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Thread: Need Help with a Handmade Hand Plane

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Need Help with a Handmade Hand Plane

    Hi gang...I'd really value your input on this. I've got the bug to make a wooden handplane for a good wwing buddy even though I have no clue what I'm doing. Also have lots of questions about what type to make. I don't have a particular size or type in mind...maybe something in the #3 to #5 range but I'm wide open to ideas. I'd like it to be a good user, but I'm guessing he's likely to keep it more as a novelty. I'd like it to be as effortless to get thin shavings from as possible, but don't know much about the cause and effect end of that equation. Most planes are set around 45, but those LV low angle jack planes are awefully cool. What benefits does a low angle plane have?

    Any ideas, tips, websites, or input greatly appreciated. TIA!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    405
    Scott,

    Just made a wood plane a couple of weeks ago. I bought the blade/cap from Lee Valley (they've got a couple different sizes). I used Purple Heart (fairly hard) and it works pretty well. Heading out to eat, but I'll be glad to post some more detailed info when I get back. Just let me know.

    Regards,
    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Rochester
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    Thanks Lee...I'd love to see your plane if it's not too much trouble.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    405

    Purple Heart hand plane

    I started with two pieces of 2" x 2" x 24" purple heart. I originally wanted one wider piece of purple heart but they didn't have it and this worked just fine. I used the jointer and then the planer to clean up the sides of both pieces of wood. I then cut two 7/16" slabs off one of the blanks on the band saw and then cleaned up the cut side on the planer. Lay these three pieces out on your table and mark on top how things will ultimately go together. I used my cut-off sled on the table saw to cut the middle blank about midway at 45 degrees. I kept the blade at 90 degrees and placed a piece of wood cut at 45 degrees on the sled and the purple heart against it to make the cut. The piece which will be the slope the blade rest against needs some material hogged out where the cap screw will fit. I didn't have a router bit the correct size so I did this with a chisel. Just place the blade with chip breaker attached on the wood ramp and draw a pencil mark at the lowest point for the cap screw. Just make sure the iron/breaker is low enough to project 1/4" below the sole. This will make sure you don't try to cut too close to perfect and have to try to go back in after things are glued up. Mark the other piece of the middle section with about a 65 degree angle from the bottom to the top. This actual cut will be a slight curve instead of a straight cut. I cut this on my band saw. After this cut use a scraper and then sand paper to smooth the curve. Once all four of these pieces are ready place them together and put the iron/breaker in place. You don't want to let the iron show through at this point. Mark registration marks on each of the pieces while they are still in this orientation. I used yellow glue to glue these pieces together. Clamp pieces together and put them on waxed paper or plastic so it doesn't get glued to the table you work on. Make sure to remove all the squeeze out from the inside throat area before it hardens. After the glue is completely set, you'll need to identify the location for the 3/8" steel/brass rod that goes from one cheek to the other. Lay the plane on it's side. Measure 1 1/4" from the bottom and draw a line. Draw a line on the outside cheek identifying the angle of the back ramp. Once this line is in place, put the iron/breaker against the line, as if they were in the plane on the ramp. Place a second mark on the side of the breaker opposite the first line. Measure 3/8" away from the second line and again make a mark. This references the wedge thickness. Now draw a line 3/16" away from the last mark (half the thickness of the 3/8" rod) and extend it to the point where it crosses the horizontal line you drew 1 1/4" up from the sole. Mark this intersection with an awl or punch. Using a drill press, drill all the way through both plane cheeks at the marked point. Use the cut off piece from the plane ramp area to back up the drill bit. This will prevent tear-out. Carefully use a corner of this piece as you still need to make a wedge using this block. Make sure to test the drill bit you use on some similar scrap to make sure it's a good fit for the rod. Cut the rod just slightly shorter than the width of the plane. Knock the rod into the drilled hole. Next thing is to make a wedge from the left over piece cut out to form the plane ramp. My wedge ended up about 11/16" at one end down to about 1/4" at the other. I used a rasp and sand paper to round over the wedge and make it fit. Finally, put the iron/breaker combo and the wedge in place. Tap the wedge to set it. Remove it by tapping on the back of the plane with a dead blow mallet. Look at the face of the wedge that is up against the rod. Everything is fine if the mark from the rod is all the way across or shows a mark on the two edges. If the marking is not like this, (mark is in the middle or on one side like mine was initially) use either a rasp or sand paper to remove some material only where the mark is already present (which indicates it is higher than the other areas). Continue this process until the mark is all the way across or hitting on both sides which will keep the blade from rocking. Sharpen the blade and set the breaker about 1/16" away from the cutting edge. Put the iron/breaker in place with the wedge. I usually set the plane on a flat wooden surface and using finger pressure push the wedge in place. Push the plane across some wood to see if the blade is protruding. If not, lightly tap the iron and repeat until a nice shaving is obtained. If the blade is too far out, tap the back of the plane to bring the blade back. Make sure to tap the wedge forward to tighten after backing the blade out. Also, tap lightly on the side of the blade of one edge is out but the other is not. Takes a little while to get comfortable but they are fun to use. Let me know if you have any questions.

