Monday, September 25, 2017

Making an infill plane from scratch 4, dovetails.

Making the dovetails is pretty much sone the same way in steel as it is in wood.
The only difference is that you use a file instead of a chisel to remove the waste. I used a drill to remove the bulk of it, just like some people do in wood.

After cleaning up all the pins on the sole, I wanted to clean up the mouth a bit too.
This was where I discovered my first mistake: When I had drilled the series of holes for the mouth, I had used a 5 mm drill (9/32"). The small file was just able to go through that opening, but it was not great for flattening or removing a lot of material. If I had only measured the regular files first, I would have used a slightly larger drill.
I managed to rout out the mouth using a 5.5 mm drill (something larger than 9/32" but not 1/4" - this is where my limit of the imperial system seems to be).
At last I was able to clean up the mouth with a regular file, and I did only that. It has not been shaped yet.

Since I made the sole first, I did the "pins first" this time. transferring them to the tail boards was done just like any other set of dovetails. I clamped a batten on the tail board to rest the pin board against while I marked the tails.

More drilling, sawing and filing..

I completed the tails on one side of the plane, and I pressed them a bit of the way. They are tight, so I might have to ease up the corners a bit more before the final assembly.

Dovetails of the infill plane


The logo of the chipbreaker.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Making an infill plane from scratch 3, Laying out the sole.

I received a comment today from Kevin Brehon. He is also building an infill plane, and he has posted some very interesting considerations regarding his design and the building process as a whole.
You can read his blog post here.

My project is moving forward at a steady pace: The blade, the chipbreaker and the screw all cleaned up nicely after being soaked in vinegar for a day. A really fantastic thing is that the black crust/scale on the steel bar also disappeared after the vinegar bath. So now I have some bare grey steel to work with which is nice.

Yesterday I sat with a piece of paper and tried to make something resembling a construction drawing of the plane. With actual size measurements and angles etc.
I also experimented a bit on the dovetail lay out until I finally arrived at something I believed in.

Today I squared up the three pieces of steel bar and sawed them to the correct length and made sure that the freshly sawn end was filed square too.
I then started laying out the lines on the sole. I started by scratching some longitudinal lines that would define the depth of the dovetails and also define the final width of the plane.
I will end up with the pins being 1/8" proud. That should be more than sufficient for peening, but off course it will give me a lot of material to get rid of in the end. But when working with standard width stock you can't be too picky.

Next I laid out the position of the mouth, but I deliberately made it too small. My idea is that I can open it up later so I can achieve a tight mouth when the blade is inserted.

The dovetails were laid out last. I eyeballed an angle that I found pleasing, and marked the lot of them.

I marked out some help lines and punched some dents with a center punch, to give the drill a starting point.
My idea is that it is faster to drill out material than it is to file it away.

All this actually took the best part of the evening, and there isn't much wow effect in showing a piece of sheet metal that looks like a Ford T after a gunfight in an old gangster movie . But it is all that I have got for you.

Construction drawing with sole all laid out in front.

It really helps that we have a very nice drill press.



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Making an infill plane from scratch 2, initial considerations.

I have more or less decided that the overall size of the plane will be something like a Stanley No 3 or a No 4.
There are many different designs of infill planes out there, but I don't want to make anything too wild. Nor do I want to make a direct copy of someones plane. But given the many planes that exist, it is quite possible that mine will look like some other plane after all. But that is OK with me.

Our reasonable well stocked supply of plane building material (flat steel bar) allowed me to go for a 1/4" x 2"3/8 for the sole (6x60 mm) and 9/32" x 2" for the sides (5x50 mm).

They are in regular black steel colour meaning that there is a bit of crust on the steel left from the manufacturing process. I have tried to immerse them in some vinegar together with the blade, to see if that will remove it. I doubt it, but it is worth the try.

I was thinking about the grain orientation for the infill parts. I guess that the reason for the wood to be placed with the grain running in the length of the plane is that in the very likely event of wood movement due to differences in moisture, you will not have the sole distorted.
Maybe the sides will become a little bit loose or they will expand a little, but the sole should stay flat that way. At least that is how I see it. So my wooden parts will have the grain running in that direction.
My plan is to use some sort of pipe inserts in the infill parts, to minimize any impact of wood movement.

I'll aim for a blade angle of 45 degrees, It should make a good allround plane (if I succeed). If the angle is a bit off I doubt that it will matter much.



Sketch with some major measurements.
The angle of the blade is closer to 60 degrees,
and the rear tote looks like crap, but it will have to do.



Blade, chipbreaker and screw in vinegar.
The plane material is in there as well.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Making an infill plane from scratch

I don't often make tools, and if I do they are mostly some quick dirty solutions that are just needed for one special operation.

My friend Brian Eve over at Toolerable often have great ideas like "the June chair build" etc.
He once suggested that we made an IPBO (Infill Plane Build Off), where we would simultaneously build an infill plane and blog about it.
I decided that I couldn't wait anymore, so I am just going to start building an infill plane from scratch out here.
Brian and anyone else interested in building any type of infill plane are more than welcome to join in. It doesn't matter if it is made from a kit, or from scratch or a remake, it can be a rabbet, a smoother or a panel plane etc.
If you are building one, leave a comment with the address to where you are documenting/describing your build, and I'll post it here so people can see how everyone is doing.

Actually my build won't be completely from scratch, since I brought a plane iron with me for the bild.
It is an old E.A. Berg iron that was in a box I bought filled with all kinds of planes. Most of the planes were incredibly crappy, so the deal itself was not that good for me, but this could potentially make it better.

