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Mulesaw

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Being old fashioned, the cool way.
Updated: 45 min 53 sec ago

A small barn for the summer house 12, progress and plans.

Sun, 10/15/2017 - 7:57pm
I am getting ready to go home now, and one of the things that I always think about during the last days on board is what projects I would like to be able to work on when I get home.

By checking my blog I discovered that I hadn't made entries about the small barn that I am building at our summerhouse since late March.
That doesn't mean that I haven't been working on it., but rather that I have been too lazy to blog about it while at home.

In the early part of summer I started painting the barn, but the weather wasn't very cooperative, so basically I only got as far as to do the south gable and the underside of the roof on that gable plus a bit on the west side as well.

I also made a door and installed it. I never got around to install boards around the door though, but I can do that later since they are mainly decorative.

Last time while at home I sawed some more floor boards and sent them through the planer a couple of times, so they were the same thickness as the floor boards on the ground floor. (1.75"). Those boards were all installed on top of the beams to form an attic.
I used the same method as last time, with a handheld router making a groove in both boards, and then assembling them with a loose spline.

After completing the floor, the last two windows were installed in the gables.  Then I insulated the entire structure with 6" of rockwool. I know that a lot of people dislike insulating, but I actually enjoy it. It is very quiet, and there are quick results to be seen.
I think that the mineral wool of today is less dusty compared to what it used to be, so it doesn't bother me to do that job.
A funny thing to notice is how the sound changes when the walls are only bare insulation. It becomes very "dead".

I had purchased 882 board feet of 1" thick T&G boards that was going to be installed inside the barn, they were delivered to the site and I was just getting ready to start installing them - when the crewing coordinator of the company called me on the phone and asked if I had seen my email.
I hadn't at that time, and told her that I had checked in the morning, and there was nothing from her.

She paused and said: No, I mean the one that I sent you an hour ago. I again told her that I hadn't checked, but since she was calling she might as well tell me what it was about.
Oh, you are signing on tomorrow, and it was just the flight details, letter of guarantee etc.
???
NO WAY, am I going on board tomorrow! You sent me an email like three weeks ago, and in that email you stated that I should expect to sign on around the 19th of September (this was on Monday the 11th).
Let me see she said, and I could hear her tapping her keyboard and finding the old email. Dead silence for a couple of seconds. Oh yes, I can see that. But that was a mistake. So you are still going out tomorrow!
I tried to explain that I was not impressed with the level of planning, She started explaining that the agent in Guinea had been advised about my coming, and a helicopter trip had been arranged too etc. I then managed to ask in a polite way if I at least had an afternoon flight from Denmark. But nope - My plane was scheduled to leave from Aalborg at 06:00, t
So I had 15 hours left.
I told her that if that was the case, I didn't have any time left for chit chatting, and hung up.

I took a quick look around and started shifting all the boards into the barn so they would be protected from the weather. Cleared up the place and drove home with the surplus of insulation. Emptied the trailer for insulation and stacked it in the large barn at home. Emptied the car for tools, cleared up the mess at home (which I usually do quietly and calmly the last couple of days before leaving).
Ate some supper and packed my bags with the small toolchest and arranged for a taxi to pick me up in the middle of the night. I was still not impressed, but things such as these are the downside of being a seaman.

BUT now I am soon on my way home, and I hope to be able to install all those boards so the interior of the barn will be completed.
I have considered painting the interior white, I guess it will never be easier than when the structure is empty, plus I think that it will look good.

Another project that I have been looking forward to in a long time is to make a staircase for getting up to the attic of the barn.
I guess that a lot of people have a hard time understanding that you can look forward to such a project, but I hope that those reading this post will understand that feeling.
My plan is to make a fairly simple staircase. It will also be rather steep because I don't want it to take up too much room inside. A staircase to me represents one of those projects that are just in the borderland between carpentry and joinery. Large dimensions of stock and still the joints have to be laid out and executed with a lot of care. Yup, that is definitely going to be a rewarding project.

Depending on if the weather will be nice, which it probably won't, I could also continue with some painting outside, and perhaps mount the framing boards around the door and the window in the gables. I could also do the electrical wiring so the inside will be completed, but let's see how it all goes.


Painted end of the barn, working on a floor board.



Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 15, project completed.

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 2:57pm
Yesterday I managed to complete the Norris style adjuster and mount it. I never got around to write a blog post about it, since it was getting a bit late.

Today I realized that I couldn't really put it off any longer. There wasn't much work left to do on the plane save for sharpening the blade and make sure that it was seated well on the bed (frog). Flattening the sole and sanding everything once again.

I silver soldered the threaded part to the adjuster base, so it is not possible to do any lateral adjustment with this adjuster, only depth adjustment.
A recess was made in the front of the rear tote, by first drilling a series of holes and later chiseling the waste out. I painted the back of the base with a whiteboard marker, and I could see where it had rubbed off, that there was a high spot. The same method was later used to check and adjust the seating of the blade.
The rod with the adjustment screw could have been a bit longer, but I guess that you don't adjust such a plane all the time, and I prefer that the adjustment screw is not protruding too much form the plane.