    Hope this helps.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails PH plane front.jpg   PH plane side.jpg   PH plane throat.jpg   PH blade and wedge.jpg   PH cutoffs and top.jpg  

    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  5. #5
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    Jan 2008
    Location
    Austin TX
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    Oops! additional information

    Couple of more steps. These go between steps 500 - 600 (just kidding, but I'm sure it feels like that). As long as the pieces were glued together where the blade did not show through the bottom, you'll need to either joint the sole with an extremely light setting or if the blade is really close put sand paper on a flat surface and remove material checking with the blade often. The goal is to have a tight mouth which supports the fibers on the finest shavings. If the blade is protruding but doesn't seem to have room for a shaving, you can use a file to remove a small amount of material from the bottom edge of the curved front center pieces. I cut a gentle arc from the front top edge to the back top edge, making sure I didn't cut so low as to get close to the 3/8" rod. The center piece of the plane should be about 1/16" wider than the plane iron. Length of the plane is up to you. I cut mine down to about 10" long and then used the band saw to round over the back end. Little easier on the hands. It really sounds harder than it was.

    These are more touch related than the metal planes.
    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up

    Terrific stuff Lee! Thanks alot for all the detail!
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Cedar Park, TX
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    To your original question about the benefits of the low angle planes from LV etc, they are generally bevel up planes which allow for adjustment of the final cutting angle by changing the bevel angle of the blade. A lower final cutting angle yields a smoother cut requiring less effort to push/pull the plane through the wood. A lower angle also makes trimming of end grain easier to accomplish. The lower cutting angle works fine under ideal conditions with straight grained woods and being able to always plane on the uphill direction to the grain. When you start getting into woods with wandering grain, though, the lower angle is more prone to tearing out the grain.

    The common 45 degree angle found on metal bench planes is a compromise between smoothness of cut and effective planing of most woods.

    The bevel up design is mostly a function of the additional strength of metal over wood. Even with a blade bevel angle of 20 degrees, the bed angleof the plane needs to be down in the 17 degreee range to get the benefits of a 37 degree or so low angle cut. And a 20 degree bevel angle on a blade is way too fragile. Without making the the plane very long behind the mouth (making blade depth adjustment nearly impossible) there is not sufficient wood to support the blade. Also, at those low angles, the force directed against the edge of the blade has greater tendency to retract the blade. Metal body bevel up low angle planes are bedded at 12 degrees and the blade is held in position by substantially more than a wooden wedge.
    Jerry

    http://www.sawdustersplace.com

    "If politics wasn't built on careful deception it wouldn't need its own word and techniques. It would just be called honesty, education, and leadership."
    Bob "Phydeaux" Stewart one day on Woodnet

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the great information Jerry...it's very helpful to me at this point.
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