As I have said on my web page the No 984 panel plane is to be my last. This is the beginning of the promised blog. I have been a bit slow starting as I have been busy with stock sales and many enquiries. Thank you very much for all your nice comments – I am not actually retiring as most people I knew retired and died, I will keep up the coffin dodging and I have many other things to do. These No 984 planes will keep me going for about 3 months.
This is the 420 stainless steel that I am using for the bottoms and sides of the plane. The plan is to start knocking some weight off them. I am trying not to let the weight of the finished plane go over 3 kilos. All surfaces will be milled and ground. The steel that I have here is enough to make a limited batch of 12 planes.
Here begins the slog, there is a lot of material to come away. This picture shows a bottom starting out 12 mm thick and it will end up just over 10 mm in the finished plane.
It has been a long time but the Chariot Plane is now finished. I have some No 983 planes to complete and then I am moving on to something new.
Despite having some part made infills which had been drying for 20 years, I decided that I preferred this piece of rosewood (which has also been in my workshop for a long time, and I have very little left) – Dalbergia Cubiquitzensis – it has more ‘bling’
I am in the process of making a small batch of these planes, which will include this rosewood, Boxwood and a mystery wood – photos soon.
I am occasionally asked how to dovetail. It is a bit of a cheeky question and it would take me several months or more full time to teach this properly. Sometimes people seem to forget I am running a business.
I have been making dovetailed planes for over 25 years now and I still keep trying to improve my system. Another plane maker described my dovetails as made on the CNC and are very cold and clinical – is this how one would describe a precision job? Then guilty as charged.
Here are some photos of part of the dovetailing process.
Sometimes it is frustrating that I have to do this much work before closing a plane up. The pictures above show a Boxwood spacer which supports the sides whilst peining the dovetails. Sometimes I use aluminium for this process but as I am only making 6 planes it doesn’t have to do much work. Also the sides of the plane will not be scratched when removing the spacer. A lot of work for a piece of tooling which will be discarded after six uses.
Showing everything in place ready for clamping in the vice. Note that the clamping plates support the dovetails as well. There is no movement and everything stays true to size.
This is the first stage of peining. You will see that the peining looks quite messy and untidy as I am stuffing the extra brass into the voids.
The last stage of peining the dovetails is the sides. Again the assembly is clamped in a precision vice with a spacer plate between the uneven peining on the underside so true reference is maintained.
The use of bimetals will show up any untidiness.
Easy isn’t it
Final tweaking and polishing before assembly
Once assembled there is no access
Progress on my A28 Chariot Plane
This picture shows some idea of all the work that goes into this plane. Unless you have done it yourself you can never imagine the effort and thought that goes into making this Chariot. This plane is made to a standard light years beyond its original counterpart made by Norris.
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