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Single Iron Bench Plane Reproduction

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Project by Wav posted 06-15-2016 02:51 PM 785 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently took a little trip to the Jockey Lot and bought a few old hand planes. One of those planes was an Antique Wooden Plane. The price was extremely affordable and would have been hard to turn down, even considering the condition of the old plane. The Iron was extremely pitted and the wedge wasn’t even close to being original nor fitted well to the plane.
My thought was to restore the plane into a usable tool, besides I had always wanted one of those old wooden planes. Well, after close examination, I determined that the plane would not really make a good candidate for restoration considering the condition of the main body and the pits and warped state of the iron. It was then I decided to make a reproduction of the plane.
I decided to construct the plane out of some scrap pieces of Alder left over from an earlier project. The old plane was constructed from a single block of wood; but, I decided to laminate the 3/4 Alder pieces for this project. Also after seeing some other old wooden bench planes, I decided to make mine with a single iron rather than one with a double iron, or chip breaker (cap iron).
The Iron is made from a piece of 2” A-2 and was heat treated after cutting the bevels. The A-2 is a very suitable steel to use for an Iron as it fairly easy to work before hardening and holds an edge quite well after being tempered.
I also made a Mallot to use for adjusting the plane also using Alder. Using Alder for the Mallot may not have been the best choice, as it is a very light wood.
When considering the wedge, after several experiments, I found by back cutting the end at around a 50 degree angle it helped to direct the chips through the throat of the plane and was less likely to jam or allow buildup in the throat while using the plane.
I did set the rear handle a little farther back from the Iron to allow for easier adjustment. I plan to make another plane later which be shorter than the 22 inches of this bench plane, and probably will be mad from a much heavier and durable wood. I have a few pieces of 2 1/4” High Speed Steel lying around to use for the Irons, I think it may hold an edge better as I used to use it to cut knives in a wood molding operation in years past.
This was a very worthwhile and rewarding project and not that difficult for even a novice woodworker such as myself.

-- Maddog Creations





8 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

2657 posts in 2645 days


#1 posted 06-15-2016 08:22 PM

Very nice work, I really like the plane. How soft is the Alder? Any worries that the sole could wear easily?

What method did you use to heat treat the blade?

-- Allen, Colorado

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5764 posts in 947 days


#2 posted 06-15-2016 08:55 PM

Awesome stuff bud.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Wav's profile

Wav

44 posts in 718 days


#3 posted 06-15-2016 09:39 PM

bobasaurus, the Iron was heat treated in an industrial oven by a friend who is a machinist, he recommended that I use A-2 since the HSS I have is already tempered and would require more grinding to trim the top corners, whereas the A-2 could be machined before treating, I had originally thought to use a “cap iron” but after seeing other examples which had only single irons, I decided to go with a single iron.
As for the Alder, it is pretty soft, even more so than pine, I think. Basically, I used the alder because it was lying around the shop and I didn’t want to ruin a good board for an experiment. Most of the examples of these planes I have seen have been made of pine, but through experience I have come to know that the older heart pine is much more dense than the pine you can find these days. I have some antique heart pine in my storage building and will more than likely use it for future planes, both because it is denser and heavier. I’ll keep an eye out for wear with the alder, but I am pretty sure it will outlast me. The wedge is also made from alder and seems to work very well without any signs of compression along the contact surfaces with the body, and since I cut an angle on the business end, it does help to deflect the chips up and seems work as if it were a cap iron.
I did cheat a bit though, since the pieces are laminated together it isn’t a solid block so I didn’t have chisel out the entire throat by hand. I guess it’s not a total reproduction; but hey, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

-- Maddog Creations

View Wav's profile

Wav

44 posts in 718 days


#4 posted 06-15-2016 09:40 PM

TheFridge, thanks.

-- Maddog Creations

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5764 posts in 947 days


#5 posted 06-16-2016 06:04 AM

Qtr sawn beech is always a good option as well.

On chipbreakers. This video convinced me of their importance. Great site as well.

http://trestore.wkfinetools.com/planes/sUpCapIron/sUpCapIron-01.asp

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Wav's profile

Wav

44 posts in 718 days


#6 posted 06-16-2016 04:05 PM

The Fridge, Thanks. And I have nothing against chip breakers, but in this case I wanted to be as close to an original reproduction as possible while still having a functional tool. I have recently restored several old tools that belonged to some of my ancestors. One such tool was a Hand Brace which belonged to my Great Grandfather. As far as I could determine it was made around 1868 shortly after the Civil War. I had signs of extensive wear from the many years of use. The handles were in fair shape (no cracks or splits); but, the ferrule for the top handle was excessively worn and had worn a groove into the main shaft, and one of the jaws was missing. The Brace did not have the ratcheting feature so that was a plus for my restoration.
I was able to drill out the hole in the spindle and insert a custom sleeve to prevent wobble and wear. Since I had one jaw and finding a replacement seemed an impossible task, (believe me, I went to every jockey lot and yard sale I could for months to find another brace to rob of its parts) so a friend of mine helped me to custom machine a new set of jaws as close to the original as possible. With a bit of work and polishing the old rusty steel and wooden parts, I was able to give new life to a tool my Great Grandfather used to survive during Reconstruction.
If I were to sell the tool, well I bet I could get a whole $15.00 for it now, even though it works perfectly and has been around for well over 100 years. I found so many old braces in much better shape it was unbelievable. People were selling these things for near nothing, none were over $20.00. I did find one that was close and it was even in worse shape. The wooden handles were missing, the top handle had been replaced with a chunk of lead and the ratchet was frozen solid. The tool looked as if it had been stored in a mud hole the last 50 years. I gave a dollar for it just in the hope that the jaws would work on mine. They didn’t and I even threw the thing in the scrap pile several times. I just couldn’t bear to go through with it and ended up restoring it as well with new dogwood handles. I have since restored others, most of which were in my family for generations.
I just have a soft spot for old tools and the craftsmanship they represent. Sorry if I went a little off subject, and was too wordy.

-- Maddog Creations

View woodcox's profile

woodcox

1566 posts in 1472 days


#7 posted 06-17-2016 02:34 AM

Nice work wav. I’m sure it sings.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View Wav's profile

Wav

44 posts in 718 days


#8 posted 06-17-2016 03:58 AM

Thanks woodcox.

-- Maddog Creations

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