Monday, June 11, 2012

Wooden planes

Wooden planes are funny things. They look liek they just can't work properly at all. And when you first try them you are inclined to agree. It's difficult to adjust them. The wood moves with the seasons, requiring regular tuneups. And the are a bit awkward to hold. But when you get them running, they are marvelous. Light wheight saves your breath. The wood glides much nicer then steel planes. And they come with these magical thick laminated blades that take an edge like nothing else.

So I decided to repair a couple of old ones. During the build of the kitchen I have accumulated quite a backlog of restoration projects and it's time to do something about that.

Two big guys waited for my attention. The first one was a jointer, about 60 cm long with a nasty crack in the nose. I really need a proper foreplane for rough wood removal. These are usually a bit shorter, so I decided to cut the offending part from the front of the plane and a bi from the back too to keep everything in balance. The plane is now 50cm long with about 15 cm between the front and the mouth. The rest was easy. Sharpen the blade with a nice camber. Fitting the capiron properly and flatten the sole. A fresh coat of linseed oil smartened it up a bit too.

In the back you can see the next victim. A 75cm (30") long jointer plane. It's a beast. But jointer planes are precision instruments, despite their size, so this took more effort to get right. On a preliminary flattening of the blade I found the edges to be not very cooperative. When I put a straightedge onto it I found that they were worn down a lot. Without some kind of power grinder to get this flat again, I decided to clip the corners of the edge, so the plane won't use these edges. With a wooden plane that is not so bad, because they tend to clog in the corners anyway. After getting the blade sharp I also straightened the edge of the caprion and fitted it painstakingly to the face of the blade. Polished up the front too.

Then my attention turned to the mouth of the plane. With the blade inserted the mouth was about 5mm wide. Although tight mouths are highly overrated, this was really too much for a jointer. So I made a patch from some beech about 1,5cm thick. I made the mortice with a tailed router (sorry...) and made it fit with a chisel. After gluing in the patch and planing down the sole of the plane, the mouth now was too tight. So I opened it up a bit with a file.

And that's about it. Cleaned it up a bit, a coating of linseed oil again and furniture wax. The tote looks a bit weird with that big bulge in the front, but it fits my hand very well. The plane works excellent now, even against the grain on this piece of oak, withthe capiron set tight to the edge.

And this is now my family of bench planes. I want to get more familiar with them, so I am going to use them exclusively for a while. The upcoming table project will be a great test for the planes.

1 comment:

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