Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dado's without the Fireworks....

Hi Folks
Haven't made a plane for a week so needed to get my butt back in the workshop. But there was the small question of getting past the door - yup, it was clean up time.
It is quite refreshing to give the old workshop a tidy up. Well o.k., it doesn't feel like it at the time but when all is back in its rightful place it feels good. I have large amounts of 2 inch Oak sat on the floor waiting to be turned into a porch and front door so I still have to work around that. But at least its a reminder ;)
So - the plane. Next up is the Dado Plane. Skew mouth, nicker and depth stop are the inportant features. I thought I'd use Purpleheart as I have had a plank sat around for years - a tough timber indeed. And a real git to work.........
Decided to make it in the traditional way. Chopping skewed, fun, fun. I've done it but I'm not too happy. To be honest I didn't want to laminate this plane. And I have made it in an authentic manner - but boy do I have ever-growing respect for the folk that used to make these for a living.
So only the irons to make and then I can test drive it. And my little brain has already been working out how to make a laminated dado plane - it's make a full set quicker to make AND more accurate.
Watch this space.........

Friday, June 15, 2007


So here it is - the completed plane! Not the prettiest I've made, but certainly the most testing. I can see why these planes are rare on the second hand market.......;)
The tote was a lot of fun to make - 1/2 an hour with rasps, scrapers and some sandpaper. It is a "four-finger" tote - I've obviously been spending too much time with the Veritas bevel up family ;) I have gone for the vertical grain configuration - I feel this makes for a stronger handle (and Mike Dunbar agrees with me!). The nicker is real high tech - a jig saw blade ground to a crescent profile. The wedge for this needs little real pressure to hold it, which is a good thing - it is a pliers job to remove it!
The main wedge has a simple "Vee" profile - this plane passes such vast shavings it needs all the help it can get. Not pretty but it works. Oh, and the skew blade angle gives you the most bizarre looking wedge you can imagine. It looks very spidery and delicate - treat with care.
So how does it work? Pretty darn well! The sole has a fence built into the left hand side which butts up against the work. The sole isn't sprung so you hold the plane vertical, like a bench plane. And you plane away, trying your best to keep the plane vertical. As the profile emerges the shavings become wider and the plane becomes more difficult to push - I found it was worth taking a ranker cut at the beginning and then resetting the plane to a lighter cut as you near the final shape. The plane features a stop on the right side of the sole so when you reach the completed profile the plane stops cutting - pretty neat! You can vary the width and depth of the profile by tilting the plane (sometimes on purpose!)
So I am happy at last with this plane - it was challenging to make and presented a few head scratchers, but to see it working happily gives me a good feeling.
Plans and step-by-step directions for this plane will be featured in the August issue of "The Woodworker"magazine.
Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

At Last

Finally - I triumph! :)
The panel raising plane is finally doing just that - raising panels!! I was looking forward to making this plane - little did I know how awkward this one would be.
I researched all I could on panel raisers, not having an antique example to examine. I quickly knocked up MK I plane and came across a few problems. Skewing the blade was no problem (keeping the mouth tight WAS) although I underestimated how much skew was needed (the profiling of the sole altered the actual skew angle). My first example suffered from choking badly - I also forgot to cut the mortise for the nicker.....
So, with lessons firmly under the belt I proceeded to MK II. All has been going well (bar the odd little cock-up here and there). Sorted the choking problem, got the nicker set up fine, spent some "quality time" perfecting the profile of the iron. It still wasn't "singing", though. After a while scratching my head and considering taking up golf I went back to the "Plane Problem Sorting 101" guide. Yes, the sole wasn't flat!
No problem - just flatten the sole. Ahh.......the sole is profiled AND features two built in fences. Some time with a shoulder plane and a straight edge sorted that. And then........magic! She started to sing....... :)
I think I'll make the tote and make this plane look pretty, now.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Hi Folks
Had the great idea of finally making a panel raising plane. It's been on the "To-Do" list for a while and I was feeling weak..... ;)
I don't have an example of a vintage one to examine so had to go through whatever reference material I had handy as well as the odd Web search. What do you need in a panel raiser?
A skew blade? No problem. A profiled sole? Can do. A nicker to score the fibres? never made one but why not. So off to the workshop to slice up some wood.
Panel raiser No. 1 came out not quite as well as anticipated. I decided to skew the blade by 14 degrees, which seemed to be plenty. But after profiling the sole (Oh, I did this AFTER laminating the plane - big mistake!) found that the iron seemed to have no effective skew, due to the sole profile. And in my rush to glue the thing up forgot to make the mortise for the nicker - Hah!
The plane did work (after a fashion) but it was obvious how I should improve it. Step up Plane number two.......
This one is coming along much better. I glued the thing together last night so should have it in a workable condition this evening. Hopefully....;)