Making the Wedge
Over at the bandsaw, I cut a blank for the wedge to the angle I'm using - 12-1/2 degrees. The blank is about 5/8" thick and 6" long, and just a hair wider than the iron:
I clean up the bandsaw cuts with a block plane, first getting the width of the wedge so it fits snugly (but not binding - it should have just a little side play) into the wedge pocket, then checking that the angle is correct in the plane. It's very important the angle be correct, and that the wedge fits snugly to the shoulder of the wedge pocket along it's entire length (it can be tuned better later, but the angle needs to be very close).
When I've got the angle so it fits well, I mark out the edge of the shoulder onto the wedge with a sharp, sharp pencil:
Then, its back to the bandsaw to cut out about half of the material between where the shoulder meets with the wedge. For the remainder of the parts between the shoulders, I use a series of rasps, files, and floats so it forms a steeper angle, as shown in the photo below. I also "point" the ends of the wedge so it allows the shavings to be directed more to the center of the throat as they rise through the plane, and don't plug the mouth. I leave them a bit long for now, so I can tune them into shape better when I fettle the plane later.
Much of the final shaping of the wedge is done later, when tuning the plane. It's good not to take too much material off here, as it's always harder to put it on than it is to take more of it off. Also - watch that you don't splinter the wood at the end of the wedge - this is the second wedge I made for this plane because the wood splintered right there at the end on the first.
- Actually, I ended up making two more wedges for this plane, for a total of four before I got it right. I made this one too short when fettling the plane later, and tossed it and made another. That one I screwed up when carving the front of it. The fourth one finally made it to the end. EEK!!! It's a good thing they are fairly easy to make, and removable from the main body of the plane!