Monday, February 29, 2016

Tuning the smoother

Today I got around finally to work on the smoother again. First problem to tackle were problems with the feeding of the shavings through the mouth of the plane. Better said, no shavings actually wanted to feed through the mouth. The plane clogged immediately with the shaving wrinkling up like an accordeon between capiron and wear of the plane.

It took some itterations to fix the problem. First I polished the edge of the capiron, making sure there was absolutely no burr left on the edge. The fit between capiron an cutting blade is very good, so no problem there,

Next was the wear, There still were some rough spots, so I polished everything up as good as possible. This of course opened up the mouth a bit more. At the end the mouth was around 1mm, starting to get rather large. With the capiron set further from the edge the plane now worked very well. But with the cap set close to the edge, still no joy!

I decided to compare with another wooden smoother, a Nooitgedagt. This one has a wear angle of 80 degrees, while mine was 75. So, another round with the chisel, and this finally did the trick.

Thick shavings, thin shavings, doesn't matter, it feeds through the mouth effortlessly. So the mouth is a little wider then first intended, but I'd rather have a plane working correctly then a theroretical perfect design.

Actually, the plane is now very much like the smoothing plane in the Seaton Chest. That one has a mouth of 0.9mm (calculated from the descriptions) and a wear angle of 89 degrees (almost vertical). So I feel in good company.

Tight mouths and a capiron set close to the edge is a troublesome combination in a wooden plane.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The smoother

This weekend I started the build of a typical English coffin smoother. This one has to get a nice tight mouth! So I advanced with the utmost care!

Some tips. First one, I drill the mouth first under the drillpress. This time I aimed the drill at almost the same angle as the wear. Somehow that makes creating this thin narrow mortise a lot easier. This was a tip from Stewie from Australia and Steve Voigt from the US. Also important was to use a very sharp chisel to cut this mortise. That prevents any unwanted breakout. Finally it was usefull to use the float as soon as possible. After I sharpened the only Lie Nielsen float I have, it turned into a very capable tool.

Another area, cutting the abuments. Here is a picture of the setup I use.

The spacer is carefully fitted so it sits tight against the wear. It is helpfull to wedge it in place, makes for a more steady surface. Of course check if everything is square before commencing with the saw. It seems that I am slowly getting on good terms with my no-set abutment saw. It is just a piece of old sawblade on a handle. I use wax to reduce the friction in the slot. Of course, the abutment ends in the wear in a double iron plane, so it is not possible to saw through and through. But it is remarkable how much you can work the tip of the saw into the wood.

The rest is chisseling and the float is helpfull here too.

And this is where I am now. The blade just barely touches the wear, so I still have room to open it up a little. I think I'll shoot for a mouth about 0.5 mm wide, which is fine for a double iron plane.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wooden plane tuning tricks

Some tricks to get a wooden plane up and running. Hardly my tricks, but usefull nonetheless.

A good working wooden plane needs:
- a flat sole.
- a well bedded iron.
- tight fitting wedge.
And a sharp edge of course.

The flat sole is not so difficult. I get close by planing with another plane. Very close, but never really close enough. So I lap the plane on some 120 grit sandpaper glued to a piece of thick glass. This goes very quickly, it's not a metal plane after all, so check often.

The bedding of the iron is checked with oil smeared on the backside of the iron. You can also use candle sooth, but oil is easy. Insert the oiled blade carefully in the blade, tighten the wedge and tap the iron downwards a little. Then remove everything again and have a look at the oil spots on the bed of the plane. You are looking for a good fit along the bottom and some touch points at the top. The bottom is most important. The middle should ideally not touch at all. I use a scraper to remove wood where I don't want it.

This is a patern I am very happy with.

And then the wedge. The fingers should be tight, especially at the bottom and at the top. Again, the bottom is more important. And they should fit tight on both sides equally otherwise the plane doesn't adjust straight. I check this with a very thin feeler gauge.

