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Being old fashioned, the cool way.
Updated: 40 min 7 sec ago

Making an infill plane from scratch 12, riveting the sides.

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:22pm
Much to my surprise the marshmallow glue seemingly did its job. So technically both infill pieces were now ready to be mounted in body of the plane.
I positioned them and clamped a set of pliers on the sides to ensure that nothing moved during the drilling of the holes.
At first I drilled a new set of holes instead of those that I plugged the other day. After that all the existing holes were bored in the infills as well.

My original plan was to insert some small tubes to function as distance pieces. I had laid my eyes on a piece of stainless steel pipe, but I had to give up the plan because the hole was too large by 1 mm in diameter (3/64") compared to the rivets that I was going to use.
So a quick change of plans resulting in that I assembled the plane without any distance pieces.

The rivets are actually short lengths of round iron bar of 1/4" diameter (6 mm). Those were sanded first to remove the black crust, and one end sharpened just a bit, to make sure that it would engage the hole on the opposite side of the body.
The rivets were driven through and I started peening the metal.
After doing one rivet on one side, I flipped the plane over and completed the other side of that rivet.

The riveting disturbed the look of the sides a bit, I guess that the wood compacted a bit, and the sides naturally followed along. So the bottom of the planes doesn't look quite as nice as it did in the beginning. But the overall feeling is rock solid.

Smoothing the sides again to level out the rivets took some time. Again this is where a belt sander would come in handy, but a file can also do the job if you have a little bit of patience.

A nice trick when filing metal is to pack the file with chalk. This helps to prevent chips to get stuck in the file and make a major scratch in the surface on the next stroke.
You basically just take some writing chalk and rub it onto the file before using it.
It really helps a lot. Especially if you work in softer metals like brass, copper or aluminium but for steel or iron it also helps. These metals aren't as prone to clog the file, but any bit helps to make a nice surface.

The parts ready for riveting.

File packed with chalk.

Almost done with one side.

Body and infills assembled.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 11, rear tote and infill assembly.

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 3:11pm
After a lot of sanding, the rear tote seemed OK to me. And it was time to tackle the job of getting it mounted in the rear infill.
I drew some lines to work out from, sawed on the correct side of them with my small Japanese pullsaw, and got busy using the chisel to mortise out all the wood.
This part of the project also took quite some time, but in the end I had a nice snug fit of the rear tote.
The front transition could have been better, but since it will be covered by the blade 99% of the time, I decided that I would stick with the result.

A nice epoxy glue would have been my preferred medium if I had been at home, or a good wood glue a second choice.
Out here the only glue we have it some superglue and some too old winter grade glue where most of the solvents have vaporized over time, leaving the glue with a consistency like marshmallow.

I chose the marshmallow glue, because I have never really liked superglue or cyanoacrylate that much.
I might end up regretting it, but I figure that if everything else fails, I can still pour down a bit of superglue into the glue crack.

Clamping the assembly after gluing wasn't very easy. but I managed to secure it after a couple of attempts.

I believe that this glue has passed its prime.

Clamping arrangement of infill and tote.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 10, rear tote.

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 3:45pm
My original plan called for a closed rear tote. During this project I have searched the Internet a lot, looking at all kinds of pictures of infill planes and their handles. I suppose that I could design my own, but one search (I think it "closed rear tote plane") revealed a picture of a classic closed rear tote from an old jointer plane. The good thing was that once I visited the homepage, I found that there was even a pdf of a full sized handle.
I downloaded the pdf and intend to use it as a muster for my tote. I will need to make some alterations to the front to get it to blend in with the rest of the plane, but it greatly help to have a starting point.

Now if I could just hope to make a handle that looks 1/10th as good as those handles that Pedder turns out.

An interesting thing about the closed rear tote is that it is described as being non symmetrical in the aft most part, where the palm of your hand will push your plane. Tee idea behind this is supposedly that it will make the plane more comfortable to use for someone who is right handed compared to a symmetrical tote. On the other hand it will make the plane more of a pain to use for anyone who is left handed.
At first I was  a bit undecided if I should go with symmetrical or asymmetrical. I was afraid that if I made it asymmetrical, most people would probably think that I did a crappy job in shaping the rear part of the tote.
But once I started I decided that I could always something else that was symmetrical, and this project is about making a plane that will be a joy to use, so I ended up doing it the way it was suggested.

