From the Workshop

April 4, 2019

Workshop blog no 21 – No 985

Just a little progress update, but I am getting there.

CI3A5360

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

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.

CI3A5310

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.

CI3A5314

CI3A5317
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.

CI3A5235

This is reducing the bar down to its finished size. I am looking forward to the rest of the work.

CI3A5232

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.

CI3A5174

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

February 23, 2019

Workshop blog 12 – No 985

The last side of the No 985 plane. The fixture screws (custom made of course) are also going to be used in the fabrication of the plane. They will be bedded in a locking compound.

I have flitted backwards and forwards between this system and the in-situ riveting – they both have their plus points. Same quantity of work with either system. But working with this system puts less stress in the construction.

As you can see from these jig screws they have a precision shank for true alignment.

CI3A5171

February 22, 2019

Workshop blog 11 – No 985

Filed under: No 985,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , , — admin @ 2:17 pm

This is the making of the milling fixture to profile the No 985 sides. When I bought this machine the salesman said it had screw cutting but I never ever found it. It is important to do the screw cutting whilst everything is still in the machine; I have to move into each hole co-ordinate and cut the threads by hand.

CI3A5150

10 years later ……

CI3A5152

February 20, 2019

Workshop blog 10 – No 985

Work commences on the stainless sides … you didn’t really think I was going to make it out of green plastic?

Holtey No 985 sides

After a milling operation is finished everything has to be broken down and set up again for the next stage. This usually means making new fixtures and writing another programme. Always a lot of understated work on every new design.

Holtey No 985 mill breakdown

It is always sad breaking down the machine just when everything seems to be working nicely. I have to be extra careful I haven’t missed out a side (done it before!).

One of the things that makes me different is that this is not just a craft job, this work is precision and takes a lot of planning.

I have decided to try and keep everyone informed as to the detailed work that goes into these planes. A well known manufacturer once said that I always manage to keep my work hidden.

February 19, 2019

Workshop blog 9 – No 985

Just starting to drill the No 985 sides and as usual I start off with test samples.

CI3A5143

The fixture holes for the plane sides, looks like an awful lot of holes! All holes are tapered for retention.

CI3A5145

February 5, 2019

Workshop blog 7 – No 985

Filed under: No 985,Window to my workshop — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:44 am

I have spent a long time on my drawing board this year working on a new design – designated No 985 which will be part of my range of non-infill planes, which I very much prefer. This smoother is a non-adjuster type plane which means a reduction in work as the adjuster is a big item – both to make and accommodate, which will show in the price. Some people prefer a non-adjuster plane and I have not made this on a full handled plane before.

This plane is to be made from 416 stainless steel which is expensive and flat sections cannot be sourced in the UK. My experience with this alloy is that it is the best for my purposes. It is also preferred for making rifle barrels. It is very nice for working with and has a lovely texture to it. And I can stick it on a magnetic chuck for surface grinding.

Whilst waiting for the stainless to arrive I have made a start on the handles.

Holtey No 985 smoother plane

This is an area in which feedback would be greatly appreciated. Since I am making a smoothing plane my objective is to keep it as short as possible. A lot of the older planes were 7 1/2″ long which makes sense for finishing purposes. However, these planes were usually handleless, which can be uncomfortable to use. Once you introduce a handle it is going to increase the length. As this is a non-infill plane I will be using a round bun, which also needs a little bit of extra room. I would like to make the handles short for use with three fingers plus the index finger resting on the side of the blade. What I want feedback on is would you prefer a taller handle so you can use four fingers which will make the plane longer, or do you prefer three fingers and a shorter plane?

For those who have experienced my No 98 they will have noticed how comfortable the handle is as it has plenty of room for four fingers
- http://holteyplanes.com/. However, it is better to have the plane shorter if you are going to use it for smoothing/finishing.

If I use the taller handle the plane will be 8 3/4″ long or 8″ with the shorter handle.

A lot of modern smoothing planes seem to be about 9 1/2″ long which is neither a smoother or a panel plane – needs redefining.

Holtey No 985 handle templates

My handles are all hand made and I make several templates to find the one I am happy with.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress