From the Workshop

November 21, 2019

No 983 Commentary

I want to go back and take the time to explain the development and design of the No 983. I will be updating the website with this during next week. When I made this plane I only did a limited number which sold out quickly so I had to make another batch. It is very satisfying to complete a design but I am not going there again as the work is far too much. I won’t make the mistake of selling the last one (mine!) again, but I do have two left for sale.

Holtey No 983 6

November 14, 2019

Workshop Blog no 24 – No 985

Stainless steel bolts for the No 985. 250 of them. All handmade. Never want to see one again. I would be embarrassed to say how long they took. It is important that they were made to a high precision, but will be hidden when the work is finished.

There are only a small number of these planes unsold

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September 20, 2019

Workshop blog no 33

Looks like I have started a new family here, there are all limited editions only

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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.

Holtey No 985c

Holtey No 985a

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