Friday, October 19, 2012

Hollow and Round Plane Blanks

I recently made it over to a friend's shop to do some power tool work.  I needed to resaw some oak for the bottoms of my tool chest tills, and also a big hunk of pear for my upcoming project of hollows and rounds.

I know I have been trying to get good at resawing by hand, but if an opportunity presents itself to do this work with a machine, I'm sorry but I am going to take advantage of it.

The oak turned out awesome, and I have one of the tills installed.  The other two should be ready next week, except that we weren't able to get quite enough from the board I had for three drawers.  I'll have to get some more or come up with plan B.

The pear was interesting.  The stick I started with (see it in a previous blog post here) was clear the whole way through, except for some crazy grain on the end that I intended to cut off.

The good news is that after resawing and running through the planer, I had stock to make a pair of #10's, and a pair of #6's.  The bad news was a big check running down the middle of both halves. 

Resawn plane blanks

A check was on the inside of the board.
All may not be lost, however.  Obviously the check does not go all the way through.  I hope the check will go away when I cut the grip.  I think it will take care of 95% of the problem, if I'm lucky. 

If not, I'll just see how far it goes, and make a smaller plane from the blank.

One of the #6 blanks has a knot hole on an edge.  I don't think this will be a problem if this becomes the top of the plane.  Perhaps it will make an interesting visual effect.

If I don't feel 100% comfortable with these blanks remaining stable, I have plenty more pear.  I might even be able to get nearly an entire half-set from the board I brought home from the lumberyard.

Next post:  tool chest ready to paint.  That is, if everything goes right.


  1. What is the system with the numbering?
    I know that drills are increments of 16, but what about those hollows and rounds?
    Best regards

    1. Hi Jonas,

      That is an excellent question. The short answer: Nobody knows. There are many different numbering systems, most of which seem to only be promoted by an individual manufacturer.

      I will be using the system recently promoted by Larry Williams (based on 18th century historical examples).

      Basically, it is the same as with brace bits: increments of 16.

      Up to a point, anyway.

      For example, a #10 indicates a hollow or round with the radius of the circle it cuts at 5/8". The radius of the circle, by a trick of geometry, happens to also be the width of the cutting iron.

      This works up until you get to a #12, which is a 3/4" radius.

      After that, my understanding is that sixteenths are a bit superfluous, so it switches to 1/8" increments. I guess a 1 1/2" radius doesn't look too much different than a 1 9/16" radius.

      Anyway, a #13 is 7/8", and a one inch plane is a #14, and so on.

      One example of a different numbering system than this is in use by Philly Planes. I am not sure how he numbers his.

      My suggestion is to refer to the numbers for your own hollows and rounds, and when talking to someone else, use the measurement of the radius.

  2. Huh?

    (This is Mom. Don't understand any of these words, but still love your work, anyway. Sounds like you are learning a lot about wood working. Good job).