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Floating Out the Wedge Pocket

Once the pocket is chiseled  out to around 1/16" or so shy of finished depth, it's over my machinist's vise to work them with the planemaker's floats I made in another treatise.  Here, I'm using the side float, but the bed float actually saw more use, because of it's triangular shape (which, of course, is the same 12 1/2 degrees as the pocket.  Gosh - it's like it was meant to be!).
I've been reconsidering that angle of 12-1/2 degrees... Most of the older planes I run into have a shallower angle, something closer to 8 or 10 degrees.  The end result, in my opinion, would be a tighter fit with the wedge.  I think for the next plane I make I will be experimenting with a shallower angle.

The end float is perfect for smoothing the shoulder, and along the bed.  I'm not worried yet about getting the bed perfect - and I don't want to take it too far, either.  Once I've mortised out the slot for the head of the chipbreaker's screw, I'll flatten the bed using the bed float. 


There will be a bit less surface to flatten then, making the task a bit easier.  Don't forget to check the sides of the pocket from the bottom of the plane, and watch for tearout.  I find it easier to work the very bottom of the pocket from this side of the plane:

In the end, the iron assembly should slide easily in and out of it's slot, but the mouth should be a bit too tight yet for the iron to fit through.  

The finished pocket should be straight for it's entire length along the wall, the shoulder, and the bed.  It's easy to get yourself into trouble here especially with 2 different types of wood.  I found the purpleheart quite a bit harder than the beech - and it needed more floating than the adjacent wood, but made it easy to overdo the beech.

Forming the Cheeks

It's time now to start forming the cheeks of the plane, starting with the lower cheek.  I found it just about impossible to take a good picture of it, so I'll just bring this cutaway back up:

Using the floats worked the easiest for removing material here - there isn't that much.  Just have to be careful with tearout at the bottom.  Tearout hasn't been a problem with the beech I used, but was an issue several times with the purpleheart.  One thing - I left a bit of wood for later when doing the final fit of the iron.

For the cheeks, I mounted the plane back into my clamping jig on my bench.  You can't see it in this photo, but there is a caul on the far side of the plane so the clamp doesn't dig into the wood.

You need your chisels to be *sharp* for working like this - it make the task go so much easier.  Once the cuts are started, a skew chisel is handy to clean up the corner.  Once within 1/16" - 1/8" or so, the bed float works to bring the thickness to final finish.  The purpose of the cheek isn't as much functional as it is for convenience for the user - it makes it easier for the user to clean the throat of shavings.