Making the dw infills #2: Let's dovetail

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Blog entry by Don W posted 04-03-2013 12:33 AM 2830 reads 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Part 1 Envisioning and a bit of a Rant. Part 2 of Making the dw infills series Part 3: Part 3 the infill saga »

As I stated in the first part, there are several ways to connect the sides of an infill to te sole. In this plane I’ll try my hand at dovetailing.

There are numerous videos, instruction and blogs about cutting the dovetails. I suggest you watch them all. I am pretty sure I did.

For the woodworking folks around here, the layout isn’t really any different than wood. Add some layout fluid, and use the same tools you use for a drawer. A straight edge, layout guide and dovetail marker all work. I used 12 degrees.

I cut the sides first, then the bottom.

On this plane I cut the hole for the mouth into a solid piece. I will not do that again. I’ll make the sole in 2 pieces.

Lay out all pieces, at least roughly before cutting anything.

Once you have the sides laid out, cut as much as you can with the hack saw or bandsaw. A good metal blade in a sawzall should work as well. Then file away. Pay attention to your lines, and make sure you use files with a safe edge were required.

I made a angle piece of wood as a guide for the bandsaw. I cut as much as I could from all angles. The very outside cuts of the bottom I made with a hacksaw to keep accuracy.

Once the sides are cut, scribe the bottom. Cut them out as well. I kept the sides with me all the time to match up.

I constantly put thing together to test it. The was a design as you go project. Also keep the parts marked. You need to constantly remark because the marking wear off quick.

Next I marked out the side pattern and cut it on the bandsaw.

Then put it back together again.

I then cut the holes by placing the sides together. I had a problem with this and wound up moving the hole. When I cut the dovetails I wasn’t concerned about them being exact from side to side. That wasn’t an issue other than it moved the hole on one side when I lined it up. When you drill through, make sure you’ve got a good reference.

Then I filed the secondary bevels. This is to allow for the lock to work in all directions. Its the same angle as the primary bevel.

Next I made the peening rack.

And took to peening. I wound up using the largest peening hammer I had. It was a combination of the hammer and a large punch.

I also added a mouth extension. (more pics to come)

And of course I had to try it.

I apologize for the lack of pictures. More will come.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

21 comments so far

View Brandon's profile


4151 posts in 2456 days

#1 posted 04-03-2013 12:38 AM

Nice Don! I want to know how you went from that beat up looking sole to a nice infill plane. :-) When are you going to start marketing these things?

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Don W's profile

Don W

18049 posts in 2072 days

#2 posted 04-03-2013 12:41 AM

When are you going to start marketing these things?

Isn’t that what I’m doing? :-)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View ShaneA's profile (online now)


6499 posts in 2103 days

#3 posted 04-03-2013 12:49 AM

Coming along nicely. If you were to guestimate the number of hours you have in this one before it is completed, what do you think it would be? And, how overall pleased by the performance of this and the other infills you have made to date?

Thanks for sharing.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18049 posts in 2072 days

#4 posted 04-03-2013 01:07 AM

Shane, I’ve actually been trying to keep track of my hours somewhat. Its always just a guess, because it not always the only thing i’m working on, but I’ll try to remember to add it up and post back.

To me, the performance is incredible, but I may have a skewed opinion. You see the shavings above, but remember, the knob and tote are not fastened, the chipbreaker isn’t tuned yet, and the base hasn’t been polished or waxed, and it still seems to work smoother than anything other than the other infills. I am a bit amazed.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8193 posts in 1487 days

#5 posted 04-03-2013 01:09 AM

Looking good. I’d love to have an infill but I don’t think I can get that into the metal work.

I hear ya about the cyber advertising whether intentional or not. My wife put some of my furniture on facebook a while back and I ended up with more orders than I even wanted.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Dave's profile


11409 posts in 2344 days

#6 posted 04-03-2013 01:28 AM

Don I am so impressed.
Almost speechless.
A wonderful job Don.
Remember all us regular joe’s when you get famous.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View JayT's profile


4903 posts in 1716 days

#7 posted 04-03-2013 01:41 AM

Very cool, Don. After your experience peening, I now understand why there are so many dovetailed infills with brass sides. What is your opinion for the smooth functioning of the infills? I’m thinking bedding the iron on wood absorbs vibrations that could lead to chatter. Probably wrong on that, but iit makes some sort of sense. I’m sure the infill is stiffer and a fully bedded iron helps, as well.

-- Pay heed all who enter: Beware of "the Phog" Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

View ksSlim's profile


1205 posts in 2394 days

#8 posted 04-03-2013 03:27 AM

Now you’re going to shame the rest of us in at least trying to make an infill.
Nice job as always.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View waho6o9's profile


7246 posts in 2081 days

#9 posted 04-03-2013 03:48 AM

Impressive DonW, thanks for sharing.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13823 posts in 2123 days

#10 posted 04-03-2013 04:57 AM

Holy cow.

Why am I amazed that you’re making such beautiful infills?

I am, btw.

Incredible, stupendous, inspiring.

I’m out of words. Well Done!!!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Brit's profile


6811 posts in 2347 days

#11 posted 04-03-2013 12:00 PM

I’m not surprised at all really. Don has spent a lot of time playing around with all kinds of planes, tuning them to perfection. In the process he has learnt what is important and what is not. Add to that his obvious love for the tools and the fact that he is an excellent craftsman and the writing was on the wall really. Great infill planes from the get go.

I predict an early retirment is in your future Don. I do think that there is a gap in the market for affordable infills.

-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)

View Don W's profile

Don W

18049 posts in 2072 days

#12 posted 04-03-2013 12:06 PM

That’s a great compliment Andy, but early retirement is a bit at risk. I’ll be happy with on time retirement!! It will probably mean I need to stop spending money to make infills. :-)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Brit's profile


6811 posts in 2347 days

#13 posted 04-03-2013 12:09 PM


-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)

View Mauricio's profile


7115 posts in 2656 days

#14 posted 04-03-2013 07:58 PM

Wow, this blog series is woodworking gold!

So there is no welding involved? Just peening? You make it look easy.

So in hindsight, is there a mild steel you could have bought that would have been easier to work? Looking at Ripthorns blog it looks like the steel stock from the big box store is not the answer because it’s not very flat.

Andy, I would also say that there is a void in the market for affordable kits! Think about that one Don, sides DT’ed and ready to be peaned? Just saying…

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18049 posts in 2072 days

#15 posted 04-03-2013 08:38 PM

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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