From the Workshop

November 2, 2015

Window to my workshop 98

Filed under: No 984 — Tags: , , , — admin @ 5:41 pm

The pictures don’t do justice to the time spent on every little operation. Although I have taken many photographs along the way I don’t have time to document every little stage. The effort for every detail can seem a bit over the top, and I make little revisions all the time – the overall design will still be as the posted line drawing.

This is a nail biting moment, once I start cutting there is no going back. I can take hours double checking before I separate the toe from the the rest of the sole.


Holtey No 984 pic 7

Here I am milling the blade bed. The rest of this operation hasn’t been photographed as I covered this in the No 983 blog and it is almost identical as are the adjuster recesses. You can see that the work holding vice jaws are purpose made just for this plane. This enables me to get a firm grip.

Holtey No 984 pic 8



Holtey No 984 pic 9

All my buns start off as a true square block. All drilling, tapping and recessing is carried out on the mill

Holtey No 984 pic 10


Holtey No 984 pic 11

The bush shown here is to be epoxied into the front bun. You can use some imagination as to how I arrived here. The combined strength of the bush and its bun is considerable. Note there are two flats which make it impossible to remove the bush once the epoxy has cured.

Holtey No 984 pic 12

This is the milling operation for the five integral pins/rivets to the bun boss.
Holtey No 984 pic 13

This is the finished boss for the front bun. I have chosen this method of fixing for its strength. I wasn’t happy about tapping blind holes. Who cares, it is not about cost :-) It is going to be the only one of its kind.

Holtey No 984 pic 14

Illustrating the fitting of the bush to the bun and the threaded nose to fit the finished bun to its boss.

Holtey No 984 pic 15

Once this is complete, the bun can be removed and the boss is ready to rivet in place. Note that I used a V joint between the boss and the knob base. The knobs will leave my workshop perfect but the rotary position of the knob can have a tendency to migrate and wood can lose its concentricity over time. Also when the knob is removed and refitted the sharp edges can be bumped, thus losing the desired effect. The V joint will hide any of these unsightly dinks.

Holtey No 984 pic 16

Temporarily assembled plane.

A general selection of knobs and parts.

Holtey No 984 pic 17

Holtey No 984 pic 18
Holtey No 984 pic 19


Still a long way to go, sorry to those who have a plane on order.

Thought this was worth a picture and mention. The bushing here had been cemented with epoxy and I had started it with a few threads and then I was distracted ………

I discovered how strong this system is when I came back the next day. I will keep this as a reminder.

No 984 cockup

July 6, 2015

Window to my Workshop 90

Filed under: No 984 — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:11 am

The surface grinder has been the busiest machine in my workshop for the past few years. All my sections, after size adjustments in the milling machine, are precisely ground all round. The same with all the tooling and work holding I make. This is necessary to get a good reference throughout all my work.

Holtey No 984 c

These are the bottoms being ground on their edges insuring that they are square and parallel. It is not often I use a flash but it is nice how everything has been frozen in time.

Holtey No 984 f

I have also been busy during this time with the blades. The blades are being profiled in ‘Siamese pairs’ for easier work holding. These have already been stamped with the HOLTEY logo in the fly press, I do this first as the edges close to the stamping area can become distorted.

Holtey No 984 g

After the blades are separated they need to have a bevel milled on and the chamfers polished before sending them away for heat treatment. The polishing to the chamfers is important as it would be very hard to do after the blades had been hardened. When the blades come back from the heat treatment I will be surface grinding them all round.

January 19, 2015

Window to my Workshop 84

Filed under: A28 — Tags: , — admin @ 3:57 pm

Final tweaking and polishing before assembly

Holtey A28 a

Once assembled there is no access

November 5, 2014

Window to my workshop 82

Filed under: A28,Chariot Plane,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 11:33 am

During the working of this A28 plane I have been neglecting this blog but now I am ready to update which I will do over the next few weeks.
Holtey A28 f
All the sections I use are cut out of stock material and brought down to size, by sawing and milling.
Holtey A28 g
As most of my working and setting out depends on a high degree of precision (which has never existed before) surface grinding in the early stages allows me to achieve my goals.
Holtey A28 h
This picture shows the edges being ground. This is also important to have a true pinch dimension. I need this for the dovetailing.
Holtey A28 b
Jigs and work holding fixtures are also all made to precision. After much preparation work to the brass, similar to the steel work as described. Then rivet positions are drilled and I am able to screw these sides with purpose made bolts to the fixture for profiling and chamfering.

Holtey A28 c
After routing out the profile then the chamfering is completed whilst the sides are still jigged.
Holtey A28 d
Just overall set up pictures.
Holtey A28 e

Holtey A28 a
Here are the some sides already milled and some pre-prepared waiting for profiling.

