Two new rosewood "shorebird" infill hand planes

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Project by JuanVergara posted 11-11-2014 05:46 PM 2222 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Two new rosewood "shorebird" infill hand planes
Two new rosewood "shorebird" infill hand planes No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
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Hey, fellow Lumberjocks:

I finished these babies – the one on the left more or less equivalent in size to a Stanley No. 3, the other to a No. 4 – some months back in preparing for the Woodworking in America show in Winston-Salem.

The infill is cocobolo rosewood, cut from a big chunk that gathered dust in my shop for five years until I was ready to work it. The irons are A-2 tool steel, pitched at 50 degrees on the No. 3 and 45 degrees on the No. 4. The finish is a French polish on top of hand-rubbed oil.

As an experiment, I made the irons for these planes myself as I wanted to play with shape and size, and had them professionally heat treated. Ron Hock has made my irons in the past, and what I really learned in making these irons is that metallurgy is better left to someone who knows what he’s doing. Ron Hock does. I don’t.

These are the newest iterations of my “shorebird” infills, so called because, as I explained in my last post, the little uptick on the crown makes it look like the head and bill of a shorebird.

There’s nothing like cocobolo, don’t you think? But it can break your heart. I spent half of yesterday stressing out about the other half of my big chunk, trying to figure out how best to cut it for a No. 3 I’m making for a client. It’s gorgeous wood, to be sure, and it bothered me no end when I realized that if I was to end up with the grain pattern I wanted, I’d lose a lot of wood to waste.

Oh, well. The stuff grows on trees, right?

-- Juan Vergara, California,

9 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


2738 posts in 2396 days

#1 posted 11-11-2014 06:17 PM

Beautiful craftsmanship, outstanding set of planes. I’m curious about the shape of the iron, does that top double thick section have a purpose? I like the self-sufficientcy of doing both the metal & wood work, been tempted to try making some irons myself.
Thanks for showing, wish I was that good on details.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View JuanVergara's profile


25 posts in 1654 days

#2 posted 11-11-2014 07:44 PM

The thingies atop the irons are snecks, which you tap with a brass hammer to adjust the depth of cut of the blade.

-- Juan Vergara, California,

View mjn's profile


10 posts in 3297 days

#3 posted 11-11-2014 10:23 PM

those snecks look like they would keep the irons from falling on the floor, if one forgets to keep a hand under the sole when adjusting the blade.

View bobasaurus's profile


3544 posts in 3389 days

#4 posted 11-12-2014 01:08 AM

Good lord those are beautiful planes, up there with the best of any infill planes I’ve seen. What are the mouth openings set to? Did you make the brass levercaps as well? I like the adjuster pieces on top of the blades. Are there chipbreakers on the blades?

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View JuanVergara's profile


25 posts in 1654 days

#5 posted 11-12-2014 04:19 AM

MJN – You’re right. Safety first in the shop, right?

Allen – Thanks for the kind words.

I haven’t measured the mouth openings, but I can tell you they’re pretty narrow, and these planes spit out shavings down to and below one thou without much trouble, as you can see here:

The wood is mesquite, given to me by a client who asked me to make a No. 5 for him.

-- Juan Vergara, California,

View JuanVergara's profile


25 posts in 1654 days

#6 posted 11-12-2014 04:45 AM

Allen – I didn’t answer all of your questions.

I made everything on these particular planes, including the brass lever caps and screws, plus the irons, though as I noted earlier, the main lesson I took away from the experiment is that some things are better left to experts – in this case, Ron Hock.

There are no chip breakers. The irons are a quarter inch thick, so they don’t need the stability, such as it might be, afforded by chip breakers, and in any case, in any discussion as to the merits of chip breakers, I’d vote no – at least on my own planes.

-- Juan Vergara, California,

View ShaneA's profile


7054 posts in 2803 days

#7 posted 11-12-2014 04:59 AM

Absolutely beautiful.

View michelletwo's profile


2767 posts in 3221 days

#8 posted 11-12-2014 10:16 AM

splendid work & I’m glad for the 2nd picture..a little less stuff around it, so the view is less obstructed. the handle is a whopper & gorgeous. Beautiful.

View Schwieb's profile


1872 posts in 3666 days

#9 posted 11-14-2014 11:09 AM

Congratulations, these are really beautiful tools.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

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