How I make small mitre planes, part 5: Gutters

For this part, you need one sole and one shell.

I call it a gutter for lack of a better term, it is just thinning the sole for several reasons:

  • It makes the sole less “heavy” visually. To my eye, a 1/4″ sole looks too thick for this size plane but I want the thickness to get a longer ramp. Somewhere on the fat side of 5/32″ looks right to me.
  • It gives me sight lines when I’m cutting the ramp and tails.
  • The shell self aligns.
  • The joint will be light tight (I got this idea from Karl Holtey’s blog).

This step is optional.

  • I scribe a line to the original inside dimensions, not what the shell actually is. Unless something happened (they were both supposed to be 1″, the picture tells the story) . This way, I don’t worry about the ‘waviness” of the shell sides. I’ll hand tune it later.
  • A handy tool for scribing the layout lines is a pin marking gauge. I modified a junk one with a 1/16″ tungsten electrode.
  • I set the shell on and align it to the marks, then scribe the inside of front and back. No measuring so I don’t care that I made the shell short in the previous step.
  • I write the width on the sole so I don’t forget when milling. I also write the gutter width so I can do quick checks while milling.
  • Mill away.
  • I tune the fit using files with safe edges. Or should anyway to avoid carving grooves that are a pain to remove later.
  • The sides should fit tight, the ends are not critical as they will covered or hard to see
  • I could just braze up the plane and it would be fully functional (as a block plane), so I did that for one of the planes. Lots more warping than I anticipated and silver everywhere. More experimentation needed.
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