And then there were two jack planes. A larger 16" one with a 2 1/8" iron. And this one is 14" with a 2" iron. Both sharpened with a camber, the small one with more camber then the larger one.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Making a wedge

The first jack plane is soaking in linseed oil. On to the next one. I am now finishing the failed attempt of two weeks ago, the one where I mortised too much to the side and damaged the area of the abutments. Well, I got myself a wider iron so I could move the mortise a bit to the side, so to speak. The blank was wide enough, so no problems in the overall width of the plane.

Well, the rest is the same as the first jack plane. Practice helps, everything goes a little quicker now. I got a nice photo sequence of making the wedge, so here it is.

First I make a paper template, fitted to the situation at hand. I use that template to mark the piece of wood.

I cut the wedge angle with a handsaw. This is so much easier and so much safer then the tablesaw!

Cutting the wedge fingers with a bow saw.

These capirons have a nice bulbous brass nut. Very decorative, but you need to make room for that in the backside of the wedge. A job for the gouges. It doesn't need to be terribly precise.

Now the wedge can be fitted into the plane and the fit can be fine tuned. First thing to watch for is a tight fit in the width, It should glide in rather smoothly, but the tips of the fingers should press to the sides of the abutment mortise to avoid a shaving trap. Next is fitting the wedge shape. That is a matter of fitting, looking where I need to take off a shaving of wood, etc. I use a very thin feeler gauge to feel where the fit is still lacking. Again, it should be tightest down at the finger tips.

And this is how it looks in the plane, nice and tight.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jack plane mostly finished

No pictures of the build. It was all a bit too exciting. Making the chamfers, the gouge cuts, the eyes, everything is very visible, and easy to make all crooked and skewed and ugly.

First thing after finishing the tote was making the mortise for the tote, No picture of that either. It isn't so spectaculair of course. I drilled a bunch of holes and removed the rest with a chisel. At the round end I used a carving gouge. Glued the tote with hot hide glue and used a scraper to get everything blend in nicely.

Well, here she is. No finish yet, that's a nice little job for tomorrow.

And a trial run on some nasty beech. Thick, very thick shavings!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Jack plane continued

Last weekend I did quite a bit of work on this jackplane. Calculations of the output of professional planemakers a 200 years ago show that they could make 3-5 planes a day (probably depending on the type of planes and the amount of power tools they had available). Well, I still need to practice a little bit to reach that goal! And I still make many errors.

While making the mortise, it seems that every little mistake, every stray chisel strike, ends up in a wider mouth. The mouth is now about 3-4 mm wide, good enough for a jack plane, but because I tried very hard to keep it in check, it is a little dissapointing.

Here's a picture into the throat of the plane after cutting the abutments (saw and chisel work).

Next up was making and fitting the wedge. I got myself some nice quartersawn wood. It was a bit of a puzzle how I could cut the wedge on the table saw. In the end I think it would have been a lot easier and safer to do it with a handsaw! Here you can see how the fingers of the wedge fit nice and tight all the way down. I marked where the hump of the capiron is with a red permant marker, so I could mark the wedge fingers from there with a pencil. That is where they end up, making them longer would only create a shaving trap.

A very nice little job is making the handle. I have of course some experience in handle making after finishing a couple of saws. As a template I used a picture of some old English saw I found on the internet. Draw it on the wood and used forstner bits in the corners. Then cutting the rest with a bowsaw.

Next up is squaring the blanc with rasps. I never reach total 100% squareness, but close is good enough in this instance.

And then, marking the contours with pencil and start shaping with rasps and a scraper. I want to avoid sandpaper as much as possible in this plane build, so after scraping I grabbed a piece of wood from the bin and burnished the wood. It happens to be an old piece of pine with a heavy wax coat and I think I rubbed some of that wax on the wood too. It took a nice shine very quickly. I really like this finish. It certainly is not perfect, you can still see contours of the scraper work.

I hope to finish this plane this week.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Some small finishing nails.

Some? How about a lifetime supply?

Small stuff. Most are square nails, 1.5 and 2 cm short. I should have had these when I was making the drawers in the medicine cabinet. But who knows what other small stuff I am going to make.