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Making blades for wooden molding planes.

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Forum topic by docholladay posted 04-04-2010 02:02 PM 11610 views 2 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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docholladay

1287 posts in 2525 days


04-04-2010 02:02 PM

I scored a box with a whole bunch of wooden molding plane bodies that are missing the cutting irons. You can see some pics of the planes here http://lumberjocks.com/projects/30346. I want to try my hand at making some new irons and wedges for some these planes. Do any of you have any experience with this sort of thing? I am looking for information on the following:

1) Information on shaping & hardening the steel to maked the irons. Web sites for reference sources would be welcome also.
2) Information on fitting the wedges to these types of planes.
3) Sources to purchase tool steel blanks from which to make the irons.

Any hints and tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Doc

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc


12 replies so far

View barryvabeach's profile

barryvabeach

159 posts in 2510 days


#1 posted 04-04-2010 02:26 PM

Doc, congratulations. I suggest Mike Dunbar’s book Restoring, Tuning & Using Classic Woodworking Tools, though you might want to go to library, a check on Amazon showed the current price for a new copy was $110, and ebay showed used versions going for 40, While not 100% on what you want, I suggest you buy the Todd Herrli DVD on Classic Planemaking http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2nwp6/planes/hollow.html while it focuses on Hollows and rounds, the concepts are similar, and he even goes into heat treating, and his demo on sharpening is worth the price of the dvd. For sources to purchase the blanks, the cheapest I know of is victornet when they are having a special – I just checked and they didn’t have any special on 1/8 which is the most common thickness of blank – you might check msc or online metals. You are looking for o-1 flat ground, again 1/8 is a common thickness, but you can vary a little either way. You will need a rigid frame hacksaw to do the cutting, and you should buy the best blades you can and a couple of good aggressive files. For heat treating advice, I like Ron Hock http://www.hocktools.com/diyht.htm though there are plenty of other sources. When you buy the O1, you might also pickup some layout fluid, though you can get buy with a sharpie. Hints are to lift the hacksaw on the return stroke, the blade lasts much longer. I found the heat treating went quite well by loosely stacking some firebricks into a sort of cave to concentrate the heat, though I also had success before that in using just the open MAPP flame. Good luck.

View newplane's profile

newplane

159 posts in 3544 days


#2 posted 04-04-2010 02:52 PM

Doc, Lie-Nielsen has iron blanks that you shape then temper yourself; this might be the most economical way to get irons for your planes.

http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?cat=548

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

555 posts in 2748 days


#3 posted 04-04-2010 07:37 PM

Doc,

Sometime, soon I hope, we’ll have a video up on heat treating. Part of it has been filmed but there’s more to do.

I did cover much of what you’re asking in the two DVDs we have out. There’s just a lot involved and it’s difficult to try to cover it in a web article or even series of posts. I would be glad to help with specific questions. The DVDs are available from Lie-Nielsen or from us.

Larry Williams

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17674 posts in 3142 days


#4 posted 04-05-2010 04:14 AM

Might watch ebay for plane irons. I just bought 19 of them for $15. Good tool steel, easy to anneal, shape and reharden. I want to try making some planes one of these days.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View docholladay's profile

docholladay

1287 posts in 2525 days


#5 posted 04-05-2010 04:29 AM

Maybe I shoud send you half of these planes and you should send me half of your blades. Between the two of us, we should come out about right.

Thanks for the tip. How did you search for them. Did you just search for plane blade/irons?

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17674 posts in 3142 days


#6 posted 04-05-2010 04:32 AM

I just happened to be browsing tools and spotted them. I’m sure if you searched plane blades and irons something will show up.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View ShannonRogers's profile

ShannonRogers

540 posts in 3254 days


#7 posted 04-05-2010 05:08 PM

Larry said it above and he is too humble to boast about it, but his video on making molding planes produced by Lie Nielsen is excellent. This focuses on heat treating, shaping, and honing. If you start with the iron blanks that Lie Nielsen makes you will have a great head start with the highest quality steel. Good luck!

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at www.renaissancewoodworker.com

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2582 days


#8 posted 04-05-2010 05:37 PM

as Larry Williams said those DVD from Clark & Williams
sell both on there own site and thrugh Lie-Nielsen
is some of the best I have seen about molding and
how to make molding-planes incl. making blades for them

Dennis

View Mike Talbot's profile

Mike Talbot

22 posts in 2654 days


#9 posted 04-05-2010 06:19 PM

Seek out a local Blacksmith, they can help with the hardining and tempering of the blades.

View docholladay's profile

docholladay

1287 posts in 2525 days


#10 posted 04-06-2010 05:00 AM

Thank you all for the great feedback. I will get the DVD and get me some irons from Lie-Nielsen and start playing and see what we can come up with. I’ll post pics when I get some of these working.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

555 posts in 2748 days


#11 posted 04-06-2010 05:33 AM

Doc,

While those irons will likely work, they may not be the best approach. It depends on when your planes were made. Beginning somewhere in the early 19th Century they started using thicker irons and the Lie-Nielsen irons are of the earlier thinner style. After you maintain some molding plane irons for a while, you’ll probably come to realize thicker irons aren’t better. I believe the thicker irons were for the convince of the plane makers. Thicker irons require less critical bedding and planes intended for thicker irons have bigger mouth openings making the necessary work through the mouth a lot easier and less demanding. Still, if your planes are later planes, it might be better to find some old thicker irons. It won’t be an easy search but you may find something useful. If your planes originally had the 1/8” thick irons, the Lie-Nielsen irons are good but don’t ignore tang width when considering which irons to use.

If you’re not sure of the age of your planes post some photos and the makers’ names that you’ll likely find stamped in the upper part of the toe of the planes.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3429 days


#12 posted 04-07-2010 02:09 AM

Check out Phil Edwards here on LJ. He makes his own plane irons and tempers them. On his website he tells how.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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