Pics will be in a few minutes…
Where exactly did I leave off last time…ahh the main body is essentially done, and now all the adjustment features are all that’s left.
The one weakness of cherry for planes is that it’s just a little bit soft. Not much softer then beech, but enough that a harder sole will help over the years. Especially on a fillister or rabbet plane where almost all of the wear is on a corner. I chose bubinga to box it with, because its what I had and it’s tough as nails.
I didn’t really take too many pictures of this step because its pretty simple. Make some angled cuts and a small key at the top, then rip a strip of bubinga to match. The key probably isn’t necessary but why not for traditions sake. Use the escapement and bed to guide your saw cuts, maybe 1/32 in proud and then pare to flush. The boxing really makes the plane look spiffy and adds durability too.
With that done I moved onto making the fence. The fence is really just a thin piece of wood, I cut small mortises into it about 1.5 in. from each end. I made sure to clamp the wood on either side with a parallel jaw clamp as its quite thin near the edges and now is now the time I want to break it. You could leave it at that, but once again for more durability and tradition, I made up some brass pieces so the wood doesn’t get damaged or crack apart.
I went to the hardware store and picked up a half inch by .93 thick piece of brass. Drill overlapping holes and then with a hacksaw and numerous files straighten and square up the slot. It’s a lot easier to file if you hold the brass in place with a parallel jaw clamp, which is in turn clamped in your vise.
I also drilled a small hole and countersink at one end for a small screw. The other end it held under a small lip made by a chisel. To fasten the fence to the actual plane I put two threaded inserts into the bottom. While most vintage just had screws going into wooden threads, most of them happen to be stripped out too, just sayin..
Fence is done, now onto the depth stop. The design is pretty arbitrary, it just needs to function well and be strong. I though about soldering up a whole traditional system, and I may eventually do just that, but for now A walnut stop will do just fine.
I used a sliding dovetail to mate the stop and the plane, but a simple dado would do just fine. Using a drill press I drilled overlapping holes for the slot and pared and filed it nice and smooth.
I reinforced the area at the top with toothpicks as the small area of grain would be prone to splitting. A small piece of bubinga glued and screwed onto the bottom will serve as a good slippery and wear resistant surface.
I used a 5/16 all-thread and wing nut to lock the position of the depth stop. It works great with no chance of slipping. The all-thread is just threaded into an undersized hole in the wood.
Now the last functional part of the plane- the nicker. It’s used to score the cross-grain so you don’t get tearout or spelching. There are two main types of nickers used on vintage planes, one is where the nicker is tapered and holds itself in place, the other the nicker is straight and held with a wedge. I was weary about getting a good fit with a tapered nicker so I went for the straight nicker and wedge.
Using an old sawblade and hacksaw I roughed out the profile I needed, then moved onto mortising. The mortise is started by a small saw, and then I actually made a small chisel ( also from the saw blade) to finish up the mortise. I wanted it as thin as possible but my smallest chisel is 1/4 in. For the wedge mortise I ended up using a 3/16 plough iron from my stanley 45. While obviously not ideal, it worked fine for my purpose. The mortises are quite fiddly and took some tuning. Eventually I got an acceptable fit and fitted a small wedge to hold it in place.
Finally the plane is almost finished! There are a few other options for nickers that I will go over in the next post, and also a few mods I ended up making to mine.Other then that all that’s left is to shape, heat treat and hone the blade. Once again as always thanks for reading! Part three will be out sometime in the next few days.