Sunday, December 7, 2014

Moulding planes

This project has a new challenge for me. Mouldings! Never done that before. I could of course rip them out on the router table, but where's the fun in that? So I aquired a mixed bag full of hollow and round planes and after selecting the best ones, I ended up with a "half set". A half set in this case being 8 pairs of hollow and round planes from 1/8" to 1 1/4". The planes are far from exceptional. Standard Dutch carpenters planes in various degrees of disarray. So, work to do!

First thing to do is taking one pair and check them for being straight especially with a straight sole. Old wooden planes often have a depression in front of the mouth and a bulge at the back. On the round planes this is easilly corrected with a block plane, keeping a close eye on the shape, maybe even making a paper pattern to check it along the way. The hollow plane is harder to correct when the sole is out of shape, so it is best to restore the Round first and use that to correct the Hollow. Like I did in this picture.

Next step is preparing the irons. First comes polishing the face side of the irons. There is always some pitting, so I use silicone carbide grit on a floor tile first. Then it goes on my oil stones until they look good. The middle square one is from a 3/4" hollow, but one of the tips was broken, so I had to grind it back pretty far.

I "paint" the face with a permant marker and insert the iron in the plane again. With a scratch awl I mark the shape of the sole on the iron. Most of my planes need a lot of adjustment to get the profile of the iron close to the profile of the sole.

A combination of the grinder, the edge of the grinding wheel and small rotary grinding stones in the hand drill brings the edge as close to the line as possible. This asks for some inguinity and some dexterity. First I grind the edge to 90 degrees, then I grind the bevel, almost to a sharp edge.

Meanwhile I check the profile often in the plane. Inserting it, tapping it down so it protrudes minimally from the mouth and looking how well it fits. You might have to click on the image to see it enlarged to really see the edge poking out through the sole of the plane.

When I'm happy with the fit, it's time to make the edge really sharp. Here is my new sharpening station, fitted out with a Washita oilstone, an Arkansas translucent stone and some slips which are essential for sharpening hollow edges. There is also the Flex Cut strop and a normal flat leather strop with some Flex Cut stropping paste to remove the wire edge and bring the edge up to snuff.

And that's the first pair, 3/4" Hollow and Round. Only 7 more pairs to go. I know, the wedges look horrible, but they will do for a while.

And here is a short testrun on a cherry offcut.

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