I sawed out a piece of wood and tried to flatten it a bit with my plane, in order to get it close to the thickness I wanted (1" 1/16).
There was a lot of tear out, and in the end I had to traverse it with the scrub plane in order to get it to look reasonably OK.

The outline of the handle was traced onto the wood, and I drilled  a series of holes to remove the hole for the fingers, and also in the upper curve just beneath the end of the tote.
The trusty hacksaw helped removing the rest of the wood.
Since I haven't got a rasp, I needed to figure out another way to remove a lot of wood with a bit of precision, and at a decent speed.

My solution was to clamp the handle to a block of wood that was held in the vice, and then using the 1/4" chisel removing small chips along the edges. This method worked way better than I had expected. It was fast, efficient, fun and the handle very quickly took on the desired shape.

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done with a file and with sandpaper, but at least I got the job started out in a good way.

A thing that didn't turn out very well was the placement of the holes that I drilled back in post No 5 in this series. The upper hole for the rear infill was placed in a way that it just missed the surface of the bed for the blade by 1/16" or so. Since my plane is to use bushings inside the wood it meant that the bushing would protrude on the bed of the blade which would effectively ruing the plane.
That left me with two options, making a new rear infill with a bed angle of 70 degrees or so, or trying to stuff the holes.
I went for the stuffing job.

I used some sort of tapered reamer/router bit that I found in order to flare out the holes on the inside of the sole.
The real mistake happened when I tried to use the same bit in the drill press. It caught the hole and dug itself heavily into the metal before I manged to turn of the power.
So instead of a nice lightly flared symmetrical hole, I had a much too large asymmetrical ugly flared hole.
To make matters even worse, I started out by riveting the nice hole in the other side. That went really well, but it left me with a much more difficult job to peen the inside of the rivet in the ugly hole. Since I could no longer get the drift pin in from the other side (as I had just closed that hole with a rivet).
I hammered til I was afraid that I'd might hit the side itself, and then I stopped. The heads of the rivets on the inside were filed level, so that I could insert the rear infill again.
The outside was left after a couple of strokes of a file, because I figured that it was better to file all the rivets once I have assembled the entire plane.
At some point I need to drill another set of holes in that region of the plane. but I think I'll wait with that until I have the rear tote and infill glued together and ready for assembly.


Raw rear tote.

Using a chisel to shape the grip.

1/6" piece of iron to be used as a rivet.


Peening the first rivet on the inside.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 9, rear infill.

Sat, 09/30/2017 - 10:03pm
The front infill had a really nice and tight fit yesterday, but apparently the wood is not completely dry, because it has shrunk a bit since then. Not much, but I can clearly feel a difference in the fit. I hope it won't matter too much, but I usually have problems with wood expanding at our place, so it might just end up perfect at home.

To make the rear infill, I sawed out a piece of Bubinga and flattened one side that would serve as a reference for the lay out. This was the lower side of the infill.
Next one side was squared up and finally the last side was made parallel and square too.

Following this I marked out a 50 degrees angle on the forward part of the infill, which will eventually become the frog or bedding for the blade.
If I had had a protractor out here I would probably have used it, but I dont. So with the help of a bit of math and a tangent function I was able to do the job anyway.
After marking up I sawed close to the line with a hacksaw. The surface was then sanded completely flat going through the grits with the sand paper placed on a flat piece of thick aluminum plate.

The block of wood was placed inside the base of the plane and the contours of the side were marked on the wood with a pencil.
The block was removed and a hacksaw was again used to saw near the lines to remove the bulk of the waste.
After sawing, the block went back in, and the assembly was clamped in the vice and the wood was brought down to be flush with the sides using files and sandpaper.
Just like with the front tote, I left the rear infill a bit long. This will be trimmed of later.
Making a rear tote is the next part of the project.

