|Project by Div||posted 09-07-2010 08:40 PM||1887 views||0 times favorited||16 comments|
A while back a good friend came by the shop while I was busy flattening a large slab of Pine with a #5 jack plane. “Don’t you have a scrub plane? “He asked. “Nope”, I said as I worked away at a rather severe bump.
Time went by and recently I visited my brother in spirit who also happens to be a serious tool collector amongst many other things. I hardly had a chance to light my pipe before he asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hands.
“A gift for you”. In my hands was a wooden scrub plane! Now I had coveted metal Stanley scrub planes before but a wooden plane to me is rather special. To make it even more special, the one he gave me is a one off, made by some craftsman who knows when. Call me romantic but there is only one like it in the whole wide world! What can a plane like this tell if it could speak?
I spent some time with the plane today. Upon truing the sole I discovered that the plane body is made out of a solid block of Kiaat. Also known as Mukwa or brown African Padauk, it is a fairly hard timber with good dimensional stability. Kiaat also contains natural oils like Teak, so it is a good choice for a plane body. The oils help to make it decay resistant, one of the reasons why it is the timber of choice for making the dug out canoes or makoros used in the Okovango delta.I wanted to retain the patina that only old wood can have, so I just scraped the sides a little to take off some paint drops. Why is it that old planes are so often full of paint stains? I gave the wooden parts some time with steel wool before giving it a coat of Danish oil. The letters DJO is stamped onto the body, no doubt the craftsman’s initials. I wonder what it stands for. Well, DJO knew something about plane making; there is even a strike button. The mouth of the plane might be a little to large but the plane was built with an insert. I will replace that soon to tighten up the mouth a bit.
I’m no expert but the blade looks forged to me and it is a full 4mm thick. They don’t make them like this anymore! It needed some work so I flattened the back first. I only got as far as 800 before curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to try the plane!
There was a small nick in the blade so I had to grind that curved bevel some. Not as easy as a straight blade but I got a very nice edge by swinging the blade through an arc as I grind. Then to the stone and the strop.
Finally the test drive, the reason for all the work above – to see those shavings curl, to hear the sound of wood being planed with a sharp plane. Shhhht, shhhht!
Thank you brother Jan!
-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."