Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Little Tweaks

So with a few planes under my belt I have noticed a similar occurrence with them all. You build your plane, tweak it, apply a finish. It works well, you go back into the house with a warm feeling and a fine coating of sawdust.
The next day you triumphantly walk into the workshop, master of all tools. Only to find your little wooden plane doesn't work as well as yesterday. Hmm...........scratching of head, a few minor tweaks, a sharpening of the metal bit and the plane works fine again.
This process needs to be repeated at least twice before the plane "settles down". I have found this with all my planes (gotta be approaching twenty, now) Most of the planes refuse to take a fine shaving - this is normally due to a bump appearing behind the mouth. Easily solved with a rub on some sandpaper on a flat surface. Others need a little more work on the wedge. Once you have successfully completed troubleshooting your plane you move up a notch on the "getting better at this" scale.
So please don't get put off if your plane doesn't work consistently. Once you work out how to get it back on track you'll be a better maker. That can only be a good thing!
Cheers
Philly

8 comments:

Alf said...

Phil, maybe you need to turn Japanese and leave the unfinished body to acclimatise in the workshop for a couple of years before doing the final fitting? :)

Philly said...

Al
No chance of that! To be fair, most of the timber I have used HAS been sat in the workshop for years.
I think it's down to stress in the wood as well as the slight added pressure of a wedge being whacked in there... ;)
Good news is once the plane has been tweaked a couple of times they settle down nice. My first coffin smoother is a cracking plane and works a dream. Spent a lot of time tweaking that one, though. My latest smoother with the cap iron works too good - pushing me down the cap iron path!
Cheers
Philly

Alf said...

Ah, glasshopper, it is no use to be impatient. Confucius say... Well probably not a lot about planes come to think of it.

I was thinking about the bump behind the mouth and wondering if that's because the endgrain there dries out while you're working on the plane so when you come back to it the rest has had time to shrink away. So maybe it'd be worth leaving the sole flattening of a while? Although who am I to talk - lots less than 20 planes to my name. That's what comes of reading Whelan - instant expert!

The cap iron, btw, looks good. Drat it, I have other things to do than make planes but you're not making it easy...

Philly said...

Al
The bump isn't there when I complete the plane. It appears "overnight", so I assume it's due to the wedge?
But there again, we know how wood can be ;)
Cheers
Phil

Konrad Sauer said...

Hi Phil,

I had to smile when I read your comments about lever caps. I wholeheartedly agree. There are cases where a wedge may look nicer - or even be more comfortable... but the lever cap is a superior holding mechanism. Keep up the great work on your own tools.

Cheers,
Konrad

Philly said...

Konrad
Thanks for your kind comments - guess I'm making my way slowly down the right road?
I've noticed that there is little that has not been tried before when it comes to tools - the features that remain are highly evolved, even though their simplicity belies this.
See you at Westonbirt?
Cheers
Philly

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil,

You certainly are on a good road. Just make sure you take a few overgrown paths too - that is something I wish I had more time to do myself!

And yes - see you at Westonbirt:)

Cheers,
Konrad

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