Thursday, March 8, 2012

Another Preview

Sometimes I think I'm like a dog chasing cars.  I look at tools and start thinking of how I would make it.  Consequently, I get side tracked often, but the results are usually pretty cool.  My latest detour has been infill planes because, honestly, it would be a shame to have the resources I have, and not give it a go.  What I have so far is a half finished shoulder plane out of mild steel.  I see no need, given what I have, to use any sort of tool steel for the body (especially on a first attempt).  I know a lot of modern makers like to use it, but I wonder about the choice.  Hopefully some day I'll find the time to experiment and see for myself what the pros and cons are to these choices. 
Most of the metal work is done, the mouth probably needs a bit more work, but I won't know until I get a blade worked up.  Below are some pictures from the peening process.  That part taught me that I need to make another hammer, something similar to a filecutter's hammer.  I was using a 2 lb cross peen hammer and a ball nosed punch, but I was choked way up on the handle, gripping it right under the head with fore finger and thumb.  Oh well, a project for another day, I shouldn't get detoured when I'm already on a detour . . .

My other side-track, though this one is strictly and after-hours project, is an adjustable match plane by Geo Burnham Jr.  This was a cheap antique store plane -no blade, no wedge, no handle, one screw arm broken and the other badly warped.  I grabbed this guy because of the challenges that will come with it, and I don't feel that I'm compromising too much historical integrity on a plane that is so busted up.

It was a nice plane once, the turnings are all well done (the first thing I did was clean up the nuts and get some oil on them because I love how polished boxwood can look).  The most rewarding part so far was cleaning up the jam nuts and seeing that they were individually marked "No 1 and No 2" in pencil.
I am sitting on a large pile of boxwood, thanks to my uncle who had some growing on his farm in Virginia, but I'd rather try to rehab the originals screw arms than replace them, glutton for punishment . . .  I'll have to email that magician of hydro-manipulation Ed Wright and see what can be done for the bent arm.
This will definitely be the most challenging plane restoration I have done, but the reward will be a finished plane which will then tempt me to make its partner. 
I promise the next post will be nothing but saws.  Nothing but.