From the Workshop

November 14, 2019

Workshop Blog no 24 – No 985

Stainless steel bolts for the No 985. 250 of them. All handmade. Never want to see one again. I would be embarrassed to say how long they took. It is important that they were made to a high precision, but will be hidden when the work is finished.

There are only a small number of these planes unsold

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April 8, 2019

Workshop blog no 22 – No 985

I wish this stainless stuff would cut as easy as the plastic. The plastic is very useful for setting up.

This is quite a heavy cut for my machine and she it is getting quite old. So it always nice to put these jobs behind me.

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With the recesses now cut I am still not out of the woods as the drilling for the custom made screws makes me worried about tool breakage – set up is critical. The drilling stage is three different tools.

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The tapping is the most dangerous part of this stage and I always take a sigh of relief if I finish without incident. One tap breakage means I am minus a plane – that is a lot of work gone down the toilet! It is not like a production line and every plane is relied on to show a profit.

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Every stage of this work has to be a well planned operation to avoid any casualties.

March 27, 2019

Workshop blog no 20 – No 985

Filed under: No 985,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:30 am

I was hoping to get my handles underway this week, but decided to complete the chassis first as the handles will need tweaking when I have an assembled plane.

The start of the front bun, drilling, tapping and counter bore ready to go on to the turning abor. This is the same fit as the fixing bush. Which is another hidden job.

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This operation is usually done on the manual mill as the thread cutting is best done by hand for better sensitivity and ensuring sharp and clean threads. More on this later.

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With reluctance I have put the wood working on hold and moved the chassis forward. Here is the holding fixture awaiting programming and tooling.

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March 18, 2019

Workshop Blog no 17 – No 985

Filed under: No 985,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , , — admin @ 2:57 pm

After a lot of deliberation I have made a decision to screw the front bun directly to the sole which allows me to achieve the design aspect I was looking for.

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You will notice that the profile has been cut showing recesses for the handle tenons. Still a lot of work here as everything is complex just to achieve a simple line. The handle will be secured by one 6mm screw. All my dimensions are critical so precision is the key word. I am longing to get this bottom finished and get on with the rest of the plane. On all my planes the bottom is the mainstay of my work.

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March 1, 2019

Workshop blog no 14 – No 985

I was hoping to get a little bit further than this but too many interruptions. I have finally made the decision to cut up my 416 bar for the bottoms – scary, can’t go back now. But I have been procrastinating for long enough. Especially since the bar cost £1100. Like most of my materials it is a rolled bar which needs to be planed just as you would with a piece of wood but harder work in stainless steel.

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This is reducing the bar down to its finished size. I am looking forward to the rest of the work.

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February 23, 2019

Workshop blog 12 – No 985

The last side of the No 985 plane. The fixture screws (custom made of course) are also going to be used in the fabrication of the plane. They will be bedded in a locking compound.

I have flitted backwards and forwards between this system and the in-situ riveting – they both have their plus points. Same quantity of work with either system. But working with this system puts less stress in the construction.

As you can see from these jig screws they have a precision shank for true alignment.

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February 22, 2019

Workshop blog 11 – No 985

Filed under: No 985,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , , — admin @ 2:17 pm

This is the making of the milling fixture to profile the No 985 sides. When I bought this machine the salesman said it had screw cutting but I never ever found it. It is important to do the screw cutting whilst everything is still in the machine; I have to move into each hole co-ordinate and cut the threads by hand.

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10 years later ……

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February 20, 2019

Workshop blog 10 – No 985

Work commences on the stainless sides … you didn’t really think I was going to make it out of green plastic?

Holtey No 985 sides

After a milling operation is finished everything has to be broken down and set up again for the next stage. This usually means making new fixtures and writing another programme. Always a lot of understated work on every new design.

Holtey No 985 mill breakdown

It is always sad breaking down the machine just when everything seems to be working nicely. I have to be extra careful I haven’t missed out a side (done it before!).

One of the things that makes me different is that this is not just a craft job, this work is precision and takes a lot of planning.

I have decided to try and keep everyone informed as to the detailed work that goes into these planes. A well known manufacturer once said that I always manage to keep my work hidden.

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