I have looked at various planes for inspiration, and I have a rough idea about how I would like it to end up looking. I would have preferred brass for the sides, but we haven't got any brass like that out here, so I'll try to make it out of some regular flat steel bar.
My newly purchased bubinga will be used as infill material. Once I get that far, I'll see what I can come up with to use as lever cap , and I might make some sort of Norris style adjuster as well.

My plan is to first get the iron cleaned up,and then I need to start making some sketches and eventually settle on a design.

Length 6.75", width 1"5/8

The lower part is hard steel, the upper part softer.

Not terribly abused iron.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Making a handle for a pocket knife 2

I shaped the handle using a round and a half round file to get close to the shape that I wanted.

Before sanding I needed to drill the recessed holes for the heads of the screws.
I ground a drill like a router bit and mounted in our drill press. I had marked out where it should go and then I drilled very carefully. The first result was perfect. But in the other side f the knife, a small chip broke off, and I had to glue it back on with some super glue. I have ended up making the handle just a little bit too thin in the forward end of the knife, because the screws are setting against the threaded piece inside before reaching the wood. It is maybe 1/50" too shallow, so I doubt that it will have any effect on the general use of the knife. But the problem is that I know it..

After that I sanded with the different available grits that we have out here, ending up with a purple and a green scotch brite pad together with some olive oil (because that is what I could get my hands on)

Finally I sharpened the knife and put it back in the drawer where I found it.

It has been a quick little project, and there are lots of possibilities for improvements, but The important thing was to get a feel for how this Bubinga is to work with, and I have a better understanding about that now than prior to the project.
The knife itself seems to have been constructed so it would fit a plastic handle. That made it a bit difficult and necessitated the addition of an aluminium piece in the back of the handle. both to act as a distance piece and as a way of securing that end of the blade/spring unit.

I am pretty sure that there are pocket knives out there more suited to re-handling than this one, so if anyone is interested in trying it out for themselves, I suggest getting something that was meant for a wooden handle.

A positive thing about making handles is that it can be done with a very limited tool set, and it doesn't require a lot of shop space. But I am not quite as attracted to that sort of woodworking as to e.g box making, so I doubt that I will turn into a full time knife maker.

Glamour shot of the end.

Before oil and final sanding and without screws.

Small blade and large handle.

Oiled and finished.

Oiled and finished on the other side too.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Making a handle for a pocket knife

As Brian Eve once noticed, whenever I am at home, my blog is pretty much dead. I don't do it on purpose, it just happens. I like to all sorts of things but to sit in front of a computer.

My family have given me a smart phone and I have accepted it, because they claimed that I could use it to take pictures with, and these would be instantly accessible on my blog.
Now it seems as though it is not the entire truth.
Brian told me that in order for the pictures to go automatically from my Iphone to Google, I needed some sort of app.
The problem is that I distrust app-stores of any kind. Technically I guess I distrust smartphones as well. So in order for me to get my pictures I have to email them to myself and then download them, save them in a folder, and then I can use the picture on my blog.
It is not that much easier than a digital camera in my opinion - but at least I have my phone with me most of the time, so perhaps there will be an increase in land based blogging in the future.

Enough abut modern technology, lets get to the interesting part:

I have been assigned to a different ship, and my schedule has changed at the same time, so that is why there has been a 9 weeks period without any real activity instead of the regular five weeks.
This new ship is currently in Africa, more exact Ghana.
As any sensible person reading this blog would do, the first things to investigate when knowing the job site is A) find out what vaccinations are needed for the area, B) find out what wood is available in that area.

Ghana Forestry Commission has an excellent site that tells you the name of the species in the local language and a lot of other information on the different types of wood that are native to the country.

I browsed their list and asked one of the local stevedores working on the ship if he knew where I could get some Bubinga.
He had a friend who did some woodcarving, and a after a bit of time I managed to explain to him that I wasn't interested in buying a carved figure of an elephant, but I would like to get some raw stock.
A bit more phone work, and I was presented with two really nice pieces of dense reddish hard wood.
I think it is Bubinga, but it could also be something else. I am not an expert on determining exotic wood species.
The two pieces each measure 3.75" x 4.5" and have a length of 24 - 28". I paid a total of 15$ for them, and I have no idea if that is above the market price down here, but I am happy, and the guy selling them seemed happy too. So I guess it was an alright deal for both of us.

In order for me to find out how this wood is to work with, I decided to make a wooden handle for a pocket knife that I found in a drawer in the engine control room.
The process itself was fairly straight forward:
I sawed off a thin piece of wood and flattened what would become the inside of the handle.
I placed the internal part of the pocket knife on the new handle parts and traced a handle shape.
A piece of aluminium scrap was filed to the same thickness as the internal part of the knife. That would become the back part of the knife.
Holes were drilled for the blade fixing screws and some 2 mm brass nails that were glued in like some sort of rivets and also for a 6 mm copper pipe that will eventually serve for a small line if needed.


My newly purchased Bubinga?

Plastic handled pocket knife.

Scrap aluminium.

Assembled and ready for shaping.



Thursday, August 3, 2017

A small barrel for a Newfoundland dog

After the barrel sitting idle on a shelf for a couple of months, I finally took the "trouble" of getting it onto Bertha for a quick photo.

I removed the barrel immediately after the pictures were taken, but Bertha actually didn't seem to mind the small barrel hanging by her collar.

Getting a dog to pose is not that simple..

Bertha with a small barrel.

Now with her eyes closed.