This Chariot is the last item in the series of low angle planes I have been making recently. I have only made a few of these planes and that was a long time ago in my early days of plane making. Then my side profiles were cut by hand and I made up a template which I would scribe round. Now that I CNC these the machine can’t see my template so I have had to re-draw it showing co-ordinates to write a programme from.
This line drawing by today’s standards might look a bit primitive but I have never had the leisure to learn to use a CAD. With a drawing showing contours I can write this in to my control unit. Drawing contours is more instinct than anything and I just know when it is right however long it takes (I would be ashamed to tell you how long these ones took).
The bullnose and shoulder plane blades must be the most work intensive. Once finished I celebrate with a photo!
Infill/adjuster housing/plane bed – whatever
Always a good feeling when nearing completion, although there is still a lot of fitting and finishing after they are separated.
Blades back from heat treatment. They have been vacuum hardened and triple tempered, followed by a two hour nitrogen soak. Note that there is no colouration to the blades, which means there were perfect conditions with no leakage.
Now they ‘just’ need polishing and surface grinding.
Blades for the Bullnose plane
Cutting the blade bevel
The blade is secured by its adjusting holes etc, in a purpose made holding block, for profile milling.
The milling is coming to an end of the first cut.
The finishing cut.
Profiling complete, with just the side bevels to be done. This is a quick summary of some of the blade work.
A picture of the main components ready for assembly. It has been a long time getting here. It is just like climbing a mountain – you keep seeing false summits.
Back working on the Bullnose after so much downtime with the grinding machine maintenance:
Pictures 1 – 4
This is the cast iron infill for the Bullnose. As you can see this is a complex shape so I will let the pictures speak for themselves. As with most things I design and make I go places that have never been visited, making these planes very unique.
This shows the pin side of the dovetails being milled.
Rebating the tops of the dovetail area, which provides a light stop and gives the dovetails a better form. Again this system is unique to my planes.
One of the problems of making precision planes is needing your own tool room. This means that on occasions maintenance is necessary.
A simple task like cleaning my coolant tank got so complicated that two weeks went passed before I could get the grinding machine back in service again.
My schedule is now running late and I am looking forward to getting back to working on planes again.
This is one of only six A27 Bullnose planes I made many years ago. This was made by casting as were the original Norris. There were one or two downsides to this method of production so for some time I have been contemplating making a fabricated version using traditional dovetails. Now that time has arrived. It will be a limited edition, and as you will have realised I am moving away from traditional infill planes so unlikely that I will make these again. This is the second plane in the set of three low angle planes I have been making for some of my customers – A27, A28 and A31.
A quick line drawing of the proposed plane. This is being made with naval brass sides (CZ112) and malleable cast iron for the bottoms, fore-end and bridge sections. I will be using a traditional wooden wedge and the adjuster housing is also rosewood. To my knowledge a Bullnose plane has not been made since Norris’s time in the 1920s – when it cost 23/- (shillings). I shall have to charge a little more. I have also moved the goalposts in regards to quality and precision.
The sides being routed on the CNC mill. All the precision work holding tools and jigs I made myself before starting this. Every plane I make has individual jigs and work holding which are surface ground to a high precision. My tool room has been built up over many years and is, I believe, the only one of its kind. You will not find this standard of precision anywhere else.
The riveting holes, include a 60 degree chamfer, which provides the jig fixing and positive location.
The mouth being cut out last as a separate job as it needs an additional clamping to support the front end – which can be seen to the left hand side of the picture.
Here is the finished side except for the dovetailing. It includes its mirror partner completing the pair.
As usual to be continued when I next have an opportunity.
Now I have a finished lever cap and the picture is a reminder that it is cut from a solid stainless steel bar.
The plane is now finished and is due to be on the website by the end of the week.
As this lever cap has taken a very long time to make I thought this picture, of it not even half way completed, tells some of the story. The milling, grinding and polishing has to done in sequence to achieve the finish I require. It will be a complex shape when completed.
After several weeks of design, trial and tribulations, the thumb wheel is finally complete. New designs and ideas are always time consuming.
This picture shows the thumb wheel inverted and assembled with the floating spherical washer (the washer does not appear to be central on the photo as it is floating). This works with the matching spherical depression in the underside of the thumb wheel like a ball and socket; evenly spreading the load over its area, helping to eliminate any lateral movement on the blade as you tighten down on it. It also helps to evenly distribute the pressure throughout the blade bed reducing body distortion.
These are the three components making up the thumb wheel. I have changed the grip arrangement on the thumb wheel and screws. I dislike the fact that a lot of knurls fill up with dirt. Aesthetically I find this method, though labour intensive, is more pleasing and feels comfortable on the thumb/fingers.
I would like to emphasise that, as always, all my components are hand made, in house.