September 1, 2014

Window to my Workshop 81

Filed under: A28,Chariot Plane,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 2:52 pm

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).

Holtey Chariot Plane - Copy

April 29, 2014

window to the workshop

Filed under: Window to my workshop — Tags: , — admin @ 1:15 pm

One of the problems of making precision planes is needing your own tool room. This means that on occasions maintenance is necessary.

A simple task like cleaning my coolant tank got so complicated that two weeks went passed before I could get the grinding machine back in service again.

Jones and Shipman
My schedule is now running late and I am looking forward to getting back to working on planes again.

November 11, 2013

Window to my workshop 74

Filed under: No 983 block plane — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:54 am

Holtey no 983 o

As this lever cap has taken a very long time to make I thought this picture, of it not even half way completed, tells some of the story. The milling, grinding and polishing has to done in sequence to achieve the finish I require. It will be a complex shape when completed.

June 14, 2013

Window to my workshop 67 – No 983

Filed under: No 983 block plane,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , , — admin @ 1:13 pm

Work in progress on the new No 983 stainless steel block plane
No 983 Holtey a
No 983 Holtey b
No 983 Holtey c
Integral pins are back! These pins are cut 0.22″ long, cut full depth in one go with a 6mm roughing cutter. Then go round the houses again with a 6mm finishing cutter. Some people don’t believe that I can cut these pins full depth in one go in s/s (or any other material). It is just a matter of getting things right.
No 983 Holtey d
The last job is to put a tiny lead chamfer which not only makes an easier entry but it helps to prevent the edges from splitting during the peining process.

May 11, 2012

Window to my Workshop 64

Filed under: No 982 Smoothing plane,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , — admin @ 5:44 pm

Continuation of the last batch of No 982 planes


There are two reasons that I use the surface grinder a lot; the main one is for the precision and also for the nice textured finish. This usually means that I visit the surface grinder several times during the working of the plane as no matter how careful I handle the work pieces they seem to break out in a ‘workshop’ rash very quickly.

This picture here is the sides being ground true after the drilling and tapping. This also leaves the bottoms a true uniformed width and square.

Of course the time comes when the toe of the plane needs to be separated from the rear end. I can lose a lot of sleep here as mistakes are so easy. Any mistakes here will cost me dearly.

With the front and back ends of the bottom now separated each part is then milled to size and angle.


All my marks are stamped with my fly press which I couldn’t exist without. The No 982 plane is stamped with an edition and its number, the plane type is stamped on the front end of the bottom (just behind the bun). The HOLTEY logo is stamped on the inside of the right hand side of the plane.

The 55 deg milled bed is surface ground maintaining the angle to precision. This picture may be a little blurred but I wanted to catch the sparks.

Now the front end. I use two angles here. The one being ground here is the critical one because this is going to be the mouth of the plane. This is in a similar tradition to some of the wooden planes and is much easier to regulate a small aperture as desired by some.

This angle here helps to provide a better means of escape for the shavings and access for cleaning. The grinding here is mainly cosmetic.

April 25, 2012

Window to my Workshop 62

Filed under: Window to my workshop — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 12:30 pm

Continuation from Blog 61


Now I have two flat sides the edges can be milled bringing them to width, leaving a couple of thou for surface grinding. This means that the edges will be perfectly square and will form an invisible joint. It is important that when the plane body is assembled everything is flat and square – unlike dovetailing which incurs a lot of stress from peining.

The rounding on the ends, a task easily carried out on the CNC mill.

This is the drilling for the 3 x 6mm purpose made bolts to fix the rear handle chair. I need to make some more of the bolts so will document them later on.

These three holes for the rear handle are then reamed (which I think is the correct word and not countersunk). This is done with a 40 deg tapered mill which will match the heads on the bolts. With this angle you get a good retention and pressure for some deformation, resulting in that invisible joint.


These are the fixing holes for the front bun using the same drilling and reaming operation as previously described. This time these holes are drilled at a 15 deg angle and indexed with 120 deg spacing. The CNC mill is particularly useful for indexing and convenient as I am drilling on a gradient.

The fixing holes for the sides. There are a total of 11 x 5mm holes per edge. As the holes are not drilled on the centre line they need to be mirrored. The picture shows my set up using a second vice for the mirror holes. To achieve this many holes without a CNC mill would be very stressful and time

My Semco vertical milling machine which is an exact Chinese copy of a Bridgeport. It is fitted with an Anilam Wizard 211 DRO. I have had it a for quite some years now and it serves me well.

It is a pity that my CNC mill does not do tapping. So the plane bottoms had to be set up on the manual mill. However, with the aid of the DRO and an automatic tapping head the tapping of the holes is carried out to standard and in a timely manner. There are a few cheap tapping heads on the market but I would go for a Tapmatic every time, worth its money.

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