Rear infill and front tote.

Rear infill seen from above.


Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 8, front knob and wands

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 2:55pm
There's not much to be said about the continuation of the build today except that it involved a little bit of filing, and a lot of sanding.
The sanding was done with grit 60 emery cloth, so the surface is not perfect yet, but like the base of the plane, there is no need to make a show surface and risk destroying it while riveting the plane together.
The front knob looks a bit big, but I think it is because the rest of the plane is not yet filled. I made it a bit longer than the base of the plane, so I'll have to trim that when it is riveted in place.

Now that I have gained a bit of experience with the Bubinga, I am going to try to make the aft infill and later the rear tote.

There was a discussion going on in the comment section of one of the earlier posts in this series regarding which type of wand that is best for a woodworker.

I am not saying that the wands from Olivanders' made out of ebony or holly with Phoenix feathers or griffins teeth etc. aren't good, but for woodworking my old time favourite is without any doubt pallet wood with a bit of hair from a Newfoundland dog.

If there should be any sorcerers amongst the readers of this blog, please feel free to comment on your personal favourite wand composition.

Front knob in place.

View from the other side.

Dipped in water to give a bit of shine.
Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 7, shaping a mushroom.

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 3:46pm
I found a brand new fine file in our spare tool cabinet, and I used it to make the plane look nicer than yesterday.
I also opened the mouth a bit to the rear of the plane at an angle, so the blade can get through to the bottom and do its job once everything is ready.
Since I will need to flatten the end of all the rivets once the plane is completely assembled, I didn't see any point in going all wild with emery cloth etc. The body is flat and reasonably good looking, so it was finally time for me to get back to some woodworking.

My experience with working this bubinga is very limited, so I decided that it would be a smart move to tackle the front knob or tote first.
I had an idea about making a mushroom shaped knob, and I started by sawing out a block of wood that was slightly oversize.
Once the block was ready, I sketched the outline of the mushroom and the lower part of the knob. I used a hacksaw to saw close to my layout lines, and that way remove the bulk of the material. A coping saw would probably have made it a bit more roundish, but the hacksaw did its job admirably.

I haven't quite figured out how the grain orientation works on this wood, because it seems to be very prone to tear out. But skewing the chisel and working end grain slowly but surely helped getting the shape out.
There is still a long way to go before the front knob is finished, but at least I am back to woodworking which I prefer to filing metal.


Front knob straight from the hacksaw.

Patience and a sharp chisel will eventually get you there.


Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 6, assembling the body.

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 3:14pm
I bolted the two sides together to be able to dress the edges evenly on both pieces at the same time.
There was a little bit of metal left from the sawing, but all in all it went pretty fast.

This was where the exiting part started. There wasn't really much more I could do except trying to assemble the pieces.
The sides went on with a few taps from a plastic faced hammer, and then it was a question of mustering a bit of courage and start peening the metal.

A couple of small clamps would have been nice, but we haven't got any on this ship, so I found a pair of pliers that could work for the initial holding.
The side that was to be peened was mounted securely in the vice, and I started hammering.
I had no idea if I had hammered adequately, too much or too little, but I could feel that the side had become attached to the sole. After peening all the tails, I was astonished by how solid the plane felt. Like one single unit.
I peened the protruding pins a bit as well for good measure, and then it was back to more sawing and filing..

After quite a bit of work, the plane no longer looked like a hammering exercise, but more like a plane body.
I discovered a few places where the dovetails were not as tight as I would have liked them to be, but overall I am happy with the result.
There is still a long way to go to make it a shiny plane, but at least it has got the shape. A belt sander would have come in pretty handy, but lacking one, a file can still do the job.

I would like to thank Peter McBride for an excellent page with a bunch of useful information on building infill planes. I am sorry that I have forgotten to mention that site before, but it has been a great source of inspiration for this project.


Assembled plane body after first filing.

Plane body.

Dressing the edges.

After peening the metal.



Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 5, shaping the sides

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 3:18pm
I continued my infill plane build by filing the remaining dovetails on the last side of the plane. After a test fit much like on two pieces of wood where you press the parts around half way, I again turned my attention to the sole of the plane.

