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Thread: Making a wedge for a woodie

  1. #1
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    Making a wedge for a woodie

    Hi

    Okay, it's not a Mark Singer tutorial, but I hope it will be informative to those who might need to do this one day.

    I bought a reasonably priced panel-raising plane off the Bay. It's been modified in the past - tote and wedge replaced.

    Anyway, after honing the blade I tried it out on a piece of exotic Picea rubens OK, it's a red spruce 2x8 After a few strokes the mouth of the plane was blocked solid with chips. Grrrrrr...

    Long story short, the culprit was the wedge - it was too short and didn't have the right taper. Shavings had no chance of getting through.

    I cut out a little bit of mahogany from the scrap bin and set about to get the correct angles for my wedge. In the first photo you see a steel ruler held in place to get the angle for the top of the wedge. This was repeated for the bottom angle - where the plane iron sits. Trace a short pencil mark onto some paper near both ends of the ruler in each position (4 marks in all). See Pic
    2

    Cut along the lower line of the sheet of paper and glue it onto the side of your wedge stock with the pointy bit (intersection of the 2 lines) at one end. Trim off excess paper as in pic 3.

    Take the sharp plane of your choice and form your wedge by removing wood according to the glued on template. Make your wedge the same thickness all the way across. The iron on this plane is skewed. This is no big deal. In Pic 4 we have 2 steps in one shot. Use the bevel gauge to get the skew angle from the body of the plane and flip it over to mark the beveled long sides of the wedge. If your plane isn't skewed, just skip the last step.

    Continued below...
    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

  2. #2
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    Part 2

    After the sides are beveled you're ready for a trial fit with the blade (Pic 5). If the wedge sticks through the sole of the plane, trim it back so it rests about 1/8" above the cutting edge. If it's too short, plane the wedge some more checking for frequently for correct fit. If your plane is skewed like mine, take that bevel gauge again to mark the difference in length from right to left. If your template was good, the wedge should fit snugly into the 'ways' along their length.

    Once you've got everything fitted up, mark out the "U"-shaped cutout in the end of the wedge. Start with 2 tapered 'horns' on the outsides and mark the limit of the cutout. With a coping saw, cut the insides of the horns along the lines, beveling so their bottoms are wider than their tops. Make the cross- grain cut for bottom of the "U". Now it's time to make it easy for the shavings to get through. Smooth the sawcuts on the horns - I used a card scraper and a file, but you could use a pocket knife and sandpaper (Pic 6). Taper the last 1/4" of the horns so they will funnel the shavings into your "U". With a file or rasp bevel the bottom of the "U" to form a ~45* ramp to deflect the shavings up and away form your hand when planing. Smooth is the operative word here - nowhere for those shavings to catch and cause a backup in the system.

    Well, my wedge worked out pretty well I got nice long curly shavings scooting right out of the throat of my plane - thin ones and thick ones alike(Pic7).

    Nothing left to do but rub a little candlewax on those bevels around the inside of the cutout, trim the top of the wedge and relieve all the sharp edges of the wedge with a file(Pic8). I didn't apply any finish to mine. If you want to finish yours, do it before you hit it with the candlewax.

    I hope this is halfway easy to follow. Feel free to ask questions about the parts that aren't clear.
    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

  3. #3
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    Very nice layout and work, Ian. Nice and clear steps--Thanks!

    Take care, Mike
    Wenzloff & Sons Sawmakers

  4. #4
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    Ian, that is really neat, great job on getting you plane back working and the step by step is also great, thanks for spending the time to show us how to do this, I have a couple of wooden Japanese planes that are missing the caps, I'm sure (now!) that I could make one from wood

    Thanks!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the kind words, Mike and Stu. I realise that the subject matter is pretty obscure, but I wanted to add something to the neander project area. Making the wedge was my Sunday pm project (no NFL this week) and I have a new digicam to get used to - so I thought I'd combine all of the above into a "trial" tutorial.

    I hope to have some more interesting stuff in future ... and if it helps inspire others to contribute, I'll be very happy
    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

  6. #6
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    Ian,

    Great tutorial! More than just a wooden wedge. A slanted wooden wedge is what makes it hard to get a grasp on the complexity of the angles.

    Obscure subject? Thou i don't have any slanted wooden planes, compound angle cuts happen too often. You make it look simple. Thanks for sharing.

    rick
    "I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different." - Kurt Vonnegut

  7. #7
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    Ian - thanks for the tutorial. Sorry to be late with my comments but I just found your posting. It is a relevant subject for many people. I made a plane recently and this would have helped. In fact, I may go back and re-make the wedge to improve the fit and chip clearance.

    Thanks for taking the time to document this. I wish there was some place where tutorials were collected so that when we want to do something that's "unusual" we can go there to see what others have done before.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Mike - and Rick (missed seeing your kind message)

    I'm not doing a lot of work these days, but I'll be looking for opportunities to add tutorials. The neander forums need content to get the ball rolling, so I hope anyone doing handwork will consider getting the camera out and sharing with the group.

    Even things that might seem trivial can be interesting to others (as the wedge tutorial proves) and add to the knowledge base here at FW.

    The idea of archiving tutorials has been raised before by Mark Rios, so I'm sure the administration team is aware of it. I'm reluctant to make more demands on those guys, but perhaps if we had a good number of snappy tutorials it might become more of a priority
    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

  9. #9
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    Ian, is mahogany acceptable for this? I would have thought you would want something harder?

    Just a novice asking questions trying to learn.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Porter View Post
    Ian, is mahogany acceptable for this? I would have thought you would want something harder?

    Just a novice asking questions trying to learn.
    Interesting question, Travis. The wedge I replaced was walnut and obviously a replacement. I had maple and birch on hand to make a wedge with, but I went with mahogany for 2 reasons - easier to work with rasps and files, and it was a closer colour match with the plane stock. It'll match even better once the light gets at it and darkens it a bit.

    I thought about strength. Honduras Mahog is nearly as strong as red oak (linky) and less likely to split. In addition a wedge isn't something that takes a real pounding - little taps are all that are required.

    In fact, just about any tight grained hardwood would work fine for a wedge. It's not really a very demanding application.
    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

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