It took a bit of fiddling to find the best initial position for the retaining ring and the threaded rod, so everything worked fine at maximum and minimum depth adjustment.

Eventually I had to file a bit more from the underside of the lever cap, to be able to slide it under the fulcrum pivotal rod (it has probably got some other name).
This caused the lever cap screw to be just in the shortest range. So I think that I will make a new screw with a 1/8" longer threaded portion.

Today I sharpened the blade and after doing that I inserted it in the plane and tightened the lever cap screw. With the blade in place and the screw tightened, I then started to flatten the sole of the plane.
The idea of doing this while the blade is in the plane and in tension is, that it could potentially distort the sole of the plane a bit, and therefore it is best to flatten while everything is as close to working conditions as possible.
I also took the time to mark the bed with MMXVII for sake of good order.

Our lapping plate is new, but still I am not convinced that it is 100% flat and true. But I guess it is good enough for a home made infill plane. And besides it is what I have.

After some more sanding I treated the wood with some olive oil. I guess that it will slowly be absorbed by the wood, and then when I get home I can give it some paste was or some linseed oil as I have originally planned.

I tested the plane to see if it would work, and it actually did. I was able to plane a small piece of Bubinga both ways. It wasn't the most dramatic grain run out, but it did its job perfect with the grain and against it.

Conclusion of the project:
This project required a lot of metal work and comparatively little woodwork. There was much more filing and sanding compared to my usual projects.
There were a few difficulties that arose during the course of the build, such as less than ideally positioned holes etc.
The Norris style adjuster is a cool feature, but I tend to think that hammer adjustment would have been better. It could easily just be my adjuster that isn't the best - but now it sits there. If it ever acts up or seizes to work, then I can always remove it and either fill out the gap left behind, or just leave it as it is.
I personally think that the plane came out all right. There are a few places that still has got some minor scratches, but it was meant to be a tool, not a sanding contest.
My favourite part of the plane is the front tote where it blends in with the sole. And the lever cap with the massive number C954 cast into the front.
If I had been at home I doubt that I would have persevered during such a project, but out here it is more a matter of doing something to keep myself busy in my spare time.
I am not sure that it works any better than a regular Stanley, but it looks better in my opinion, and besides, I think it is the only infill plane in the world that was made on board a ship.




Infill smoother, steel and Bubinga.

Finished with olive oil.

Lever cap from aluminium bronze C954



Test shaving in Bubinga.

Parts for the Norris adjuster.

Completed Norris adjuster.

Making a recess for the adjuster.

2017





Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 14, depth adjuster.

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 2:53pm
My original plan was to make a Norris style adjuster for the depth adjustment of the blade. But after completing the rear tote, I discovered that on account of me making the handle as small and delicate as possible, I had also made it difficult to fit a regular Norris adjuster to the plane.

I have toyed with a couple of alternatives:
1) No depth adjustment mechanism, just the tried and trusted plane adjusting hammer.
2) Inventing a new type of depth adjuster.

Ref 1) This would enable me to just move forward and have the plane done in a relatively short time, but I would also risk becoming the laughing stock of the woodworking blogosphere, since I have earlier in this series mentioned that I was going to make a depth adjuster.
A positive thing would be that there is very little risk of messing up the plane.

Ref 2) I have sketched a couple of ideas, and even went as far as to begin work on the most promising of those models.
The best design sported a worm gear giving an accuracy of roughly 1/1000" for one full revolution of the adjustment screw.


Today I had to make up my mind about which route I wanted to take.
I looked critically at the screw holding the chip breaker, since that one was fairly large,and in turn that was causing the problem of an even larger retaining ring to move the blade assembly back and forth.
Very unlike my usual behavior, I decided that it might still be easier to turn a new screw for the chip breaker, and then go ahead with a regular Norris adjuster, instead of risking to mess up the entire plane in an attempt to make a supe fine adjustment mechanism.
So that ended up being the outcome.

My Norris style adjuster will not be used for lateral adjustment, since the rear tote is fairly thin on the top. So I will need a hammer to adjust it laterally anyway. But the depth adjustment will hopefully work.

The new design depth adjuster would have the depth adjustment screw going out the left side of the rear tote. This finger screw would activate a worm gear with a ratio of 30:1.
The worm gear would then drive a threaded rod with a retaining ring on it (just like a regular Norris adjuster). The threaded rod was meant to have a pitch of 1mm/revolution (M6) A bit finer than 1/4" UNC. (Maybe it is equivalent to UNF?)
So the math of the adjuster looks like this:
1 revolution of the finger screw = 1/30 round of the worm gear = 1/30 of 1 mm = 0,03 mm (1.2 thou)

Maybe I should try to make an adjuster like that one day, just for the fun of it.

Blade and Norris style pieces mounted.
Worm gear experiments above the blade.


Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 13, cap iron.

