With all my component parts finished I was just left with some wooden handles which should have been finished off earlier as they need to be oiled and cured.
It seems an opportunity to show that there is a lot of hand work in my planes.
Now there is the fitting, milling, grinding and final tweaking. So Claire had better get those baize bags done.
Thought I would mention that the riffler I am using here is one of Noel Liogier’s. It is probably about the only one I have come across that can handle these exotic hard woods without getting tired. In fact it is so efficient that I am having to learn not to be so heavy handed. I would really recommend these rifflers because I have always had a problem with shaping some of these hard exotic woods. The double ended rifflers were given to me when I was exhibiting in Munich in 1998 by Zoltanne Nagy – they have served me very well but unfortunately I can’t find anymore to replace them. Noel’s are supplied with fitted handles.
Next posting will be of the finished plane.
Lever caps assembly now finished
Sorry for the slow progress to those that are waiting, but life is not getting better at the moment. I have my mother’s funeral to go to next week and I also have to make a decision about whether to put down my very poorly dog.
Since the last posting it has been a bit hectic with family visiting. Also I revisited the drawing board a few times as I wasn’t happy with the side profile. I have re-contoured and re-programmed several times until now I am happy with the profile.
These are a few pictures of the current progress.
Next is polishing of the edges, which I love soooo much.
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.
I find that I try to avoid using the term A28 because there is a lot more here than on the original A28 plane. These six are the last I will make as the cost of making is too high.
One of the original A28 Norris planes was sold at David Stanley’s auction Sept 2014 for £8,000 (+ commissions). In the light of this my price of £4,800 is very reasonable, especially as my plane is far superior in quality and construction. Who knows what these will be worth when I am gone.
There are some who would think that because this is cut out with a CNC mill there is no work here, to them I say “make one” There was a lot of work to get here and still a long way to go. (all finished now – look out for the next project).
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
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.