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!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cap'n Plane

Two weeks without a blog?? Does this mean I have to hand in my Blogger badge?? ;)
The day job has been taking me across the country again - this means two things. One, I'm not at home (so no workshop), and two, when I DO get home I'm exhausted. But you can't keep a good man down......
So here is the next step in my hand plane experiments. A smoother with a cap iron instead of a wedge.
Yes, I have just about mastered the wedge so it was about time to give the cap iron a go. I fitted one to the metal thumb plane I made a little while ago so it was not exactly difficult. I did find that you need an extraordinary amount of precision when drilling the holes for the cross pin - any error makes for a uneven contact with the iron, giving all sorts of headaches.
But I was very impressed with the rigidity of the thing once tightened up. It only takes a small amount of pressure to lock everything down (definitely no twisting away on the knob!!!) And it works impeccably - I was shocked (and disappointed) at how well it performed compared to the amount of work that goes into making a wedged plane. Hum.......
So, the next plane is going to be another toted plane with a cap iron. And maybe an adjuster? Who knows...... ;)