Final Details


Using back saws and rasps, most of the changes to the shape of the plane were pretty easy to accomplish, save for one - reducing the width at the back of the plane.  The front of the "taper" I wanted to be round and slanted slightly towards the toe of the plane.  I taped the cutoff from making the razee to bottom of the plane so it held the plane at the right angle, and cut off a big chunk of the waste at the band saw.


I then clean up the rest with a round file for the front, and files for the flat part leading from there towards the heel.

For the carving - I'm fairly new to carving at all, and had never attempted anything like what I wanted.  I did have some experience carving a wheat pattern into saw handles, and the center "stalks" of those carvings were a simple vee shape.  I decided to try a similar approach for these patterns, with just a couple small differences.

First, after tracing the pattern onto the wood that I wanted, I followed the tracing with my carving knife - slicing the wood straight down along the lines:

After making the straight downwards cut, I came back with the carving knife, and from the inside of the pattern, made a slicing diagonal cut back towards the initial straight down cut, pulling a sliver of wood out as I went:

 I had to be careful to make the second slice so it wasn't against the grain, otherwise it wanted to either pull the knife into it too far, or break out small sections of wood.  Afterwards, I used pretty much the same technique for the handle sides and the wedge.

The Final Product

Finally!  Sheesh, what a long winded geek!

After finishing the carving, I tuned the plane as well as I could - using the floats I'd made to smooth out the throat, sharpening the iron, and tuning up the chipbreaker so it didn't obstruct the shavings.  I probably spent the most time on the wedge, getting the bottom shaped so it wouldn't catch the shavings...  it took the longest time, because I didn't want to make it too short, so I would make a small change, re-mount the blade, make some shavings, and see where they caught in the mouth.  Then I would disassemble it, make another small change, re-assemble it, and start the whole process again.  I didn't want to remove too much material anywhere and have to remake something, especially at this stage of the game.

All of the shavings you see were made during that process, which probably took a couple of hours.

After I was satisfied with the performance of the plane, I gave it a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil (cut about 20% with mineral spirits - I normally cut it more than that, but it was in the 90's for temperature when I did this, so the oil didn't need it as much) which you can see in both of the final photos here (above and below - lighting is the only difference between the two photos).


Final Thoughts

Wow!  What a fun project!  I am not as satisfied with the final finish of the plane as I'd like - I found I was spending too much time on it and other projects were suffering (I was having way too much fun messing around with it), so had to finish it up.  My carving skills are still a bit crude, but I guess they're passable for now, anyway (it's not like this is for anyone other than me!).

As I learn more and more about the traditional throat design of these planes, I think I'm starting to see a few of the benefits of using a thicker single iron rather than an iron with a chipbreaker - I believe the next one I attempt will use a single 1/4" thick iron.  I can't really explain it well other than to say ucsing a chipbreaker seems to create more spots that can catch a shaving and plug the mouth up... I'll have to experiment with a single iron to see if my hunches are correct.

More than ever, I recommend tackling projects like this if you are interested in wooden planes at all - each time I do, I'm learning more and more on how they function.  It's fun too, and I like this plane!  I can tell already I like it better than a Bailey for smoothing.  I'll still use a Bailey to make some of the initial passes, but this fellow really shines in bringing the finish to finality.

Well - you made it all the way to the end (you didn't cheat and skip over pages, did you?!).  Thanks for reading!