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Restoring History-Auburn Tool Co Try Plane #2: Cambering the Iron

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Blog entry by RGtools posted 1163 days ago 2094 reads 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: A look into the past Part 2 of Restoring History-Auburn Tool Co Try Plane series Part 3: Lessons Learned »

Never try to outsmart a dead guy. If you see something that worked a hundred years ago, don’t try to improve it, that’s not your job. Your job is just not to mess things up. Moderns tend to put way more aggressive a camber on there irons than needed, Lee Valley and Lie Nielson put a 3 in radius on their scrub planes. A camber that size is great for removing wood in a hurry, and on it’s own a 3 inch camber sounds like a great idea. But our ancestors realized that each tool was part of a system of tools used to get them to a finished product quickly. A plane with a 3 inch camber leaves deeper troughs and higher valleys that take more time to remove with a try and smoother than I like. As a result, I like a camber of about 5”-7” on a scrub and 8”-10” on a fore. Both of these will remove wood in a hurry going cross grain, but they leave very little work for the progressively finer planes that follow them.

But what about a try plane? What kind of camber should it use. According to the clue I showed you in the previous entry, it’s about a 12.5. Before I show you how to figure that out. I missed a few things yesterday.

When it comes to the chipbreaker smooth is more important than machined perfection. So do this freehand.

Start the cut on a narrow angle, resting the back of the chip breaker pull the breaker towards you, and rotate the breaker up as you do so to finish the cut on the knife edge of the breaker.

Once the very tip is shiny from end to end, you can smooth up any hollows further back with progressively finer paper.

By the way for most restoration My progression from rough to fine sandpaper, goes as follows. 80, 220 400, 1500, 2000. I only go up to 400 on not cutting components as it gives things a dull shine without being to attractive to fingerprints. Another finer point is I start with 220 to get an idea of the material I have to remove before I decide to hog off waste with 80 grit.

But I hate sandpaper let’s talk about steel. To figure out the arc the the original blade was ground at, I use this ridiculously simple jig. Yep, just a nail, a stick a string, and a pen. You can adjust the length of the string by winding it around either the pen or the nail. You don’t need a ruler, although it helps if you don’t have an existing camber to go off of. To find a camber pull the string as tight as it will go and set the tip of the pen on the farthest edge of the center of the arc. While holding the pen vertical rotate the pen to an outside edge of the arc (it is easier to hold the pen vertical if the sting is low on the pen). If the tip is past the blade then you need to shorten your sting of it is on the metal you need to lengthen it. When the pen follows the arc you are ready to trace an arc on the back of the blade (this shows up better on a clean blade, which is one of the reasons I start flattening the back at this stage…the other reason is flatting the back all at one is mind numbingly boring).

I will not grind to these lines but I will use them to create my new arc. The secret to doing this smoothly is to grind a flat that you use as a reference surface for the rest of the grind. Make sure that your support is tall enough that the tool touches the stone slightly above the center line. This helps save steel and prevents tool grab. Don’t be temped to take the corners off all at once, you’ll just gouge your stone. Instead keep the blade flat on the stone and and feather the grind so that You work more on the corners than in the center.

When done the end looks like this.

But this is the more important part.

By using this edge as a guide you can tell where material needs to be removed through the grind to create an even arc on the bevel. All you have to do is make this arc look straight when you look at it on end. To do that more material needs to be removed from the ends than the center. Once it’s straight, you can work this while keeping things even until you have created a bur on the entire back of the blade. This takes some time and some steal so I don’t recommend changing arcs often, I would rather just have spare blades with differing arcs if I need them.

The joys of working with vintage gear. I think I spun my hand around a few times after the handle fell off.

A quick repair.

And I get back to work. The same tips for grinding the end apply on the bevel but as you are removing more steel take you time and don’t overheat the tool. I keep my fingers close to the edge so I can tell when I need to do something else for a moment. Sharpening two irons at the same time is a good way to keep you steel cool and keep working (which is why I got a scrub in the last post)

As you can see the edge is flat across the bevel which means I have a nice even bevel at this point.

Now I just need to get a burr, and we are well on our way to making shavings.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan



12 comments so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12262 posts in 2729 days


#1 posted 1163 days ago

Great post. Looking forward to the next entry. Like your little anvil.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View mafe's profile

mafe

9491 posts in 1721 days


#2 posted 1163 days ago

Wonderful view to the garden.
Wonderful anvil.
Wonderful to see you work.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1286 days


#3 posted 1163 days ago

Hey Wayne, that little anvil is prefect for the odd metal working tasks that show up in a wood-shop. if you find one grab it. It’s one of those “nice to have” tools that can really get you out of a bind.

Mads, I love the view too, one things about my shop I can say, a window seat makes all the difference.

Thanks for looking you guys.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12262 posts in 2729 days


#4 posted 1163 days ago

I have one. Not sure it is quite as nice as your. I also just got another small bench vice with an anvil. The nice think about it is that it can be mounted. I am going to mount it to a board so that it can be clamped or perhaps put an attachment on it so it can be clamped in the face vice on my bench.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Don W's profile

Don W

14874 posts in 1199 days


#5 posted 1163 days ago

i use a piece of railroad tie. I’m not ready to shell out the $100+/- i’ve seen for the anvils.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12262 posts in 2729 days


#6 posted 1163 days ago

I think I paid $15 for mine. There is a guy selling small anvils on ebay. He bought a group of anvils from an old factory. Think they are $20 each.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1286 days


#7 posted 1162 days ago

Wayne and Don, the anvil cost me $20. I want to find some hardie tools for it, but I may have to farm that bit of work out. A railroad tie woks quite well though, The “Anvil” in the Japan woodworker catalog is testament to that. I love this one because it ways enough to stay put for odd jobs but I can toss it on a shelf when I am done. It also makes a good bucking iron for cinching nails.

August, I think you comment got cut off, thanks though. (wish my camera focused better, need to invest in a better one but I keep buying tools and wood). I’ll let you know if I ever decide to part with the anvil but I won’t promise that will ever happen:)

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12262 posts in 2729 days


#8 posted 1162 days ago

Them storms settled down some August?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1286 days


#9 posted 1162 days ago

It’s more of a space thing I don’t know where I would put it. I work in the same shop as my grampa. He brought 82 years worth of tools with him (and the inherited tools of several neighbors and relatives that have passed away) with of course none of the organization. He does not use any of the tools, but he won’t sell them either, so half of my shop is a total mess.

Bit by bit though I am getting it organized. And I did manage to convince him to sell the enormous Radial arm saw last year. So I have some hope of having an uncluttered shop one day.

The I-phone explains some.

When stuff breaks, repair it, and keep working. I am calmer that way.

No trade but I can offer some advice. Look for a grinder with a good gear ratio that can BOLT down as opposed to clamp like mine. I think I paid, 17 for mine, eventually I plan to put a Norton 80 friable bond stone on it, but the vintage stone works well enough for now. Ebay is not your friend here, go to antique store that sell a hodge podge of stuff because they have multiple vendors, eventually you will see one that you can TEST, lying in a corner.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12262 posts in 2729 days


#10 posted 1159 days ago

Here is a small anvil on ebay for $20. I believe this guy has a bunch of em…

http://cgi.ebay.com/Small-Unique-Anvil-1-Polished-Up-/360376051766?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53e8162836

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1286 days


#11 posted 1158 days ago

Good find Wayne. I repaired yet another tool today 100 buck saved by my count.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1286 days


#12 posted 1158 days ago

Hope you had fun August.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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