Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.


Cleaning Up the Pocket

Finishing up the mortising

Having removed as much material as I dare, as quickly as I can, it's time now to clean up the mortise and start to define the edges of the openings as they were drawn on the side.  The two floats I made are starting to really prove their worth here.

When I get the opening to a satisfactory finish, I mark out the ears where they widen to make it easier to pull out shavings, then start carving them out.  I had to watch out for tear out here (the maple I chose was in the scrap pile for a reason) so you can see how I did it to avoid that here:

I then finished it up using the bed float to get it smooth.  For all surfaces, I leave some final finishing for later (like 1/32" to 1/16" left to finished height), not wanting to take too much off.  It's easier to take more wood off than it is to put the wood back on...  But I take the sides of the wedge pocket to finish depth, as that's what I'm doing next, and the wedge and iron need to fit to finish the plane.  Let's refer back to that diagram from a couple pages ago and make sure I'm shaping it correctly:

Notice the portion in front of the wedge pocket where it widens the "ear" to the same width as the mouth - can't forget to do that little bit, and now's the time!  I accomplished it here with a bed float.

Slotting  for the Chipbreaker's Nut

The next step is to mark out the pocket that will accept the nut that holds the chipbreaker to the iron. I marked it at the point where the bottom of the chipbreaker was just sticking out below the mouth of the plane.  Then, using a forstner bit that was about 1/8" larger than the nut, drilled a hole to about 1/8" deeper than the nut.  Using some chisels, I then extended the slot upwards to the top of the body.

 Note:  I ended up extending the slot about 1/4" further down to fit a different iron assembly.  More on that later.

You can see the end result in the inset photo above.  Next, it's on to the wedge.