|Project by JayT||posted 02-15-2017 04:40 AM||1558 views||9 times favorited||46 comments|
Peek-a-boo, I see through you.
This plane was made as part of the recent Surprise Tool Swap and sent to Mark Kornell.
The design process was many months long and started with thinking that I wanted to build an infill smoother. The biggest problem is that while I have started to warm up to infill designs, Konrad Sauer’s in particular, I still find the abundance of metal to give off a cold and heavy vibe. In response, I wanted to design a plane with the performance of an infill, but showing off more wood and exuding a lighter, warmer vibe.
The first challenge was to figure out how to stiffen the sides while accomplishing the main goals. An all wood design was possible (basically a Krenov type construction for the cheeks) but just wasn’t what I was after. At some point, I thought about using metal rods for rigidity and ran with the idea. Several design iterations later, I started thinking about how utilizing the interaction of the metal rods with a coffin shaped body would look and ended up with this Sketchup model:
The next part was actually building it. And boy, did I underestimate the challenges.
Knowing that there would be lots of ideas to work out on the fly, I first built a prototype out of cherry and using 1/4in aluminum rods, since they would be fairly easy to machine. Working on it allowed me to learn quite a bit about how to do the work better, and I started on the swap plane.
The body is laminated walnut with quarter sawn sycamore for the tote section. It is about the size of a #4, being 9in long (without the tote) and ~2-1/2in wide, but uses a #3 sized, 1-3/4 inch wide, iron. Sole is 1/8 O1 tool steel (still in the annealed state) and the rods are 1/4in stainless steel. The aluminum in the prototype, while easy to machine, just lacked the heft needed for a quality tool. The sole is epoxied onto the body, which should work fine as long as Mark doesn’t overheat it by planing at super speed. ;-)
I had originally planned to use a NOS Stanley iron set, but when testing the prototype, the arched cap iron was causing issues with chip clearance, so I took advantage of a Lee Valley free shipping period and ordered a couple O1 iron and chip breaker sets. The flat cap iron worked much better. The iron is bedded at 50 degrees (York pitch) for use in straight grained to lightly figured hardwoods.
Another part of the original plan was to use vintage #3 lever caps, as can be seen on the cherry prototype in pic 5. After getting most of the plane completed, I just wasn’t digging the look. That meant trying something else, so I made a screw cap out of some 3/8 O1 steel left over from my shooting plane builds. The screw is a 5/16 stainless steel hex bolt with a SS washer, nut and walnut epoxied and then turned on the lathe to a knob. The retaining screw goes down through a brass lined hole into a cross bolt that was sunk before gluing up the rear section. That should allow plenty of strength to withstand the pulling forces.
After shipping the walnut plane out, I decided to try a laminated screw cap on the cherry plane and epoxied 1/8 O1 steel with some jatoba, as can be seen in the last pic. There is still quite a bit of design work that can be done on the caps to make them look better, but these first ones seem to function just fine.
Final touch was to add the laser engraved medallions I’ve started putting on my work. Finish is Danish oil on the prototype and tote of the swap plane and Antique Oil on the walnut, to give a bit more sheen.
I learned a lot through the process of making these planes and plan to see if I can continue to evolve the design. Hopefully Mark will report back when he’s been able to use the plane for a while. There are lots of planes out there that can make see-through shavings, but now we have the see-through plane.
Thanks for looking and hope you enjoy.
-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson