Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Continuing the Plate 19 Moulders

I ended my last shop session being excited about how fast this project was coming along.  Remember, these are moulding planes with an open mortise hopefully making them easier to construct.

I have the DVD by Larry Williams on constructing side escapement planes.  Since I really don't have much else to go on other than a couple of Roubo's plates, I will be using as many of Larry Williams' planebuilding techniques as possible to build (I'm sure to his chagrin), a pair of essentially French moulding planes.

When I got in the shop yesterday, I had a pair of plane blanks with mortises cut out and wedges cut but not fit.  I really want to get to the part where I am heat treating irons, so I immediately marked out the profiles and started cutting.
Profiles marked out.
I cut away a bevel on the blind side of the planes at about 30 degrees.  I then started rounding over the profile on the round plane.
With a 30 degree bevel cut on the blind side.
Here is where I discovered that Larry Williams knows what the heck he is doing.  I think I jumped the gun because I really want to make this a quick and easy project, but really I need to pay attention to the details and do things in order.

Remember, last time I accidentally lowered the angle on the end of the bed for some insane reason which almost ruined the plane.  Not paying attention move #1.

The other thing I should have done before cutting this bevel is fit the wedge, and bed the iron.  Not paying attention move #2.

The bed needs to support the blade all the way down as far as the blade allows on nearly any plane.  Never touch the business end of the bed.  When opening the mouth up, cut wood away from the wear instead.

Fitting the wedge and bedding the iron would have been much easier before I cut the bevel on the blind side.  The bevel prevented me from clamping the plane flat in my leg vice, and also from just laying it flat on the bench to work on the mouth.  I had to come up with all kinds of creative workholding ideas for this.

In the end, I spent a lot of time fixing things in a couple of short shop sessions, and have as a result one plane with a fit wedge and bedded iron.
Starting to look like a real plane.
I think there is a little tweaking left to do here, but that shouldn't take long.  Now that I know what to do, I am hoping fixing the mating plane's bed and wedge will be a little easier.  Fixing the bed has resulted in the mouth probably being more open than I would have wanted, but I think that it is a small price to pay for fixing the bed.

Over all, it was a hard lesson, but apparently one I needed to learn:  take your time and do everything necessary to do your best work, even if it is supposed to be a quick project.

My impression is that the wide blank (1 1/2" for this 3/4" round) has plenty of wood to keep this plane stable.  I also think that the un-tapered plane with this style is probably OK.  It seated and held as strong as any other plane I have.

It is possible I might get another hour in the shop tomorrow, but I might not.  If not, I know for sure I won't have any more shop time until after Handworks, as we leave this weekend to start our vacation ending in a trip to Iowa.  It doesn't look like I will get any heat treating done in the next couple weeks.

So far, this has been a fun and satisfying project.  I can hardly wait to finish them and give them a try.


  1. looking very nice. this plane is very interesting project, i look forward to it's progression.
    thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! Unfortunately, I fly on vacation for a couple weeks, and won't get back to this project until I get back.