improvements which can be made. A wise woodworker shared the following fettling tips with me yesterday. 

This is my Lie Nielsen No.4 smoothing plane in bronze with a few customizations. The original A2 steel has been replaced with a Tsunesaburo blade and the knob and tote have been changed from cherry to walnut. Aesthetics aside, there are a few functional improvements which can be made. A wise woodworker shared the following fettling tips with me yesterday. 

The yoke engages a very sharp steel slot in the cap iron. You can see here that it's already started to score the soft bronze of the yoke. This is on a plane that has never touched wood...   

The yoke engages a very sharp steel slot in the cap iron. You can see here that it's already started to score the soft bronze of the yoke. This is on a plane that has never touched wood... 

 

If you look closely you can also see evidence of the bite on the cap iron, the sharp steel edge has deposits of bronze.   

If you look closely you can also see evidence of the bite on the cap iron, the sharp steel edge has deposits of bronze. 

 

The fix is to take a diamond file and break the sharp edge, top and bottom. 

The fix is to take a diamond file and break the sharp edge, top and bottom. 

A little oil on the lever cap hinge pivot goes a long way too. 

A little oil on the lever cap hinge pivot goes a long way too. 

Walnut + Ipe

Had a few minutes today to get started on the razee style jack plane.  One of these blocks will form the body, the other will be ripped in two and used as the sides. I've given some thought to the grain orientation as one of the blocks is half sap wood and the other is darker walnut. I feel the sap wood is visually interesting, i think I'll use it for the sides. 

Had a few minutes today to get started on the razee style jack plane.  One of these blocks will form the body, the other will be ripped in two and used as the sides. I've given some thought to the grain orientation as one of the blocks is half sap wood and the other is darker walnut. I feel the sap wood is visually interesting, i think I'll use it for the sides. 

Laminating on the ipe sole. 

Laminating on the ipe sole. 

Hiroki Gennou

Mankind has used hammers for as long as we've had opposable thumbs. There's something primal and reassuring about the form factor. Even If I never knew nails existed, with a hammer in hand I'd feel like I'd know what to do. This block of steel and branch of tree will made into a gennou, a Japanese chisel striking hammer. 

Mankind has used hammers for as long as we've had opposable thumbs. There's something primal and reassuring about the form factor. Even If I never knew nails existed, with a hammer in hand I'd feel like I'd know what to do. This block of steel and branch of tree will made into a gennou, a Japanese chisel striking hammer. 

A block plane takes care of the knots. 

A block plane takes care of the knots. 

Though a spokeshave works best on the bark. 

Though a spokeshave works best on the bark. 

Getting A Handle On Things

Worked a little more on the handle assembly this week, it's going to feel good to complete it and give the toolchest its form. I noticed that in Tom Fidgen's original design, the vertical handle posts were notched into the bottom runner but when he taught his class at Dictum they took the approach of bridal jointing in a bottom stretcher. I emailed Tom about this and graciously, as always, he got back to me with a detailed explanation. The original design had a weak point and had snapped where it was screwed into the bottom runner. The stretcher approach ties in the entire handle assembly into one piece, thus balancing any forces and load exerted. 

Worked a little more on the handle assembly this week, it's going to feel good to complete it and give the toolchest its form. I noticed that in Tom Fidgen's original design, the vertical handle posts were notched into the bottom runner but when he taught his class at Dictum they took the approach of bridal jointing in a bottom stretcher. I emailed Tom about this and graciously, as always, he got back to me with a detailed explanation. The original design had a weak point and had snapped where it was screwed into the bottom runner. The stretcher approach ties in the entire handle assembly into one piece, thus balancing any forces and load exerted. 

I wasn't happy with the flatness of the stopped dado area, I had attempted to level it using an iwasaki file but the surface was still much too uneven. When I held it against the toolchest I could see a lot of light, perhaps more than glue could overcome. I decided to lap it against some 220 sand paper which did the trick nicely. No more fiddling, aside from the handle and bridal mortises, the vertical handle posts are pretty much complete. 

I wasn't happy with the flatness of the stopped dado area, I had attempted to level it using an iwasaki file but the surface was still much too uneven. When I held it against the toolchest I could see a lot of light, perhaps more than glue could overcome. I decided to lap it against some 220 sand paper which did the trick nicely. No more fiddling, aside from the handle and bridal mortises, the vertical handle posts are pretty much complete. 

Notching the upper handle runners.  

Notching the upper handle runners.  

Slowly but surely progress is being made. 

Slowly but surely progress is being made. 

Jack In A Box

I've given a lot of thought to which bench planes I'd want to stock in this toolchest. My krenov smoother is an easy choice, as there's no greater satisfaction than using a tool made with your own hands. Wooden planes have a different nature than their steel cousins, they're inherently musical in nature. A few taps here and a few raps there and they'll sing for you like no other. That's not to say metal planes are deficient in any way. A bronze Lie Nielsen no.4 has it's own particular charms. The manganese bronze will react to the particular body chemistry unique to its owner and over time a tarnished patina will form. Painted on by each touch, deepening in character with each shaving. The krenov and the no.4 are more than enough for general smoothing and final finishes, the difficult question is what to do about a jack? A Lee Valley bevel up jack is widely regarded for its versatility, but I take no joy in its use. I find norris adjusters to be finicky and the lack of ability to adjust depth on the fly interrupts the zen-flow that comes with planing boards. My preference is for bevel down planes, though a no.5 or no.6, whether a vintage stanley or a plane by LN or LV would add a considerable amount of weight to the toolchest. The answer is now clear, i should build a wooden jack plane. 

I've given a lot of thought to which bench planes I'd want to stock in this toolchest. My krenov smoother is an easy choice, as there's no greater satisfaction than using a tool made with your own hands. Wooden planes have a different nature than their steel cousins, they're inherently musical in nature. A few taps here and a few raps there and they'll sing for you like no other. That's not to say metal planes are deficient in any way. A bronze Lie Nielsen no.4 has it's own particular charms. The manganese bronze will react to the particular body chemistry unique to its owner and over time a tarnished patina will form. Painted on by each touch, deepening in character with each shaving. The krenov and the no.4 are more than enough for general smoothing and final finishes, the difficult question is what to do about a jack? A Lee Valley bevel up jack is widely regarded for its versatility, but I take no joy in its use. I find norris adjusters to be finicky and the lack of ability to adjust depth on the fly interrupts the zen-flow that comes with planing boards. My preference is for bevel down planes, though a no.5 or no.6, whether a vintage stanley or a plane by LN or LV would add a considerable amount of weight to the toolchest. The answer is now clear, i should build a wooden jack plane. 

Eastern Function | Western Form

A Tsunesaburo plane blade arrived today from Stuart Tierney @ www.toolsfromjapan.com. I've wanted to experiment with a laminated eastern style blade on a western plane for some time now. I'll post results once I've had a chance to flatten the back, sharpen and put the iron to use. 

A Tsunesaburo plane blade arrived today from Stuart Tierney @ www.toolsfromjapan.com. I've wanted to experiment with a laminated eastern style blade on a western plane for some time now. I'll post results once I've had a chance to flatten the back, sharpen and put the iron to use. 

Japanese packaging is always meticulous, it's something i appreciate. 

Japanese packaging is always meticulous, it's something i appreciate. 

The cutting edge steel is called hagane and it is forged to a softer piece of steel called the jigane.

The cutting edge steel is called hagane and it is forged to a softer piece of steel called the jigane.