I filed a tail like depression on the pins, so that I have a recess that I can peen the metal into and lock the parts together.
This was a really quick job.

Next I laid out the shape of the sides and the positions for the holes.
I have decided to deviate from my original idea of a 45 degree angle. Instead I'll aim for a 50 degree angle. That way the plane shouldn't look too much like a Stanley copy.
This meant that I had to alter the measurements of the sides as well. I did it on the fly, and since I won't be making multiples of this plane, it really doesn't matter much what the measurements are, as long as it looks OK.
Oh and the entire plane will be 1/8" lower than on the drawing, because I forgot to take into account that I needed some metal for peening when I made the drawing. So again a small alteration from the original idea.

I honestly hadn't given any thought about the position of the holes for the infills, so I more or less drilled them in the middle of the vacant space above the sole.
The rivets will be 1/4" (6 mm), because we happen to have some round steel bar of that dimension. Since the sides are also made of steel, the rivets will not show very prominently as opposed to a plane with brass sides and using steel rivets. So that is at least one good thing about building a plane like this in a cheap fashion.

Finally I sawed the outline of the shape of the sides. Tomorrow I plan to dress the sides with a file, and try to get everything smooth.

Sides drilled together.

Sides and sole together.
Sole showing the filed "tail depressions"

Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 4, dovetails.

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 3:05pm
Making the dovetails is pretty much sone the same way in steel as it is in wood.
The only difference is that you use a file instead of a chisel to remove the waste. I used a drill to remove the bulk of it, just like some people do in wood.

After cleaning up all the pins on the sole, I wanted to clean up the mouth a bit too.
This was where I discovered my first mistake: When I had drilled the series of holes for the mouth, I had used a 5 mm drill (9/32"). The small file was just able to go through that opening, but it was not great for flattening or removing a lot of material. If I had only measured the regular files first, I would have used a slightly larger drill.
I managed to rout out the mouth using a 5.5 mm drill (something larger than 9/32" but not 1/4" - this is where my limit of the imperial system seems to be).
At last I was able to clean up the mouth with a regular file, and I did only that. It has not been shaped yet.

Since I made the sole first, I did the "pins first" this time. transferring them to the tail boards was done just like any other set of dovetails. I clamped a batten on the tail board to rest the pin board against while I marked the tails.

More drilling, sawing and filing..

I completed the tails on one side of the plane, and I pressed them a bit of the way. They are tight, so I might have to ease up the corners a bit more before the final assembly.

Dovetails of the infill plane


The logo of the chipbreaker.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 3, Laying out the sole.

Sun, 09/24/2017 - 2:52pm
I received a comment today from Kevin Brehon. He is also building an infill plane, and he has posted some very interesting considerations regarding his design and the building process as a whole.
You can read his blog post here.

My project is moving forward at a steady pace: The blade, the chipbreaker and the screw all cleaned up nicely after being soaked in vinegar for a day. A really fantastic thing is that the black crust/scale on the steel bar also disappeared after the vinegar bath. So now I have some bare grey steel to work with which is nice.

Yesterday I sat with a piece of paper and tried to make something resembling a construction drawing of the plane. With actual size measurements and angles etc.
I also experimented a bit on the dovetail lay out until I finally arrived at something I believed in.

Today I squared up the three pieces of steel bar and sawed them to the correct length and made sure that the freshly sawn end was filed square too.
I then started laying out the lines on the sole. I started by scratching some longitudinal lines that would define the depth of the dovetails and also define the final width of the plane.
I will end up with the pins being 1/8" proud. That should be more than sufficient for peening, but off course it will give me a lot of material to get rid of in the end. But when working with standard width stock you can't be too picky.

Next I laid out the position of the mouth, but I deliberately made it too small. My idea is that I can open it up later so I can achieve a tight mouth when the blade is inserted.

The dovetails were laid out last. I eyeballed an angle that I found pleasing, and marked the lot of them.

