Was it really Christmas Eve since I last blogged!!!!!!
The first batch of planes are now finished, they were not easy but it hasn’t taken me 10 solid weeks to get this far.
I seem to have landed here without any pictures of separating the bottoms into front and rear. This picture now shows the beds being milled. There is a surprising amount of material to move and has cost me a considerable amount in tooling. Stainless steel does have its disadvantages.
The front end of the bottom. There are two operations here. The first one is to machine the angle for the front end of the mouth then a small rebate is machined to catch the sides of the mouth from the rear section. This will lend a desirable amount of support, especially when it comes to peining the dovetails otherwise this part of the dovetail will cave into the mouth. It also provides additional rigidity to the plane body because any stresses could force the two halves of the plane to jiggle. It doesn’t sound very technical but it is descriptive. It could show a step where the front and the rear of the bottom join. Of course we are only talking very small amounts here (+/- 2 thou).
Something that always amuses me on the traditional mitres is the tongue and groove joint. This does absolutely nothing.
I have obtained some very exotic woods over the past few years but undoubtedly at ‘the top of the tree’ would be Zitan (pterocarpus santalinus), a much coveted wood by the Chinese. There is some more information on my website .
It has always been my intention to fill some of my small low angle planes with this very rare and valuable wood. I think this wood is unknown to most Westerners. I really want to use this in some very special editions. Normally the cost of materials is a small percentage of the price of a plane compared to the labour cost but these planes will have to be at a premium. In the scale of things it would be justifiable to use this extravagant material.
These planes will be rare as I only have a small amount of this wood and I have more chance of winning the lottery than obtaining more (even allowing for the fact I don’t buy lottery tickets!).
These are two very good examples of the oriflame colouring that Zitan is known for. Once exposed to the light and atmosphere it will go dark and in some cases black.
No 10 smoother/mitre
A very patient customer asked me to make a small mitre plane. He wanted a 11/4” wide blade to be bedded at 25 deg and bevel up with a short body. No adjuster was required.
I would classify this plane as a smoother/mitre. The small mitre plane has always seemed to be surprisingly scarce for its usefulness. Having got my simple sketch approved the first batch is now well on the way (the sketch can be seen on the website here http://www.holteyplanes.com/).
It is a combined stainless steel bottom with naval brass dovetailed sides and brass lever cap and thumb screw. The blade is in my A2 original specification and has a top sneck. The length of the plane is 43/4“.
Despite its apparent austerity there will be no lacking in specification and quality. The designation will be No.10. Delivery will be end of November 2011.
What better place to start than the blades. Here are the A2 blanks being drilled and shaped. These are now away being heat treated (the only work to be done out of house).
Brass sides have been cut from sheet and trued up into rectangular blanks.
The final part of the A6 construction.
Drilling and countersinking frogs for the rivets.
The bottom has been slotted out for mouth and drilling for the corresponding frog rivets.
Adjuster components for A6
This item is most commonly known as the banjo and it is the most work intensive component in the whole plane. This picture shows that it comes out of a round bar.
There is a lot of preparation but this is not a step by step instruction manual, it is just a few snapshots. In these pictures, after lots of preparation I start to ball generate the round part of this component.
A6 Part 2
All of the woodworking has its edges squared up on the milling machine as I have a bit more confidence in this machine than I do a planer.
A pair of infill sides being drilled for riveting spacers. At this stage all edges are trued up
This is the infill side with the spacers pressed through the handle testing for fit. The two sides have yet to be separated.
The last batch of A6 planes part 1
After receiving a commission for an A6 smoother I decided to make a batch of six. The A6 is probably the most time consuming of the infill planes (well perhaps the A7 is worse!). When using the designation A6 one should realise that my A6 is not to be compared with the Norris or any other plane of this type – it is made to a higher precision and has some innovations not seen in the original. This standard is beyond the scope of those without a tool room; I am not aware of any comparison. I work from a reasonably equipped tool room; not a production line. All work is done in house with the exception of heat treatment for the blades.
Although this model has been blogged before I am running it through again as this A6 is just that little bit more special. I always try to make the current plane better than the preceding one. Also these will be the very last Holtey A6 planes. For all my innovations and upgrades my work is veiled by the Norris history and I feel it is time to move on.
The first part of starting the plane is to get the timber chosen and prepared so giving the wood some time to settle whilst making a start on the metal work.
Here is a stunning piece of Cocobolo (Dalbergia Retusa) which was cut from a very nice log that I acquired from Timber Line a couple of years ago – thanks to a friend who spotted it on a visit there. This is the basic roughing out for the infill components.
With the wood put aside to rest, a good starting point is the blades as they need to be sent away for the heat treatment. This shows the milling of the faceted end and slot.
A6 dovetail infill smoother
It was always my intention with this blog to show how much work goes into my planes and I hope that the format I have chosen has been successful as I don’t have much time to talk about my minutiae of everyday life and just stay focused on the work in hand. I am sorry that my postings are so random but as they are time consuming I cannot afford to put them before my work. I hope that you can see that my workshop is a serious workplace. I have difficulty finding time for travelling to tool events. I know this makes me seem a recluse but I can assure you that plane making to me is more than a full time occupation.
Sorry there has been such a gap since the last posting (and the time before), but any spare time I have had lately has been taken up with visitors and I have had to make some effort in my social life. If anyone is thinking of visiting you must be prepared to climb a mountain as this is my relaxation.
The prefix on the smoothing plane is almost irrelevant as the techniques are the same. I feel that there are a lot of pieces missed out and this post is to try and fill the gaps. I will also try and fill in any gaps on the No 982 next. Then I will move on to new projects.
The A6 is the only overstuffed plane in my range and is one of the main difference to the A13.
Sometimes it is nice to photograph components at this stage as it is an insight into some of the work. Once everything is assembled it is gone forever.
As you can see here that the rear infill is made up in three parts. In the second picture you can see the three parts assembled showing the brass rivet spacers/sleeves and the recessing for the sides and adjuster. Also the adjuster fixing bar and the handle spine.
As I have mentioned before most of my entries will be piece meal and out of sequence. On this occasion I have managed to take some pictures whilst making chip breakers. Apologies for missing the bending and forming of the front edge of the chip breaker but I forgot to take the pictures.
These chip breakers are standard on all my smoothing planes with 2 ¼” blades. They are made from gauge plate.
Milling the faceted end of the chip breaker with a rough cutter.
Just a couple of pictures that got left off Post no 38 on the A6