Hand Tools Archive

Re: "It's a waste of time to make stanley irons"

David Weaver
I do have a drill press now. Home depot special. It's very inaccurate, but accuracy isn't needed. I would've made these with a milwaukee holeshooter just the same (Actually, that might be kind of fun and solve the issue of me potentially getting whacked by a rotating iron on the end of a large drill bit).

Anyway, I drill holes, then file through the waste on two holes until I can get a flat file in and then use the flat file to cut through the rest of the way. My favorite flat files for fast work are the simonds multi kut coated, they're something like $9 and they cut far faster than a normal single cut file. I can do probably half a dozen or 8 irons with one, and three of the XHP irons, I'd guess.

Once all of the holes have the in between waste cut out at file thickness, it's just a matter of putting the iron in the vise and filing down to the mark. I like filing kind of like I like planing. You can get good at it and then it's enjoyable.

XHP pins files a fair bit, though (not like brass does, marring a surface, but it leaves strange little film all over the file making it look exactly like it would if you filed something overhard and rounded the smartness off of all of the teeth all at once). A file card takes care of it very easily. The round parts are just cut out mostly round looking with the round file, light work just at the mark.

I have an OSS now (guitars) and could clean up the curved parts at the end so that nobody would instantly look at them and think "oh, hand filed. how untidy", but there's no need.

It's another nifty little mindless project and at this point now that I have a process figured out, it will preserve the original irons in the older planes. There aren't many I. Sorby 7s floating around, and the flatness level on my jointer would've literally fit within LN's spec easily. It's maybe the only vintage jointer that I ever got that would.

I file to the mark on the outside/width with a vixen (those are really great for unhardened steel. Fast, really pleasing to use), and then after rounding the back, half grind a bevel to try to tempt the steel to warp to the opposite side. So far, I've never had an iron warp with the cupping on the bevel side.

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