Let's build a small infill smoother! #4: Shaping up

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Blog entry by Ripthorn posted 02-21-2015 10:48 PM 1743 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Filling it in Part 4 of Let's build a small infill smoother! series Part 5: The Finish Line »

This has been coming along surprisingly quick, but I am coming up on a little bit of a wait after this installment.

So with the epoxy set on the infills, I used the band saw to rough cut the ends of the infills. Then I used the belt sander to take them down to shape. After that, it was time to shape the top curvature of the infill. This was done by first marking the center line:

After 10 or 15 minutes at the belt sander (still using the 40 grit blue belt), I got this:

The shape is still pretty rough, it’s nowhere near symmetric, which is most easily identified by looking at the bed. With that done, it was time to figure out where to drill for the rods that will secure the lever cap. I plan to use 3/16” brass rod that is threaded at #10-24 with a slot cut in the end. Alternatively, fillister head screws would work too. So first I marked center on the lever cap, and drilled the tap hole for a 1/4”-20 thumb screw at 3/8” from the end. I then threaded in a long 1/4” screw to what I thought was an ideal distance for a secured blade, like this:

Using my 3/16” scrap steel, I found what I thought would be a good location for the lever cap for chip ejection: close enough to help with ejection, but not so close as to make the mouth area too tight. I center punched the area on one side of the plane exterior so that it would be in center (ish) of the lever cap. Now, the sides are nowhere near square and I want the lever cap square to the sole. So here is where I broke out a specialty tool. This is a 3” angle plate. I got it from Enco on sale for all of $6-7, and is far more accurate than I will need. I clamped the sole to the vertical face of the angle plate and found a piece of scrap brass to act as a shim to help avoid excessive punch out on the opposite side. It looked like this:

I drilled using generous amounts of cutting fluid. The plane is narrow enough that I drilled both sides with the same setup. After this, I put the lever cap back in with my fake blade and found the mark I had previously made on it for the rough guide regarding where it should go. I used a transfer punch to mark the hole, then drilled and tapped to #10-24 with a bottoming tap. I then put the lever cap back in, put a screw in to the lever cap, and marked the other side of the lever cap, drilled, and tapped. When that was done, it was time to put it together to make sure it would work:

That’ll do pig, that’ll do. Now I got excited, because it now had all parts to be functional, except for a blade. I have a 3/16” thick 1 1/2” nice ash iron, but as I found out, 3/16” is too thick (maybe the iron is 1/4” thick, didn’t measure). So off I went to the scrap bin, and found a piece of 1/8” by 1” wide mild steel. I ground a rough 45 degree or so bevel on it, hit it with the fine grinding wheel, then sharpened it in the Eclipse jig on a coarse oil stone. I figured that would be good enough for a little test run. With that, I present, the first shavings:

I then moved on to shaping the lever cap. I roughed out a shape that I eyeballed on the band saw, then hit it with the grinder, then the blue sanding belt. It now looks kind of like this:

It’s not symmetric, but whatever, I don’t care too much on this one, and making a new one wouldn’t be a killer. I will say that I think on the next one I will use 1/4” for the lever cap, as 3/8” seems a little thick for the size of this plane. But I will say that I love the 3/8” for the sole, it gives it a great weight with plenty of authority but not too heavy.

Lessons Learned

- Taking some time to get a lever cap design drawn out is a good idea
- A thinner lever cap would be good for a few reasons: size relative to the project, and being about the get a little gentler curve on it so that it doesn’t cram shavings into the mouth as much

Total Time to This Point: ~8 hrs

Next up is doing the blade, lever cap screw, lever cap rods, and the final screws for the body. Then it will be cleaning it up and fettling. We’re getting close, chaps!

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

4 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

17875 posts in 1987 days

#1 posted 02-22-2015 12:26 AM

Nice moves.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Mauricio's profile


7115 posts in 2571 days

#2 posted 02-22-2015 01:57 PM

This has been fun to watch! It’s going to look great.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Ripthorn's profile


1402 posts in 2404 days

#3 posted 02-22-2015 03:07 PM

I’m glad that people are enjoying it, I sure am. I hope this will be a resource for others who want to give it a shot. As a side note, I ordered the steel for the blades. I also ordered enough steel to make another one, but since it is all O1 which comes in 18” lengths, I got enough to make another three of these things. I just might be crazy, but I think they would be fun to put up for trade or something. Or I might get so attached that they will all stay in the till (that is not yet built…)

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View terryR's profile


6230 posts in 1728 days

#4 posted 02-22-2015 04:31 PM

Looking good to me!
Thanks for continuing to share,
I bet I know an LJ that will trade for infill parts!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

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