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.


  1. Jonas,

    Reading with interest but ain't no way I'm going to try and follow :-). My guess is the ship has some good metal working tools you are putting to use.


    1. Hi Ken
      I actually prefer to make things in wood, but I have had this idea about trying to make an infill for some time, and now seemed like a good chance to do so.
      We are reasonably well stocked in metal working tools, so that definitely gives me an advantage.
      I have sort of a nagging feeling that I doubt that the plane will be any better than a regular Stanley No 3 or 4. Hopefully it will work just as well, but I am not sure of that either. But I guess there is only one way to find out.

  2. I have to give you credit, because this is an ambitious "at sea" project! I'm looking forward to this one, especially to see what you come up with for the lever cap. Good luck!

    1. Hi Bill.
      Thanks, the biggest problem is that I have never done it before, and I have to make do with what I can find. But if not anything else, it will at least give a unique plane.
      I hope to be able to find an old bronze valve, that could yield enough material to make a lever cap. But I might have to make one in steel if I can't find any brass or bronze.
      My emergency plan if all fails is to enlarge the mouth, grind a curve on the blade and make a really fancy scrub plane. I hope it won't be necessary.


  3. How did you decide how wide to start the mouth? The only thing holding me back from stayings an infill is figuring out how to go about sizing the mouth to keep it tight

    1. Hi.

      I made a drawing of the plane as seen from the side in size 1:1.
      With all the correct angles.
      Then I measured my plane blade to be used (an old E.A. Berg iron), and tried to draw that on the paper as well. That way I could see where it would protrude from the bottom technically.

      I marked up on the safe side, so I would have to file the mouth more open when I would finally insert the blade.

      I hope it makes a bit of sense.

      Best regards and good luck with your build


    2. Hi again.

      This site has got some very useful information on building an infill plane. It served as inspiration for me.