Hand Tools

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Re: Whelan planemaking book?

TomD
"I also would like to better understand the process of making mortised bench planes, to evaluate whether I want to do that. I would be using hand tools for all but initial stock sizing, and am willing to invest in learning new ones (for example, side and edge floats)"

In that case, you might want to look at David's video's he has gone into a lot of detail, and had a good teacher. I couldn't sit through them as I have been down this trail since the 70s or 80s, but I feel it would be good for me because certain aspects of the English are still a little vague as regards the the points of the wedge. Though looking at antiques, any one approach doesn't seem universal. Maybe David could insert a link.

If you break the tasks down, in either Japanese or Western planes, the basic structure is similar. There are two intersecting ramps that need to be formed from the block. This is power mortising, but of an easy kind, since forming ramps is a part of mortise joints, while the trickier part of squaring the hole's bottom is absent. It pays to have a hammer of at least 20 ounces, or whatever you can best handle, and a chisel built like a railway spike, no narrow shoulders. You want to start at the same angles as you finish with, but maybe a little flatter. You can sight this from your layout lines. A firm surface to whack on, like a good bench, beam, or floor will add to the efficiency of the process. Getting a 2x4 and practicing would speed up the learning.

Most people worry about getting the ramp the correct angle, and flat/curved. This is actually the easy part, you work it from the bottom/mouth as well as from the top, so once that plane is made flat, it will be correct to the layout lines. One difficulty is what to do when you get close, how to perfect the last of the end grain, and how to make it pretty. You can make some great planes that aren't that pretty. But the reintroduction of the special tools from the plane maker's toolbox, like floats, have zeroed out the skill required. A practice exercise is to get a good maple 2x2 and pare the end grain flat, then draw a new line around it and eighth lower, and pare that flat. One soon gets the idea.

Working the abutments is pretty easy also. I have used a variety of workshop tools like the LV flush trim Ryobi, or hack saws. Eventually I bought a purpose built saw, it becomes trivial. You are working a slash dado that is the size of a pencil, it does pay to get the initial saw cut correct, but a variety of expensive, though available floats can make anyone an expert.

As with most things in the return to classic woodworking, it was only difficult when we didn't have a road map, and when there weren't any available tools. Early articles came with instructions on how to built floats... With at least some of the right tools, and you don't need all of them, it is a pretty easy project. There is a lot less wood to remove than in one drawer corner dovetail, so long as one goes about it efficiently. I don't own any floats myself, other than a few I half made. So it isn't necessary unless you want to have the full experience, it would certainly make getting some of the crisp details easier.

Messages In This Thread

Whelan planemaking book?
Re: Whelan planemaking book?
Can't answer about the Whelan book
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Thanks (NM) *NM*
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Re: Whelan planemaking book? *LINK*
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Whelan planemaking book?
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Nice Article!
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Dimensioning: Question about roughing planes
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Re: Dimensioning: Question about roughing planes
Do you profile your cap irons?
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Nicholson
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Fun with math
Where did the ball go?
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Focussing on the key point
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(Message Deleted by Poster)
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Re: Do you profile your cap irons?
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No worries *NM*
Reference: Peter Nicholson, 'The Mechanic's Compa
Peter Nicholson plate XII, pages 91 to 93 *NM*
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Re: Reference: paragraphs 3 and 4 *PIC*
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Errors or suboptimal statements in books
Everybody makes mistakes
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Things that can be out of date, too
Re: Dimensioning: Question about roughing planes
Re: Whelan planemaking book?
Re: What is the title
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Thanks Patrick *NM*
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