From the Workshop

September 19, 2019

Workshop blog no 32 – No 985

It has been a very long journey but at last the planes are ready. I have always said that I try to improve over the preceding planes which is always a difficulty and this one clearly does it.

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September 18, 2019

Workshop blog no 31 – No 985

Another picture which I missed out yesterday

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September 17, 2019

Workshop blog no 30 – No 985

Filed under: No 985 — Tags: , , , — admin @ 8:03 pm

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Photos showing the bolts trimmed, milled and surface ground. This plane has probably been the best of all my work and one of the most important factors is the much heavier chassis. I have been able to work to very much tighter milling tolerances, in fact well under 1 thou. It has helped on the grinding because I need to take less off – stainless steel is very difficult for grinding and I can only take cuts of .0002″ (that is 2/10 of a thou). The more cuts you take from stainless the harder the material becomes. You also have to be continually wheel dressing even with using a ceramic wheel. This is the real work that I enjoy the most.

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September 14, 2019

Workshop Blog no 29 – No 985

Filed under: No 985 — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:04 pm

The bolts have been thread locked with Loctite 270, so things should be moving along very quickly now.

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August 18, 2019

Workshop Blog 27 – No 985

Filed under: No 985,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , — admin @ 4:50 pm

Just thought I would put this picture up of the No 985 smoother in its chrysalis form, still some work to go but on course to be completed for the end of the month.

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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 22, 2019

Workshop Blog no 19 – No 985

One of the things about the smoothing plane is that it is for finishing only and this is better achieved by keeping the plane as short as possible. In the past a smoothing plane was a smoothing plane and usually about 7 1/2″ sole length, obviously here we are not trying to straighten or flatten the wood, this means very fine cutting. You have to follow into imperfect surfaces which bigger planes wouldn’t reach.

For this plane the adjuster had to go. I wanted a full rear handle but had to lose some of its height, which is fine as most people are happy with just holding with three fingers leaving the index finger to rest on the side of the blade for orientation and feedback.

I have had to make a compromise on the length of the sole as I could not get down to 7 1/2″ but settled for 7 7/8″. One of the reasons it was hard to keep the length down is that I managed to retain a 50 degree working angle on the rear tote which makes the plane much more comfortable to use. Not to be confused with the blade angle which is 54 deg.

As mentioned previously the plane is in 416 stainless steel and the wood used for the handles is the same as the No 984 – Dalbergia Stevensonii. This wood has a nice texture, hard, dimensionally stable and retains its contrast and colour.

The lever cap and thumb wheel are in a similar design to my No 984 plane also. The handles are extremely rigid and show no sign of their fixtures (another example of hidden work). As my blog progresses you will see more about them.

This is a designed and engineered tool. I feel that I am fulfilling my object of always surpassing the standard which has gone before.

I thought this was a good stage to let people know what this plane looks like. I have added two drawings though I do get paranoid about being copied.

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Holtey No 985a

March 12, 2019

Workshop blog no 16 – No 985

Lots of work and very boring but worth showing. Here are the No 985 bottoms after milling from stock, they go on to be precision surface ground on four sides. This is to maintain sectional precision. The rest of the work to follow is on my CNC mill.

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All the parts are clamped together after milling the edges so they can be rotated for the opposite side without any disturbance.

I think I am the only person on record to work to this standard. It might be over the top for some but the achievements speak for themselves.

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Now over to the CNC for the next processes.

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 24, 2019

Workshop Blog no 13 – No 985

It is always a nice sight to see a job finished, a nice picture for the album. Don’t know how the brass got in there. All the stainless is 416, imported at great expenses from USA (new 25% tariff and it was already expensive).

I am making a point of keeping plastic test samples – much cheaper to mess up – and it is nice to have something on record.

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All my tooling is state of the art, not much carbon steel or HSS in my cupboards.

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