Thursday, May 28, 2015

Some More New Tools!

OK, so I spent some more money today that I meant not to.

Since the guy with the welding torch certification is on leave for the next couple weeks, I am unable to heat treat the irons for my new moulding planes.

Or am I?

Larry Williams shows in his DVD heat treating some plane irons using a regular propane torch that you could get anywhere.  While I was at the big box store today, I was looking at those.  For a lot more money, though, I could get a MAPP torch which essentially is butane.  This particular torch gets much hotter than a wimpy propane torch, more than 2300 degrees centigrade!

This ought to heat treat the crap out of my plane irons!

I decided it might also be a good idea to get a new fire extinguisher.
My plan is now to do the heat treating on my balcony using my barbecue as a platform.  I have a couple of fire bricks to help direct the heat, and a gallon of peanut oil to quench.  All I need now is an appropriate old pot as I think the Frau will frown on me heat treating plane irons and quenching them in our best pasta pot.

I think I'm all ready to go now:  I spent my lunch hour the other day at the Army's woodshop grinding the untreated irons on their powered grinder, and finished the shaping today with a file.  I think I have them pretty close.  My guess is shaping them with a file is much easier than doing it after they are hardened.
The round,

And the hollow.  The iron is a bit overly proud here as I thought that would make a better photo.
While I was taking these photos, I found the setting on my camera that takes microscope pictures.
Here is the endgrain of the cherry plane blank.
Technically everything is ready to go.  After heat treating the irons, they can be sharpened and put to work in these planes.  However, there still are lots of cosmetic details that need to be done to these babies before I'll call them done.
A little closer every day.


  1. can't wait to see the heat treatment!

  2. Excellent. Once again, you jump farther ahead of me on this project... Don't forget, you can also use that MAPP torch to try out that Raney Nelson, burn & wax finish, after talking with him at handworks I'm dying to try that out.

    1. I missed speaking to him, but am curious. Is it in the blogosphere somewhere?

  3. It's in the April PopWood and teased here
    It sounds pretty easy after talking with Raney. Basically wave the torch over the wood till it darkens to the color you want, then immediately apply some beeswax (or similar) with a scotchbrite (or similar.) makes for an interesting look, especially on ring porous woods like oak.

    1. Oops! I guess I just let the world know my subscription has lapsed!