Sat, 10/07/2017 - 2:42pm
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours just filing the front of the mouth so that it would allow the blade to protrude. I also started chamfering all the edges of the sides. These seemingly small tasks actually take quite a long time.

Today I decided to start on the cap iron.
I have had an eye on an old butterfly valve for some time now, because it would give some great material for this part of the project.
The valve is a 12" valve that used to be mounted on the ballast system of the ship. It was replaced during the dry docking, because the rubber seating had developed a crack that caused the valve to no longer hold tight.
Not so many years ago it was custom to change the rubber insert in those valves, and it can still be done on some types yet. But this valve is of a type where the rubber is glued to the body, so it can't be repaired. It can however be used for a custom cap iron.

The disc is made out of aluminium bronze, which is sea water resistant. It is also a different colour than the steel that I have used in the build, so it should give a bit of visual interest once it is complete.

I used an angle grinder to cut out a piece I deemed suitable. I deliberately included a cast stamp saying C954. I have no idea what it means, but I thought it looked good.
After getting the piece free from the valve disc, it was again back to a lot of filing.
I have managed to position the holes for the cap iron in a way that it would look bad if it was mounted with screws in the side. So instead I am going to install a rod in those holes, and slide the cap iron below this rod, and capture it in a semicircular depression.

After drilling a hole for the cap screw and making a thread in the hole, I again used the angle grinder to remove some more material. I did this after the drilling and tapping, because it is so much easier to clamp a squarish piece in the vice compared to an odd shape.

In the beginning I considered leaving the entire surface as it came from the valve i.e. as a coarse casting, but in the end I decided that it would look like I had skipped a step or two, and I started filing the surface to get it nice and smooth.


The current state of the project, still some way to go.

Butterfly valve, empty can is for giving an idea of the size.

No one will notice that there's a piece missing.

Started to file the surface.


Drilled and tapped, but not finished yet.

Categories: Hand Tools

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

A small barrel for a Newfoundland dog

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 2:01pm
After the barrel sitting idle on a shelf for a couple of months, I finally took the "trouble" of getting it onto Bertha for a quick photo.

I removed the barrel immediately after the pictures were taken, but Bertha actually didn't seem to mind the small barrel hanging by her collar.

Getting a dog to pose is not that simple..

Bertha with a small barrel.

Now with her eyes closed.

Categories: Hand Tools

What's the magic word?

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 7:29pm
Well, the magic word will surely depend on the situation.
Quite often the correct answer will be please.

But sometimes please just doesn't do it. A stronger more magic word is required.

Back in 1992 I spent some months in Minnesota, and I had the privilege of being allowed to help out at auctions held by the then oldest auctioneer company in Minnesota: "Fred Radde and sons, auctioneers and realtors"
Fred the main auctioneer knew the magic word for Minnesotan auctions was "Fish house". If an old crappy sofa or chair was unsaleable, calling it a fish house chair would instantly spark the interest in the crowd and someone would buy it for their fish house for the coming winter season of ice fishing (a great sport by the way). Fred's next comment would usually be in line with: "buy it now and leave it on the ice, in the spring it will be gone".
He really knew how to make a good atmosphere and that stimulated people to buy, and all in all it contributed to a nice event with lots of laughter and good deals.

Now in my case "fish house" wont do it. "Please" works sometimes, but "HORSE" works every single time.

If I need to start a new project:
"Honey, I'll go mill some wood to make some saw dust to spread in the stable for the horses to sleep in".
Such an approach will be greatly appreciated, in contrast to e.g.:
"Honey, I'll start building a new workbench"

There are a number of situations where you can use the magic word, tool purchases, classes etc. the imagination is the limit.

In reality you want to say: While I don't really need this tool, I am sure it would impress someone reading my blog.
Chances are that my request will be frowned upon and quickly be discarded as not essential for the household.
If I on the other hand say something like this:
"If I buy this tool, I could make a really nice cupboard for the saddle room, so you can easily organize the tendon boots for the horses."

I am sure you get the idea.

So I am thinking that a lot of the advice offered for aspiring woodworkers start in the wrong place such as:
Advice for a beginners tool kit.
What planes to buy and when.
The first saw you should get.
And so on....

A much better place to start would be by finding the magic word. The very word that will allow you to invest time and money in your hobby and being thanked for it. Now that is something that isn't described in a lot of "how to posts" for people wanting to get into woodworking.

We are not talking complicated psychology here, a good look at your wife's hobbies will most likely give an idea of what the magic word could be, Here are a couple of suggestions that might work, but remember like in Harry Potter, there is always the risk of a magic spell backfiring on you, so be careful!

Sewing room.
Interior decoration.
Gardening (this one is dangerous because you could end up using a shovel all day long instead).
Bespoke baking supplies.
Wickerwork
Shoe cabinets
Doll house (this one might make it difficult to justify getting a portable saw mill)
Art supplies.

Finally, you shouldn't feel bad about using a magic word, because I am fairly certain that we are under their spell most of the time anyway.


Categories: Hand Tools