The Strike Button, and Final Body Design
The Strike Button
One final element to add to the plane body is a strike button. Because this plane has a handle on the back, there is no place to strike the plane to adjust it, or to loosen the blade once it's in place. If you were to strike the top front of the plane, the side grain exposed would soon be beaten to death. A strike button is a dowel placed into the top front of the plane, and exposes end grain on which to mallet blows can be applied without damaging the body of the plane. I find I prefer this style of adjustment, in any case, as it seems easier to me to gauge the force needed to strike the plane.
Since I don't have a beech dowel handy for the task, I turn one on the lathe, using a 5/8" wrench to gauge the dowels final size:
After cutting out the dowel I've turned, I use a forstner bit to drill a 1/2" deep hole in the front center of the plane, into which I glue the dowel. I then take the plane over to the table saw and cut the dowel off to length by laying the plane on it's side and feeding it into the blade. I didn't use any specific measurement, just eyeballed it.
Final Designs for the Body, Handle, and Wedge
It still didn't look right to me, somehow. I enlisted the help of some other woodworkers and take down some suggestions and combine them with my own ideas. Through the magic of Photoshop, I propose a few aesthetic changes (the shaded areas indicate areas of wood to be removed and the graphics are to be carved into the wood):
The ideas are well received, but someone points out that a celtic cross combine with wheat carvings is a bit disparate, and that I should try use all celtic-influenced carvings. I've done some celtic knot-work carving previously, but nothing this small. I start looking up patterns until I run across this pendant:
This shape seems to fit what I want pretty well, so I use Photoshop to try it out on the plane, coming up with this:
I decide this is good enough for my purposes, and trace the outlines onto the plane using carbon paper and a slightly dulled pencil. I changed the design for the handle slightly when I finally got around to carving it, but the idea was pretty much unchanged.
Photoshop came in really handy for this stage of the process, allowing me to preview several different final designs for the plane.