ZK #2

I built this #2 sized plane back in 2003. I’d been wanting to buy a Stanley #2 but thought the prices were just too high (especially when you could get a LN #2 for a similar price). Veritas had recently introduced their line of bench planes and I thought the “frog through the sole” concept was pretty cool. And I had a busted #3. So I decided to scavenge the #3 to make a verirock #2.

.                    The tote that didn’t work out –>
In the end, I only used three parts from the #3: The lever cap and the mouth adjust tab & screw. I think the lever cap was from a transitional as it had the “wrinkled” casting; I filed it smooth and milled down the sides to fit a smaller blade. The only other bought parts are the frog screws & nuts.
It has a 50º frog; I did this for hand clearance (I didn’t know at the time I like that angle better than 45º anyway).
The blade I cut out of 1/8″ O-1. I copied an existing blade, fully anticipating I’d use a cap iron and depth adjuster. That didn’t work out as I could not figure out a way to make one that wouldn’t mash my fingers. Ditto a lateral adjuster. It turns out that smacking that massive chunk of steel that is the frog with a dead blow hammer retracts the blade quite nicely (didn’t figure that out until some years later).
The body is welded from 1/8″ steel with other bits silver brazed in.
This is a very heavy little plane, it weighs as much as my Stanley #4.

The tote (rear handle) is interesting: Stanley totes break (I have a couple, you can see on in an above photo) so I made a laminated one to get around the weak cross grain. Plus, I was able to lay in the rod tunnel without drilling (which is nice because that isn’t a fun job). I took two pieces of oak (grain horizontal) and sandwiched two pieces of walnut (grain vertical). The walnut pieces have a gap between them that forms the tunnel. I then drilled the top and bottom counter bores. By using a chucked rod poked into the tunnel, it was easy to align the tote in the vise for drilling the top counter bore. To further allow for misalignments, the rod pivots at its base. The base is brazed butt joint. The only thing that keeps the tote from rotating is the angled rod but that is enough, it doesn’t.

The frog is massive, just huge. The blade bed is ¼” plate that extends through the sole. It is brazed to a chunk of steel I cut from a 2″ rod. Two ¼x20 cap screws clamp it to the frog base, which was milled from ¾” plate. The underside of the base is slotted for two captive nuts, the top has a wide slot for the frog (to keep it square, it can’t pivot). The base is brazed to the shell. A Stanley mouth adjuster is fitted, not really necessary and it is more than tight to get a screw driver in there to adjust it. The frog is unfinished; the original plan was to have a lateral lever and depth adjuster but there just isn’t room (maybe there is but I haven’t figured it out). What I’d like to do is put a ogee (or tome stone) on the top but haven’t. Here is a photo of the sole looking at the huge hole with the blade and blade bed poking through. The bed is flush with the sole, which is nice when planing some stuff, but was a bit of a pain to fab (I don’t remember why). I’m not fond of how high the frog is, so I got rid of the base when I designed the frog on my infill smoother (nuts brazed to the sole, which becomes the frog base).

I eventually realized that cap irons don’t do squat so it is good I didn’t waste any effort on that. But that means there isn’t anything for the lever cap to lever against (because of the blade slot). To bridge that gap, I brazed a nickel to metal strip. The strip fits in the blade slot, rests against the cap screw and places the nickel in just right place to act as a washer. It is pretty gimmicky but in practice it works well and you can only see the nickel.

Performance wise, I don’t think there is much room for improvement. It doesn’t chatter on anything. Minimal tear out. I do wish I had the depth adjuster and lateral.

Here are some action shots on a chunk of walnut. The shavings are more like fluff or angel hair than wood shavings.

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4 Responses to ZK #2

  1. Martin Mckenna says:

    I have just read your details on the number two smoother build, and must say its a great job, do you have any drawings especially on the way you built the tote?

    • Zander K says:

      Thanks! I just took a look for drawings and can’t find any, I’m guessing I scribbled each part as I went along.
      I know I didn’t do any drawings for the tote, the one that is one the plane is the second attempt. Ergonomically, it isn’t so good but the construction method is nice as it avoids the weak spot where Stanley type totes typically break. It is a three layer sandwich, the outer layers have horizontal grain and the center has vertical grain. The center is two pieces, split so I didn’t have to drill for the hold down rod. After glue up, I drilled the end counter sinks.
      As far as shape, it has evolved – I started with the Stanley shape and modified it to fit my hand. Lee Valley has plans on their web site, I think under the router bits section as they sell a router bit especially for making totes (not my cup of tea as I like to use rasps to shape them).

      • Martin Mckenna says:

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. I’ll have a go at the tote make up but using oak with the grain I as you mentioned, the reason I’m only using oak is that is all I have in stock as off cuts, so for the initial trial tote that will do.
        The method of attaching the tote to the base is a very good idea, can I suggest you patent it and offer it to Stanley?

      • Zander K says:

        Using any wood should work, the different grain directions is the key, I used the oak and walnut because they were in the left over bin(s).
        The rod idea (I copied it from somewhere) is a lot of work to manufacture so I don’t think it is suitable to low cost mass production. And, it is really easy to just bend the bottom of the rod to adjust the angle (as I learned later).

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