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The Finishing Touches

The First Finishing Touches, or Will the Craftsman Win Out?

Now, I'm starting to get something that resembles a plane:

Now's the time to do any tune up, to get it working as good as possible.  I didn't do that here - I should have, but now I was too close to seeing a finished product to worry about if it worked well or not.  Plus, I was in way too much of a rush - you can see if you look closely, there is some grease on the front of the plane.  It seems the mower decided it didn't want to start this day, like I'd hoped, so my shop time for the day was cut in half.  In interest of saving some time, I decided to forego the fitting and just make a run straight for the end zone.  Ack, what a dummy I can be, as these pages will soon bear out.  In any case, I can tell you now that working on a wooden plane in short, heated spurts between battling a craftsman riding lawn mower for world dominance is not the greatest recipe for success.  Success did finally come, but only at the cost of some humility.  Oh, yes - and some gasoline to replace what went bad in the can.  And a couple of sodas to wash that lovely taste out, after having to siphon the bad gas out of the mowers tank...  but I'm getting off track, here.

First, it was time to rough out the final shape of the plane to that of a "coffin" smoother.  To do this, I just marked a point 1/4" in at the toe, and 3/8" in from the heel like in the diagram below:

Then, using a 6" steel ruler, I bent an approximate shape as shown above and marked it with a pencil.  Over at the bandsaw, I cut it out, staying proud of the line by about an 1/8".  I didn't want to thin out the walls of the mortise too much, so I simply avoided them.  Then, to smooth it out, I took a belt sander on it's side after it:

I actually built a jig for this belt sander (another Craftsman - what wonderful tools - I'm just so happy with them can't you tell?) so that I can use it more like a stationary tool - but alas, the price one pays for having a small shop means jigs such as that are stuck way up behind and under fourteen other things... oh,  I'm wandering off subject again.  Fortunately, this one has a pretty flat side to rest on the bench that's close enough to perpendicular to actually work. 

Cosmetics

Once I get the shape I want, I round all of the outside corners of the plane that are rounded off, and make a few other cosmetic touches.

Note:  Here is a good place to stop and tune the plane, before the cosmetic touches are added.  I know I said it before, above - I just want to make sure I drive this point home.

Everything below the notch made in the side is left square.

Next, I'll talk about tuning the thing, what I should have done before the mad rush to the end...  Have I made clear the point about how I shouldn't have rushed through this part, yet?  Do I seem repetitious about it?  Am I annoying anyone with it yet?