|Project by BillG||posted 10-22-2014 06:24 PM||1676 views||9 times favorited||13 comments|
Over the last few years, I have become more interested in improving my skill at using hand tools. I like the way good planes work and like the wooden ones a lot. I decided to start out by making a less complicated rabbet (rebate) plane. I had a nice piece of dense mahogany that would do for my design.
The rabbet plane is one tool that is a specific handed plane. As a lefty, I always had problems using the typical right handed versions. I will admit that the whale design was totally unintentional. However, as the refinement of fit to my hand progressed, it ended looking like a whale. The cutting iron came from an old 5/8” square edged chisel that I had. I revived the chisel by cleaning and sharpening it and removing the handle. As on many chisels, the tang on this one was long, and tapered.
The plane is about 1 1/4” wide by 10” long and 3 1/2” high. The file has a taper to the blade as does the wedge. Fitting both accurately meant measuring and marking them as the were held together. This was a hand fitting process with cuts made by my tenon saw, a chisel and a router plane. Some of the cuts were compound angles. I fitted two fences to the plane, one to set width of cut and one to establish the depth of cut. The fences adjust from 0” to a little over 1/2”. Purist will scoff at my use of torx screws, but they are better screws and these GRK brand have a nice washer face built into the screw. GRK makes the best screws.
After fine tuning the fit of the parts and the fit to my hand, I was ready to finish the plane. I fired up my MAP gas plumbing torch and heated the tang red hot and forged it into a coil. I wrapped a wet paper towel around the blade to lee it from over heating and removing the the temper and hardening. The forging removed the point and gave me spiral to strike to adjust the plane iron.
The finish is shellac. I brushed on three coats of amber shellac using about a 1 lb. cut and when dry, I rubbed it out with an old 320 grit Abranet sanding pad. The final coat of shellac was padded on.
The pictures show several views of the plane, one showing how the chip curls out of the plane and another that shows the nice rabbet it created. The plane is my first effort in plane building and while it came out quite well, if I was to do it over, there are a couple of things I would do a bit differently. First, I would make the bottom fence twice as thick for better registration on the piece to be planed. My skill at keeping it square to the piece being planed needs to improve. Second, I would have made the wedge a bit longer. All things considered though the plane does work well and ultimately that is what is most important.
-- Bill G - West Springfield, MA