Attack of the clones

Subtitle: I makes me a side bead plane
A side bead is a profile I like, by itself or as the starter for a more complex profile. Currently, I make them with a scratch stock but just bought a couple of old side bead planes to check them out. One a nice worker, the other a bit clapped out. As I was cleaning up them up, I decided the 1/4″ over loved one looked better than it was going to work (ie I liked looking at it more than working on it) so I decided to clone it. Yep, just make a quickie knockoff.

boxingboxing2Here we have the old plane and a chunk of riven white oak (I have a pile of these waiting (three years now) to be turned into moulding planes, this is #1. I’m using Jatoba for the boxing. Not ideal I think – it is hard but wants to split along the grain lines. I’ve glued it in with the grain vertical but with a bit of a bias. 1/8″ wide kerf, that gives me room on each side to correct mistakes.

I cut the depth stop on the mill. Ditto the profile  – I used a 1/4″ round bit. I have no idea how they did this in the good ole days.

cutting mouthTo cut the ramp/mouth, I set two bevel squares to the bed and wedge angles (taken from the original, sorta – I jacked up the bed angle), clamped on a guide and started sawing. You can see, on the original, that it was overcut at the top so I did the same and cut a bit above the step, which ensures a decent amount of side wall to guide chopping the mortise.

I’m out of photos so I’ll do my best to describe the next steps.
I got most of the wood out of the mortise with chisels (down to the saw lines), then stuck it on the mill and routed down to [almost] depth (just played etch-a-sketch being careful not to bump into the walls). That gave me a nice flat bottom to use as a reference.

To extend the mortise up through the top, you gotta go in from the top, which means lining up two holes. Whatever order you do the mortises in, one end is blind so I don’t know if there is a preferred order. Me, I messed around – I drilled (in the drill press)(you can see the drill marks in the original), I poked, I said screw it and chucked it back into the mill. I have an extra extra long 1/4″ end mill and used that (and oh my gawd did it howl). As I just eyeballed the set up, I left room front and rear for fine tuning. Now I have two flat references to guide chisels and files (no small enough floats).  Then it was just the “small” matter of making the inside wall one big flat plane and making the two mortises one straight line. Easier than I had expected.

depth gaugeTo square up the sides of the mortise, I used a itty bitty depth gauge and skew chisels. The skews are nice because you get to rest a lot of the blade on known square parts of the wall and slice (vs chop).

To finish up the body, I chopped the back at an angle because I’m real tired of having to look like Micheal Jackson (he of the one gloved hand) when using moulding planes. That squared off butt just digs a big hole in my hand. Then some quickie bevels, profiles, sand off the sweat marks (which turn black on white oak) and into the oil.

The wedge was a trace and cut job.

The iron, well, a bit of O1 welded to mild steel stem off cut (didn’t even file off the bandsaw marks). Not tapered, I have a bias against tapered irons. Shaping it is a head scratcher and I’m still wrapping my head around the geometries. It works well enough in the unhardened state that I think I got it but I’ve still to heat treat and sharpen. More on that latter.

References: If you would like to know how people who know what they are doing do it:
I highly recommend Musings from Big Pink, M.S. Bickford’s blog. Here are some selected entries: Boxing, Drilling the mortise, Making a rabbit plane.
Larry Willams has a DVD made with Lie-Nielsen on making side escapement planes which I’ve heard is the bible. Here is preview.
Caleb James has some wonderful blog entries on making moulding planes, including very nice plans.

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One Response to Attack of the clones

  1. Pingback: Milled boxes | ZK Project Notebook

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