I have come to really like the Transitional style wood planes both for their looks and their feel when using. I have about 10 different trans planes in my shop that I have cleaned and tuned up but they are not used often. The main reason they are not often used is because most of mine have soles that have been worn down to the point where the mouths have become much to wide thus making it very hard to take fine shavings.
I learned of two general ways to fix this problem. You can either add a whole new piece to the bottom of the sole and carve out a new mouth or you can add an inlay to the sole to close the mouth. I decided that I will tune all of my trans planes using one of the two methods. I will be posting more blogs as I do this.
For this blog I am going to show how I added an inlay piece to my Stanley #32 trans plane. Of all of my trans planes I think this one was in the best condition. The mouth was not all that bad and it was very usable the way it was. However being a jointer I wanted to close the mouth up just a little. Since I only wanted to close the mouth by a small amount the inlay was the best option for this plane.
I read a number of articles on how to do this and I found that Garret Hacks “The Hand Plane Book” pretty much tells you everything you need to know on how to do this.
The first step was to cut the inlay piece. I went through my scraps and found a thin scrap of Avidore that was the perfect size and thickness so I went with that. I think any dense hardwood is fine to use. Once I had my piece selected I cut it down to the size and shape of my inlay and traced it onto the plane sole..
I suppose the best way to cut out the mortise for the inlay would be to use a router but I decided to just use my drill press with a fostner bit. After the bulk of the waste was removed I cleaned up the rest of it with a chisel.
The inlay did not turn out to be a perfect fit as there were some very slight gaps around the edges. I just filled them with wood filler and called it good. The inlay piece fit flat and glued strong so its not going to fall out. I don’t think it turned out all that bad for my first attempt at this.
All I have to do is file the mouth a little and then I am good to go.
I am working on another one of my trans planes right now where I put a whole new sole on the bottom of the old sole. I will have another blog on that restoration when I have it finished.
-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"