The plane irons from Lee Valley arrived yesterday so I was able to continue work on the ancient bucket project. I was really happy with the plane irons once I was able to look at them. Dressing them with fine sandpaper on top of the jointer bench revealed them to be perfectly flat, and the shower of sparks generated from the shaping process indicated them to be fairly high carbon steel. Because I had already made the width of the plane body before ordering the blades I needed to grind a little off the edges to get them to fit – the blade as purchased was 48mm, and I needed to narrow it down to 45mm to fit the plane. I then curved the cutting edge to fit the profile of the plane sole, reground the bevel and honed it to a sharp edge.
Getting it shaving sharp was a simple process of working through the grits and ending with my leather strop. I am by no means a metallurgist, but would guess that the blade will be comparable to any A2 steel. Time will tell how well it holds its edge.
Fitting the blade and designing the pin had me scratching my head for a while because I really didn’t want the pin exposed on the outside of the cheeks to interfere with the carving. This is what happens if you “design as you go” – had I known before gluing up the body that I was carving the sides, I could easily have installed the pin in blind holes during the assembly. But I decided to try to make two wedges that would hold the pin at the top of the throat and glued them to the cheeks. It also allowed me to have a blade slot, more in the style of the Japanese planes. I didn’t take pictures of this part of the process so it may be a little difficult to understand. In any event, it does close the throat of the plane somewhat but the initial trials it does not appear to interfere with clearing the shavings out of the throat.
With the plane components finally complete I checked the bed for the blade in the manner described by Bob Rozaieski on the Logan Cabinet Shoppe podcast (Episode 30, Bedding a Plane Iron) to make sure it was firmly seated. Then with some amber shellac and wax, it became a thing of beauty to my eyes.
With the plane complete I could turn my attention to the staves and bottom. Here I again strayed a little from the common path. I scribed my approximate circumference of the bucket on piece of cardboard at an 8” diameter. Planing 12 staves I sectioned off the circle into 12 equall sections, each one slightly greater than 2 inches. Cutting my stock into 2 1/4 in strips, I then planed them down into 1/2” thicknesses. I now chose the wood I would use for the bottom, and again went a little sideways in procedure. I decided to try a tongue and groove joint between the two bottom pieces, and cut the groove into the edge of one board with a table saw. I then scribed the two lines to define the tongue on the matching edge, and planed the waste away with a small rebate plane. The end result fit well, and I’m hoping this may work better for me than the alternative dowel joint.
And it allowed me to play a little more with my planes.