and here I thought 22-1/2" was big!
I recently had a chance to examine a 28-1/2" long jointer, and I must say - I was pretty taken with it. It also caused me to reconsider an earlier belief - that I would not be drawn to non-functional planes. A jointer this size really is not a practical plane to use... but seeing one first hand overshadowed that fact. So I set out to at least tinker with some drawings for one. As it turned out - there were a lot more changes than I had expected. It was not as easy as adding 3" to each end of the 22-1/2" jointer. Most of the profile lines were altered - some very minor and some were quite drastic. Once I thought it was close, I made a full sized mock-up to test it. Here is a photo of that mock-up behind my strangely smallish looking 22-1/2" jointer. There were a few more minor tweaks - but it looked right to me, so I moved forward.
I had this very old, odd looking piece of Ebony that turned out to be perfect for this plane - and several others. The Ebony was quarter sawn and while it had some very serious checks in it - they were perfectly strait and were generous enough to space themselves 3" apart. Perfect! And as an added bonus, the moisture content in the middle of the piece was 7%. I guess this plane is going to be built sooner than I had expected.
As with most of the planes I make, the wood dictates everything about the rest of the plane - and this one was no exception. As soon as I knew the Ebony would work - steel sides were the only option. With the drawings done, the wood and sidewall material decided - it was time to build the shell.
This is where I really learned to appreciate just how big this plane is going to be. Piening the shell together took twice as long as the 22-1/2" version. Thankfully, it went together without a hitch. I am already dreading lapping this plane though.