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Peek-a-boo Smoother

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Project by JayT posted 02-15-2017 04:40 AM 2421 views 11 times favorited 47 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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 feel cold and heavy. 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





47 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8036 posts in 2416 days


#1 posted 02-15-2017 04:57 AM

Your hard work paid off JayT as that is one fine hand plane. Good show!

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

3355 posts in 3023 days


#2 posted 02-15-2017 04:59 AM

That’s really amazing, Jay. It reminds me of a “mid century modern” type of design, as they would say on antiques roadshow. Never seen a plane with semi-open cheeks before, I like it. Now I kind of want to see one where the rods come out the front, bend in a U, then continue around to make the other side.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View OrvsR4me's profile

OrvsR4me

27 posts in 675 days


#3 posted 02-15-2017 05:10 AM

That may be one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Does it work as well as it looks? Absolutely fabulous. The walnut one…wow.

Any chance you’d share your sketchup drawing? Or if you are selling the planes, let me (us) know.

-- Small minds talk about people. Average minds talk about events. Great minds talk about ideas.

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

2680 posts in 578 days


#4 posted 02-15-2017 05:29 AM

Amazing buddy. Seriously awesome. In your experience do you think brass rods would work as well as the stainless?

-- http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

2906 posts in 1828 days


#5 posted 02-15-2017 05:55 AM

Excellent creativity and execution. Love the quarter sawn sycamore. I am going to look at the front a bit more to figure out how I feel about it.

Thanks for sharing a new design.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2370 days


#6 posted 02-15-2017 06:03 AM

I will certainly report on how it works. And wax the sole regularly to avoid overheating :-)

I would think that brass rods might be too soft. The entire rigidity of the plane is carried by those rods, really don’t want them to flex or.bend.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View PoleVault's profile

PoleVault

42 posts in 1162 days


#7 posted 02-15-2017 06:06 AM

A fantastic idea. Well planned and well executed. Sometimes,I can’t believe the creativity and skill that exists on this forum. This inspires me to get more creative and daring on my next project… when I figure out what that will be, that is…

View CFrye's profile (online now)

CFrye

9854 posts in 1679 days


#8 posted 02-15-2017 09:56 AM

Stunning, JayT, the concept, design, wood and metal choices, and execution! Wow!!

-- God bless, Candy

View Don W's profile

Don W

18523 posts in 2407 days


#9 posted 02-15-2017 11:52 AM

That’s pretty cool!

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View JayT's profile

JayT

5455 posts in 2050 days


#10 posted 02-15-2017 12:39 PM

Thanks for the positive comments.


Now I kind of want to see one where the rods come out the front, bend in a U, then continue around to make the other side.

- bobasaurus

Interesting idea. I’d be willing to try it if I could figure out a way to accurately bend the rods on plane in a precise arc. It would look like the hand plane version of a Cord


That may be one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Does it work as well as it looks? Absolutely fabulous. The walnut one…wow.

Any chance you d share your sketchup drawing? Or if you are selling the planes, let me (us) know.

- OrvsR4me

I didn’t have much time to test before shipping, but think it should work well. We’ll see what Mark has to say after using for a bit.

Honestly, I’ve already thought about trying to see what it would take to manufacture and sell on a very limited basis. Need to gather quite a bit more information before making that decision.

The Sketchup is actually rather crude and won’t show you anything you can’t determine from the pics—it was done to work on look and proportions and doesn’t have any of the internals or construction help.

Seriously awesome. In your experience do you think brass rods would work as well as the stainless?

- ki7hy

I thought about brass, but agree with Mark that it may be too soft. I know there is hardened brass out there, but have no experience with it. I think phospor bronze may have some good potential, however, for a similar look to brass, but with the necessary rigidity.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View jeffswildwood's profile

jeffswildwood

2574 posts in 1816 days


#11 posted 02-15-2017 12:51 PM

That is one very nice plane. The design is futuristic looking. Great job!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8036 posts in 2416 days


#12 posted 02-15-2017 12:58 PM

“Interesting idea. I’d be willing to try it if I could figure out a way to accurately bend the rods on plane in a precise arc. It would look like the hand plane version of a Cord”

Easy Peasy JayT:

Google metal rod benders and there’s a bunch of different types.

Harbor Freight sells one type at a cost effective rate:

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4515 posts in 978 days


#13 posted 02-15-2017 01:32 PM

This is truly remarkable Jay and I mean that as sincerely as possible. Dave was so impressed with your progress pics that I was expecting something awesome but this just blew me away! The execution itself is quite a feat. Getting the intersections where the rods exit the wood smooth and “intentional” looking must have been quite a chore in and of itself. But beyond even that, just the concept and the design indicate the level of craftsmanship.

Bravo Jay!

And I can’t believe it hasn’t been pointed out yet but, this screams Bridge City! :-))

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View JayT's profile

JayT

5455 posts in 2050 days


#14 posted 02-15-2017 01:45 PM


And I can t believe it hasn t been pointed out yet but, this screams Bridge City! :-))

- HokieKen

Don’t take this the wrong way, but if so, then I failed in the design concept. Bridge City has great steam-punk-esque designs and flawless execution, but their planes, being all metal, come off very cold—which is exactly what I was trying to avoid. Being compared to them is high praise, but I’m not enamored with their style.

wahoo, I don’t think there is any way I could execute the compound curves necessary with one of those and end up with three sections exactly the same and at a very precise width. Even the tiniest difference could put torque on the body and throw it out of square. One body glue up was scrapped because of a slight twist that I was afraid would cause issues. If it was going to be done, it would have to be outsourced to a company that had computer controlled bending equipment. Maybe I’m making more of the issue than it would be in reality.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View mkellar's profile

mkellar

2 posts in 2043 days


#15 posted 02-15-2017 01:51 PM

very nice!

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