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.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Plate 19 Moulding Planes

Recently I bought a French moulding plane, and during the discussion of it, someone pointed me to Plate 18 of Roubo:
Plate 18.
This plate shows a grooving plane with an open mortise, in the traditional French style.  Plate 19 goes on to show how these planes would be configured as hollows and rounds.

In a discussion with Jeremy at JMAW Works, we chatted about the fact that you basically only have two choices with moulding planes today:  New premium priced planes, and vintage junkers.

This French style with the open mortice looks like it would be easier for regular woodworkers to make, and if they were mass produced, would take far less labor resulting in a cheaper product.

I decided I had to make at least one pair to try them out.

First, I bought some steel blanks from McMaster Carr.  I was pleasantly surprised when I ordered "Tight Tolerance Flat Stock-Precision Ground," and this showed up:
Starret O1 tool steel, future plane blanks.
If you can see, these blanks were made by Starrett, which makes me feel a whole lot better about the steel quality.  There is even instructions on the label for heat-treating.

I will most likely cut the 18" bars in half or so, grind the profile on the end, and heat treat them.  That is all the metal work that is required.  No messing with a tang, full width the whole way back.

Looking at Plate 19, It looks like hollows and rounds generally are have a wooden stock that is roughly twice as wide as the intended profile.  I dug around in my scrap bin, and found some nice, quarter sawn cherry that planed out to a good 1 1/2", perfect for a set of #12s, a 3/4" profile.
1 1/2" plane blanks in cherry.
 I happened to have an unfinished pair of English style moulding planes that were handy to assist in the layout of these.  I will finish these ones one of these days, but I think it might be fun to do the French ones first.
Layout aid.
 I used a saw guide I made for the previous pair of H&Rs.  I did this guide wrong.  The 65 1/2 degree angle is on the front, and the 54 3/4 degree angle is on the back.  I suppose it really doesn't matter, but I would feel better if it was the other way around.  That way the guide would line up with the outside of the lines rather than the inside.  With a small adjustment, it worked fine.
Lining up my saw guide.
 Sawing all the way through the plane blank was surprisingly easy.  However, chipping out the waste was easier yet.  One good whack, and practically the whole thing came out in one piece. 
A little too tight for the mouth - this 1/10" chisel doesn't quite fit through the mouth.
 I used a router plane to smooth the bottom of the mortice.  It only goes about half way in, but it made this job a lot easier.
Flattening the bottom (or is it the side?)  of the mortice.
 Cleaning the inside with the 1/10" chisel was then pretty easy.
Open mortice.
 I did have to open up the back of the mouth a little so the chisel would fit.  Now that I am writing this and looking at the photo, I probably should have opened it up by trimming the front of the plane rather than the back.  Depending on how big that is, it might affect how the blade seats.  Hmmm.
Did I make a mistake?
 Let's make some wedges.
Ready for wedges.
 Looking at how the wedge fits from my template, it looks like this was intended for a tapered blade.  I could taper the blades I got, but I want to try it without, as I am guessing tapering the blades is messy and no fun.  I want this to be cheap and easy.  I think I will just tweak the wedges to fit.
One wedge done.
All in all, I got this far in about four hours.  That includes digging through my scrap pile until I found something appropriate and squaring up the stock for the planes and the wedges by hand.  Preparing everything four square definitely took up most of the time.
A pair of #12s about half done.
 I didn't have more time to work on them today, and unfortunately probably won't get more time with this project until after Handworks.
Another view.
 If you'll be at Handworks, say "Hi."  I am looking forward to meeting fellow like-minded woodworkers there.
Here is a view with one of them and my 12" steel rule.
I think this might be a realistic alternative to the kinds of planes we all know.  This one seems like there is PLENTY of wood on the blind side to keep everything where it is supposed to be.  Only time will tell.  My plan is to finish these using as many elements from English planes as possible.  I even considered using the "leaning wedge," but decided that might complicate things a bit and prevent the use of the router plane.  Perhaps I'll do that on the next one.

One of the downsides to this plane that I can already see, is that it is awfully wide.  This #12 is 1 1/2" at the grip.  Larry Williams says an English #12 should be 1 3/32", with the grip being 3/4".  That might be a lot more comfortable.  What happens when these start getting really wide?  Do I really want a 2" wide plane to cut a 1" wide profile?  We'll see.

I suspect that this will probably be one of the largest profiles I use on the kinds of mouldings I plan on making.  Perhaps these will turn out to be handy, as they sure are simple to make so far.

Cribbage Board Fixed

I tried to talk myself into the crack, but it just didn't work for me. 
I couldn't live with the crack.
I sawed a kerf along the big ones, and inserted some maple.
fixing some cracks.
When I cut the maple off, and cleaned it up with a plane, I noticed one side of the maple didn't seat fully.  This little gap under the maple strip resulted in a hole that wouldn't allow the maple strip to be planed even no matter how much I planed.  I fixed this bit by flooding with epoxy, and then planing it flat.

There was one other problem, too.  When I tried to re-drill the holes, I wound up with massive tear out theat resulted in a big hole on the face of the board.
Unacceptable tear out.
This one-hour project has just landed itself in the multiple week category.  I had plenty of time to get this gift ready, but today is probably my last day in the shop before I need to give it away.

Time for the big guns - ebony inlay.
Waiting for the glue to dry.
There was also a tiny crack in the spot where the tear out was.  I found a nice little ebony scrap from a previous project, and decided it would be perfect here.  I wanted originally to keep all of the woods domestic in this project, but what are you going to do.  I think it looks nice.
Interesting feature.
And as a bonus, I made a new plug.  Remember, the last one I made blew off the balcony and was lost.  I decided to make this one from cherry.  I planed a stick a little smaller than the diameter I needed, and made it octagonal.  The threads on the octagonal part don't look as nice as they did on the dowel, but it turns smoothly and the octagonal plug is easier to grip.

Enjoy the glamour shots:
Ebony is cool.

This is a neat shaving.

I was super careful not to let the plug blow away in the wind this time.

Flea Market Finds

Saturday's haul.
 Less than twenty bucks, done by 9:00 am, no rain, nine items, 28 photos.
1 Euro for these awesome old tailor's scissors.

I think I got these three for 7 Euros.  Expensive.

The mortice chisel turns out to be Peugeot.  This should be a good one.

8mm Voltus?

1/4" chisel by Two Cherries.

How about some out-of-order action?  I think this handle isn't original to the gouge.

Nice shallow sweep.

A little rusty, but a British chisel. 

Here it is, 50 Euro cents.

This chisel was 1 Euro.  Another nice and narrow one.

I have never heard of this before.  Matador, and the back of the handle is stamped, Ulmia.

Hefty for such a narrow chisel.

This pair was two Euros.

More non-orignial handles.  But, I really like the octagonal one.

Nice and thin.  One of them might be bent, I am not sure.

Another expensive lot, 7 Euros.

I have no regular drill bits for a brace.  Now I have three!

This is what I really wanted, a countersink.  And, there were four!

A little grubby, we'll see how they clean up.

The obligatory gimlet bit.  This one could be nice.

I soaked them all in a water bath with citric acid to remove the rust.

The gouge says, "Herring Bros., London"

Three out of four of these look really nice!

I completely took the scissors apart, cleaned them up and sharpened ala Paul Sellers.

I couldn't see this with all the crud.  It says, "Flexo, garantee."

They now work perfectly.  A little rough on the handle.  I might paint and coat with epoxy for comfort.