I marked out some help lines and punched some dents with a center punch, to give the drill a starting point.
My idea is that it is faster to drill out material than it is to file it away.

All this actually took the best part of the evening, and there isn't much wow effect in showing a piece of sheet metal that looks like a Ford T after a gunfight in an old gangster movie . But it is all that I have got for you.

Construction drawing with sole all laid out in front.

It really helps that we have a very nice drill press.



Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 2, initial considerations.

Sat, 09/23/2017 - 10:03am
I have more or less decided that the overall size of the plane will be something like a Stanley No 3 or a No 4.
There are many different designs of infill planes out there, but I don't want to make anything too wild. Nor do I want to make a direct copy of someones plane. But given the many planes that exist, it is quite possible that mine will look like some other plane after all. But that is OK with me.

Our reasonable well stocked supply of plane building material (flat steel bar) allowed me to go for a 1/4" x 2"3/8 for the sole (6x60 mm) and 9/32" x 2" for the sides (5x50 mm).

They are in regular black steel colour meaning that there is a bit of crust on the steel left from the manufacturing process. I have tried to immerse them in some vinegar together with the blade, to see if that will remove it. I doubt it, but it is worth the try.

I was thinking about the grain orientation for the infill parts. I guess that the reason for the wood to be placed with the grain running in the length of the plane is that in the very likely event of wood movement due to differences in moisture, you will not have the sole distorted.
Maybe the sides will become a little bit loose or they will expand a little, but the sole should stay flat that way. At least that is how I see it. So my wooden parts will have the grain running in that direction.
My plan is to use some sort of pipe inserts in the infill parts, to minimize any impact of wood movement.

I'll aim for a blade angle of 45 degrees, It should make a good allround plane (if I succeed). If the angle is a bit off I doubt that it will matter much.



Sketch with some major measurements.
The angle of the blade is closer to 60 degrees,
and the rear tote looks like crap, but it will have to do.



Blade, chipbreaker and screw in vinegar.
The plane material is in there as well.


Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 1:37pm
I don't often make tools, and if I do they are mostly some quick dirty solutions that are just needed for one special operation.

My friend Brian Eve over at Toolerable often have great ideas like "the June chair build" etc.
He once suggested that we made an IPBO (Infill Plane Build Off), where we would simultaneously build an infill plane and blog about it.
I decided that I couldn't wait anymore, so I am just going to start building an infill plane from scratch out here.
Brian and anyone else interested in building any type of infill plane are more than welcome to join in. It doesn't matter if it is made from a kit, or from scratch or a remake, it can be a rabbet, a smoother or a panel plane etc.
If you are building one, leave a comment with the address to where you are documenting/describing your build, and I'll post it here so people can see how everyone is doing.

Actually my build won't be completely from scratch, since I brought a plane iron with me for the bild.
It is an old E.A. Berg iron that was in a box I bought filled with all kinds of planes. Most of the planes were incredibly crappy, so the deal itself was not that good for me, but this could potentially make it better.

I have looked at various planes for inspiration, and I have a rough idea about how I would like it to end up looking. I would have preferred brass for the sides, but we haven't got any brass like that out here, so I'll try to make it out of some regular flat steel bar.
My newly purchased bubinga will be used as infill material. Once I get that far, I'll see what I can come up with to use as lever cap , and I might make some sort of Norris style adjuster as well.

My plan is to first get the iron cleaned up,and then I need to start making some sketches and eventually settle on a design.

Length 6.75", width 1"5/8

The lower part is hard steel, the upper part softer.

Not terribly abused iron.


Categories: Hand Tools

Making a handle for a pocket knife 2

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 10:09am
I shaped the handle using a round and a half round file to get close to the shape that I wanted.

Before sanding I needed to drill the recessed holes for the heads of the screws.
I ground a drill like a router bit and mounted in our drill press. I had marked out where it should go and then I drilled very carefully. The first result was perfect. But in the other side f the knife, a small chip broke off, and I had to glue it back on with some super glue. I have ended up making the handle just a little bit too thin in the forward end of the knife, because the screws are setting against the threaded piece inside before reaching the wood. It is maybe 1/50" too shallow, so I doubt that it will have any effect on the general use of the knife. But the problem is that I know it..

