Monday, April 30, 2007

Baby Plane.....

Hi Folks
Finished another plane, this time a baby smoother. Pretty little thing, I am quite taken with it. I am getting quite drawn to smaller smoothers - a #4 1/2 sized woody just doesn't seem right. I;ve put some more pictures here....
Work has been keeping me busy (and tired!!) so I am trying to finish off the mobile base for my tool chest but keep getting sidetracked. I keep picking up a plane and tweaking it, playing with it and making shavings. Not very constructive, I know, but I am learning a lot. As James Krenov mentioned in his books, wooden planes are like finely tuned musical instruments that need to tweaked and fussed over to get the best from them. But once you get them in the zone........ :)
I think I have sussed out fitting the wedge - it takes me little time to get it right, now, and they fit well without needing to be hammered in or out. That's gotta mean something!
Have a good week,

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Two Parcels....

No, not "two Jags", our beloved (stop laughing at the back!) Deputy PM but two parcels. Delivered, sort of , to Philly Towers.
I use the term "delivered" but really I had to drive to two separate depots to collect these. It's great, the postal service...... ;)
Parcel number one. Some tool steel. Remember that?? Yes, I called Tilgear on Thursday to enquire about my missing tool steel. Seems they forgot to process my order........Not a happy bunny!!! And this is the thanks for recommending them in a national magazine as a supplier.
So I now recommend you DON'T use Tilgear (now known as Nilgear) for tool steel. Try Cromwell or J+L instead, who BOTH have an amazing new interface known as a website. Rant over.......

Parcel number two. After paying Parcel Farce to release my package (from the US so I had to pay duty PLUS £8 to for "handling". I thought the postage was paid on the parcel when it was sent to me - why the hell do we have to pay this??? Especially as I had to drive two miles to collect it myself!!!!???)
I managed to calm down upon opening the parcel as it was from James Krenov. Now I know some folks are not fans of Mr K but I happen to hold him in great esteem. I could never afford a cabinet of his (they go some serious money!) and as his eyesight is failing (he is in his late eighties) he has stopped making cabinets. He is still making the odd hand plane so I emailed his and asked to be put on the waiting list. And here it is......
My first impressions were "mixed" - elated at receiving the plane, disappointed at the rough piece of wood in my hand. But upon getting it in the workshop and using it I quickly realised that the appearance was misleading. The plane performs much better than it looks and it is very comfortable to use. The body is shaped very cleverly - it is asymmetrical and suits a right handed grip perfectly. You can also hold it in many different ways. I am learning a lot from this plane!
Anyway - the weekend is here. I need to make some irons, pronto!
Enjoy the sunshine,

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Iron still waiting.......

Tool steel. Yup, still waiting................... :(
Not too happy - Tilgear have had over a week to get my steel sent out and still no show. Hence, no bloggy...........
I have two planes that are pretty much complete. As soon as the steel arrives I'll be able to finish them off and then I'll have some more pretty planes to show.
The weekend past was Yandles time (again!) Shocking how quickly it comes around. It was great to meet up with the crew from UK Workshop - we had a good old time, especially over my latest purchase. Yes, a Lie-Nielsen BRUSH!
Needless to say, such a purchase has led to much mirth. It was worth every penny ;)
I am making up the moulding to trim the tool chest base unit. I hope to veneer up the drawers for this on the coming weekend.
And then I need a new project to get my teeth into. I have a design for a Maloof inspired table to go with the chair I made ages ago. Maybe, maybe......

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hi Folks
I know you were expecting finished photo's of the toted smoother. Went out to make the iron yesterday - slight problem on the steel front.......
I've run out of 1/8 tool steel. Plenty of monster 1/4 tool steel (Don't ask!) but I have already made the plane for 1/8 thick stock. So you'll have to wait whist Tilgear get some more sent my way. I gave the plane a good waxing anyway ;)
Back to work!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Plane Crazy.........

Thankfully, Sophie is feeling much better today! A day spent relaxing in the sunshine and taking it easy is just what the Doctor ordered. And the workshop is so near.......... ;)
So you know I said I didn't think it was worth building a toted version of the coffin smoother? Yup, I am a sucker for it. Just applied a coat of oil before retiring for the evening. I'll make the iron and wedge tomorrow and get some final pictures for you all.
I was surprised how long it took to make the tote, probably as long as it took me to make the previous plane! I made it as part of the plane, not a glued in piece. That meant all the shaping had to be done in-situ, making things a little trickier. Worth it though.
'til tomorrow,

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Hi Folks
Been a tough few days - my daughter has been ill. That means four sleepless nights. Yes, I am a little rattled (and Mrs Philly is exhausted too) Hopefully, little one will be back on her feet soon. Hate to have to eat all those chocolate eggs......... ;)
Now, I did grab the odd moment in the 'shop. And this is what I came up with - a coffin smoother.
Named due to the curved shape of its body, not its purpose, it is very comfortable to hold and the timber (Pau Rosa) is very heavy. Perfect!
I'm pretty happy with this plane - it feels like I'm making progress. The smoothing plane is a bit of a holy grail of hand planes. A tight mouth and sharp iron are only part of the story. Feel. How it feels to hold and how it feels in use. The feedback it gives.
I immediately had the thought to make another one with a tote. But using the coffin smoother tells me it just isn't needed. The lack of a handle allows you to hold it in many ways - there is no rigid "you hold it like this" technique, just a tool that can be used the best way for the purpose in hand. Kind of reminds me of Jim Krenov's planes - he made a similar point about not having a tote.
So what next?? Guess I should do some woodwork? Mind you - there's always a plough. Or a panel raiser, or chamfer plane, etc, etc, etc....... :)
have a good weekend,

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Slug

Hi Folks
Knocked together another Krenov style plane last night. I was bored, you know ;)
It's no the prettiest plane I've ever made, but to be fair it is something of a testbed.
I wanted to make a 60 degree bevel down plane, and the lamination method is a quick way to make a plane. It came together well, although fitting the wedge took a while. Seems my brass crosspin was a little dented.....
Did it work? Well yes and no. It works well for very fine shavings but is susceptible to the throat clogging. I'm not sure why, yet. There seems to enough space for the shavings to escape yet they still seem to jam up. I will continue to investigate.......
The tool chest mobile base is coming along slowly. The chest is now living on top of the base (with the saw till completing the tower) to be sure it will take the weight. It seems pretty happy so far!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ask No Questions....

Hi Folks
As you can guess from the title, yes, I am fully aware of my blog-lackage.........
So what have I been up to?
Work has been busy. Very busy! And I guess you are pretty board of my day-to-day stuff so lets crack on to the woody stuff.
The Jack. You remember the jack plane? I was very happy with how it came out, how it looked and felt. But when using the "original" if felt so much better than the new one. Why?
No 1:
No 2:
the way it planed...........

O.k. so the weight thing is down to the timber. Both are beech but my plank of spalted is pretty lightweight. So I can live with that. And maybe use a different timber for a heavyweight version one day. Like soonish!
But in use it just felt very different from my original. And it slowly clicked what the difference was. The camber of the iron!
Now, you may be about to fall asleep at the thought of discussing various radius cambers and their differing properties. And fair due, it sounds boring.
But - and its a big but! The camber makes a huge difference to the "feel" of the plane in use. I love my original jack plane. It cost me £1 from a car boot sale. Its not particularly pretty or well made but it works well, especially after cambered the blade. It is my "go to" plane for cleaning up rough sawn boards (anyone want a scrub??) and quick stock removal (short of the bandsaw)
And it seems I lucked out on the degree of camber I put on the blade. It feels perfect! It removes large shavings, not chips. And tear-out is acceptable for such large stock removal.
So my new jack. It just wasn't right. And the only thing I could think that was different was the blade camber. And it was quite a bit tighter a radius than the original. So I spent an hour or so gently flattening out the camber and re-honing the iron. Testing the cut and appraising it.
Finally I reached a point where performance was exactly the same as my original plane! Joy. And no-one would know of my nerdy radius testing experiments. Until now...... ;)
So what is the radius that feels so "right" to me???
Now that would be nerdy, wouldn't it..... :)