A Handled Wooden Bench Plane
- As always - text presented in this format came later, with hindsight - or through other's prodding. Usually, I'm pointing something out that I either missed, should have done differently (or want to on the next), or just want to make the reader aware of something. I may add more comments such as this later, when I've had more time to reflect on the project.
- A lot of this stuff was covered in the other thing I did on the coffin smoother (and some that isn't in this one). If you're really interested, you could read that one as a precursor to this one, but I'll try not to make this one too painful if you haven't. If you have, my apologies. It is, unfortunately, about 10 pages of rambling, so you have been warned!
Here is the original inspiration for making a wooden plane, my great grandfather's plane - one of only two tools I have of his (the other being another plane - a wooden jointer missing the iron and wedge). Salvaged from a fallen down barn, it's in pretty rough shape:
It was manufactured by the Auburn Tool Company - and I would date it from between 1885 and 1935. That's as close as I can get, with what information I have on him - the years he was working back in North Dakota. I know he was working up to the mid-thirties, because Dad remember him using a power saw for the very first and last time in his life. A circular saw powered off of a tractor to make cuts for rafters on a barn.
Designing the New Plane
Since the iron is coming from an existing plane - it makes a bit of sense that I can use that plane for some of the dimensions of the mortise, and width of the plane. I'm going to be diverging quite a bit from the design of the original, though I can still use the measurements for the throat. The plane I have in mind will be laminated from several pieces - with a purpleheart "core" sandwiched on the outside by beech, with a beech tote set into a razee style heel.
The wood for great granddad's plane is a square chunk of beech, about 2-7/8" square, and the iron is 2-1/4" wide. The final width of the plane I'm making will be the same as the original, as it is determined by the width of the iron. I won't be working to finished height at first, for reasons that will become clear when I get to them, so the initial height of the plane will remain at 2-7/8" for now. The final height of the plane will be 2-1/2", when I do get there.
The width of the center piece of purple heart is going to be 1-3/4" - determined by the widthe between the shoulders that hold the wedge in place, as seen below:
This basically means all the cutting I'll be doing will be done in the beech sides.
Before we get too deep into this discussion - Let's see just what it is that we are going to do, first by getting a good look at the original:
To help clear that up just a bit - here's the cutaway model I did for the previous plane, and I've added the names of the parts of the plane I'm going to be working on to help clarify what I'm talking about.
When referring to the throat, it is essentially referring to the opening itself - the terms above are referring to the adjacent surfaces within the mortised opening (throat). The "toe" of the plane is the front of the plane, and the "heel" is the back.
On that plane, it was essentially one block of wood, and I chopped the throat of the plane out with chisels - a pretty traditional approach for planes of the nineteenth century. I thought that taking advantage of modern day glues and see if I could use a laminating process to my advantage, hopefully saving a bit of labor.