After that I sanded with the different available grits that we have out here, ending up with a purple and a green scotch brite pad together with some olive oil (because that is what I could get my hands on)

Finally I sharpened the knife and put it back in the drawer where I found it.

It has been a quick little project, and there are lots of possibilities for improvements, but The important thing was to get a feel for how this Bubinga is to work with, and I have a better understanding about that now than prior to the project.
The knife itself seems to have been constructed so it would fit a plastic handle. That made it a bit difficult and necessitated the addition of an aluminium piece in the back of the handle. both to act as a distance piece and as a way of securing that end of the blade/spring unit.

I am pretty sure that there are pocket knives out there more suited to re-handling than this one, so if anyone is interested in trying it out for themselves, I suggest getting something that was meant for a wooden handle.

A positive thing about making handles is that it can be done with a very limited tool set, and it doesn't require a lot of shop space. But I am not quite as attracted to that sort of woodworking as to e.g box making, so I doubt that I will turn into a full time knife maker.

Glamour shot of the end.

Before oil and final sanding and without screws.

Small blade and large handle.

Oiled and finished.

Oiled and finished on the other side too.



Categories: Hand Tools

Making a handle for a pocket knife

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 3:27pm
As Brian Eve once noticed, whenever I am at home, my blog is pretty much dead. I don't do it on purpose, it just happens. I like to all sorts of things but to sit in front of a computer.

My family have given me a smart phone and I have accepted it, because they claimed that I could use it to take pictures with, and these would be instantly accessible on my blog.
Now it seems as though it is not the entire truth.
Brian told me that in order for the pictures to go automatically from my Iphone to Google, I needed some sort of app.
The problem is that I distrust app-stores of any kind. Technically I guess I distrust smartphones as well. So in order for me to get my pictures I have to email them to myself and then download them, save them in a folder, and then I can use the picture on my blog.
It is not that much easier than a digital camera in my opinion - but at least I have my phone with me most of the time, so perhaps there will be an increase in land based blogging in the future.

Enough abut modern technology, lets get to the interesting part:

I have been assigned to a different ship, and my schedule has changed at the same time, so that is why there has been a 9 weeks period without any real activity instead of the regular five weeks.
This new ship is currently in Africa, more exact Ghana.
As any sensible person reading this blog would do, the first things to investigate when knowing the job site is A) find out what vaccinations are needed for the area, B) find out what wood is available in that area.

Ghana Forestry Commission has an excellent site that tells you the name of the species in the local language and a lot of other information on the different types of wood that are native to the country.

I browsed their list and asked one of the local stevedores working on the ship if he knew where I could get some Bubinga.
He had a friend who did some woodcarving, and a after a bit of time I managed to explain to him that I wasn't interested in buying a carved figure of an elephant, but I would like to get some raw stock.
A bit more phone work, and I was presented with two really nice pieces of dense reddish hard wood.
I think it is Bubinga, but it could also be something else. I am not an expert on determining exotic wood species.
The two pieces each measure 3.75" x 4.5" and have a length of 24 - 28". I paid a total of 15$ for them, and I have no idea if that is above the market price down here, but I am happy, and the guy selling them seemed happy too. So I guess it was an alright deal for both of us.

In order for me to find out how this wood is to work with, I decided to make a wooden handle for a pocket knife that I found in a drawer in the engine control room.
The process itself was fairly straight forward:
I sawed off a thin piece of wood and flattened what would become the inside of the handle.
I placed the internal part of the pocket knife on the new handle parts and traced a handle shape.
A piece of aluminium scrap was filed to the same thickness as the internal part of the knife. That would become the back part of the knife.
Holes were drilled for the blade fixing screws and some 2 mm brass nails that were glued in like some sort of rivets and also for a 6 mm copper pipe that will eventually serve for a small line if needed.


My newly purchased Bubinga?

Plastic handled pocket knife.

Scrap aluminium.

Assembled and ready for shaping.



Categories: Hand Tools

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