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).
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.
Nice to be back at work after my carpel tunnel operation. Still a bit sore but I can’t stay away!
All that is left now is the lever cap and palm rest. But this is quite a large chunk of work.
More updates on the No 983 plane
Slow progress but I do like to get my bottoms right. All materials are in 303 or 304 stainless steel due to its better corrosion resistance
As you can see the finger rest is press fit.
The heart and sole of this plane
I thought it about time I wrote some more in my blog. Looking back on my past entries I notice that there are some gaps which I intend filling here.
At the beginning of any project the metal is a good place to start (after design and drawings are done of course). In all my classic designs I use mild steel – I have tried it in several different forms; hot rolled (which is very good and has little stress in but comes with a lot of scale to deal with), BMS (which is nice and clean but has a lot of stress in it), sheet metal (which still has a difficult scale to deal with and some stress). Stainless steel would be my favourite choice, but not on the classic type of planes. I therefore choose mild steel as this is a nice ductile material once the stress problems have been dealt with. To relief the stress I have to cut it to manageable sizes and send it off for heat treatment. This picture shows the material in two stages – after heat treatment and some after surface grinding.
As you can see from the picture my grinding machine is a Jones and Shipman 1430. It was made in the ‘60s and it has been reconditioned by Andmar who are more ‘Jones and Shipman’ than the company themselves. It has been the main stay of my workshop since I purchased it 10 years ago as all my work including tool making passes through here. That is every jig and every piece of work holding (as well as plane components). It sets the standard for all my work.
This surface grinder uses a 24” x 12” Eclipse magnetic chuck which needs re-surfacing every 12 months. This can take up the best part of a day. The nice true surface is so good I just had to photograph it (sad isn’t it!).
My current project is A1 14 ½” Panel planes. I have documented this before (use this link http://www.toolworkshop.co.uk/blogarchive/) so I am just putting a few pictures to look at.
These Thumb planes are now finished but I didn’t have time to blog it. However the techniques are the same as on all my other planes.
They are available in Cocobolo, African Black Wood and Boxwood at £3,750 (+ vat if applicable).