First, for Terry -
Kinda like eating an elephant. A little bit at a time…
You know how it is when you head into the shop at 9 a.m. thinking you’ve got a fairly simple task to do, should take about an hour and you can move on to the next part of the project? And then you realize you need to take care of a detail before you can do that one thing? But before you take care of the detail you need to take care of something else and it doesn’t work out right. So you need to figure something else out. And all of a sudden it is 5 p.m. and you’ve just finished that one simple thing? Missing lunch in the process?
Yeah, it was one of those days.
Before doing the legs, I wanted to finish up the wagon vise install. Pretty simple, route the slots for the guides and mount them up. A couple passes with the router and edge guide. How hard can it be?
Well, first, I needed to do a bit of flattening on the bottom. I had milled the end caps and front board slightly wider than the rest of the slab. Realized that I’d never get a perfect glueup if they were the same width, so made it so they would sit about 1/32” proud on top and bottom. Needed to be flushed before I routed for the vise guides, as one guide would be attached to the front board.
I get out the four horsemen:
Notice that they are all single iron planes? They work just fine on cherry, but all give massive tearout on the Jatoba. While I don’t really care what the jatoba looks like underneath, this kind of tearout left splintery recesses 1/16” deep. For some reason, that bothers me.
So I haul out the big gun:
The high-angle double iron smoother GMatheson sent me in the plane swap last year. I don’t get to use it much but this is the situation it was designed for. Except… The jatoba is really hard. I had to set the smoother for really thin shavings to avoid chatter. And even then, I’d get about 6 passes before the iron showed small chipping. Re-grind, re-hone, re-set the iron and take another 6 very thin passes. Rinse and repeat.
After I finished the first end cap, I realized I had another option. I “rescued” a 70s Handyman smoother from the back of a drawer in my dad’s shop when I first got into woodworking. I only used it twice before deciding to make my own, but it was still kicking around somewhere.
Dig it out, grind/hone the iron and try to put it work. It doesn’t, chatters like crazy. Ok, re-grind and re-hone, maybe I messed up the iron. And fit the cap iron properly, now that I know what should happen. Still chatters. It weighs about the same as the wooden smoothers, btw. The light weight, combined with a likely out-of-flat sole is probably the cause of the chattering.
Then I remember I’ve got yet another option. I won a set of Woodriver V3 planes (fore, smoother and LA block) over a year ago and they were still sitting in the unopened box. Figured they were worth a shot. So that entailed stripping them down, degreasing, grinding and honing the irons, fitting the cap iron, tightening the totes, etc. Not just one, but all three.
Here’s the fore and smoother:
And that did the trick. The WRs seem like pretty decent planes. Good heft, the smoother subjectively about twice the Handyman. Thick irons with a modern cap iron design. I had the pleasure of using an LV smoother and LA Jack for a few months a while back, and these perform as well as those. The LVs look better and are produced to a higher standard, but these are satisfactory alternatives.
Ended up with “some” detritus:
Now, onto the business of the day.
After laying out the guide locations very carefully, set the router up with the edge guide and routed the slots in two passes each:
Remember the oops on the length of the end cap mortise? Turns out to not be an issue. The bolt hole for the flange is located in a OK spot.
I’ll need to chisel away about 1/16” to get clearance for the washer.
After checking that the plate slides easily in the guides, I clamp them down and mark the screw hole locations
Drill pilot holes:
The screws nominally needed a 9/64” pilot, which is what I did. That worked in the cherry, but I was unable to drive the screw into the jatoba – on a fresh battery charge my impact driver stalled out about halfway. I re-piloted at 5/32”, and that barely worked.
The instructions said to make the slots 1/4” deep. Using a 1/4” drill bit to set the router plunge depth should result in a perfect depth, right? Nope, I end up being too deep – the plate would not slide into the guides. I ended up needing to shim the guides with two pieces of masking tape each side.
Next, install the plate and nut. I used a bit of thread lock, probably overkill.
And check the operation:
Easy travel along the full length! Woohoo!
I removed the screw at that point. I’ll leave it off until just about the end. No sense in adding an extra 20 lbs to the top while I still need to move it around to work on it.
And that is how 9 a.m. turned into 5 p.m.
-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design