Thursday, 31 January 2008

I walked through a very dangerous door today.


Today started off as a pretty uneventful day - I headed out to pick up some plane materials. As I was pulling into the parking lot - I noticed a sign on a nearby window "True North Cycles". As I got out of the car, I was trying to figure out where I knew the name from. I went about my business and as I returned to my car, checked my watch.... yup - I had a few minutes to spare...

I walked in to a very cool spaces filled with bike parts and some rather magnificent completed bikes in a showroom. Then a guy wearing a toque and a Volkswagen hoodie comes walking out from the back room. A good sign. After quick introductions - we dove right in.

Hugh Black (the guy has to be a dude with a name like Hugh Black!) is the man - a custom frame designer and builder. This place was awesome. He invited me to the back where the frames are made. I have to say I was totally out of my element - but I knew enough to be impressed. There were frames all around me - in various stages of construction. Hugh handed me a titanium frame - it weighed less than a lever cap!

And here is the danger part. I am often accused of not playing fair - sending photos of Rosewood & bronze, Ebony and steel. Well, today I can honestly say I know how that feels. How does one resist all that aluminum, Titanium and carbon fiber goodness hanging all around? I mean come-on... look at that gorgeous orange frame! The bug has bit hard and my drive home was filled with visions of frames dancing in my head.

Then I realized where I had seen the True North logo - Hugh had made a bike for my cousin Jake.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Shaver said...

Hey Konrad,

What an amazing moment for you to re connect to Jake....it must have been a good moment in many ways and I know he is missed a great deal.....perhaps this was meant to happen today, to let you know he is still very much a part of your life,

God Bless

31 January 2008 12:57  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Jim,

It was a pretty moving moment when I made that connection. Strange how timing works isn't it.

Take care,
Konrad

31 January 2008 13:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr Black would be open to a trade - an example of yourproduct for one of his.
rgds Mike

6 February 2008 18:33  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Mike,

Funny - Mr. Black and I have already talked that sort of talk.

Cheers,
Konrad

6 February 2008 23:49  

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Friday, 18 January 2008

A refreshing return to tradition


Part way though this plane I realized this is the most "traditional" infill plane I have made to date. It was great to return to the roots of British infill planes. This is a 16-1/2" long A1 panel plane - infilled with Rosewood, 01 tool steel sides and sole and a bronze lever cap and lever cap screw. This combination of materials is the epitome of British infills.





I was also reminded why Rosewood was the infill material of choice - it is one of the finest woods to work with. The front bun on this plane was roughed out in 2003 and I have been waiting to use it ever since. I knew the figure would be good... but this really knocked my socks off!



One of the challenges of having such a great piece of wood for the front bun, is continuing it to the rear infill. The black streaks that run through the rear infill and handle certainly tie it all together.



Coming off the heels of two large jointers - lapping this plane was a real treat. For what it's worth... the lapping music of choice was Ministry & I used 12 sheets of lapping paper.

8 Comments:

Blogger Praki Prakash said...

This looks wonderful! I love the Brazillian Rosewood in-fills.

I do have a question. What finish and process do you use for the Rosewood?

19 January 2008 11:13  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi there,

The finish is french polish - about 10 to 12 coats. My shop is kept very dry - about 40% humidity, and I find I can apply a coat first thing in the morning and then another at the end of the day. I use mineral oil (from the drug store) as a lubricant.

Take care,
Konrad

19 January 2008 11:38  
Blogger MattJ said...

Just when I start to get mildly annoyed about not finding an update to the site, you treat me to this! It was worth the wait.

Amazing work... Keep it up!

19 January 2008 20:22  
Blogger Praki Prakash said...

Hi Konrad,

Thanks for the information on the finish. I have been inspired by it and will have to try it out on one of my boxes.

Cheers,
Praki

20 January 2008 19:38  
Anonymous Jim Shaver said...

Incredible figure in the bun, wow

21 January 2008 21:41  
OpenID nrchris said...

So the front bun and rear infill are not from the same piece of wood? I presumed, as with the ebony cutouts that you'd be using pieces from a contiguous blank.

Do you find it difficult to match when using different source blanks of the same type of wood?

22 January 2008 12:55  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Chris,

A good question - and my post was missleading. The front bun and rear infill are from the same piece of wood. What makes for a great front bun often does not make for a great rear infill - heights are different, surface areas etc. And then there are the usual inclusions - blemishes etc to work around. It is very rare that I have a piece of wood that is perfect like that ebony was. I suppose I should post a few photos of what is typical. I am not dealing with sawn lumber planks - but rather odd shaped chunks of wood. They have much more interesting grain to them - but are also more work.

Sorry for the confusion.
Konrad

22 January 2008 13:06  
Blogger Rich Stevens said...

Konrad,

I have been following your postings with eager anticipation each week. These are visual treats and your observations on the process of creating these marvellous tools most enjoyable.

Question - have you considered using root walnut for your planes. I have seen this wood used by the gunsmiths and the grain and colour is outstanding. Tell me - is it absolutely mandatory to have heavy dense wood to stuff infill planes with?

Another question - I am also watching with much anticipation the refurbishment of your TV room upstairs. Well done on your achievements to date - but more updates please.... :))

Rich

24 January 2008 00:04  

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Friday, 4 January 2008

Reducing a perfect piece of Ebony from this...


To these!


With 18" left over. The narrow piece is 1-1/4" thick - perfect for handles. The other piece is 3" thick.


This was a 2 day process - and I have become much better at just starting into it (as opposed to staring at it for 4 hours!). I still stare at it (planning my attack)... but start cutting much more confidently. It certainly helps to have such fine material - there was very little waste from this piece.



Pictured above is another piece of Ebony I worked with. This was also an exceptional piece - the only waste being the bits between plane parts.

Onto the African Blackwood!

8 Comments:

OpenID nrchris said...

Very nice. I would be interested in seeing your bandsaw setup.

And since you teased about the lignum mallet, and this post gives me a better view--it looks to be two separate pieces. ? I have 3x3x12 and 4x4x9 chunks that I plan on turning into solid mallets. I know the pros and cons of sold v two-piece, but am just wondering about your particular mallet.

I haven't tried to glue up lignum vitae yet but understand that you have to be meticulous. I'd get a lot more stock if I just turn the heads from the lignum and different handles. If you have any thoughts, I'd appreciate it.

6 January 2008 11:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,

I notice you have another 28 1/2" jointer laid out. Now that you've run the marathon are you itching to run one again?

I'm glad. The first one was too great to be the only.

Dan

6 January 2008 21:46  
Blogger Konrad said...

The green mallet is a two piece mallet. I did not make it - but if I were to make a mallet - it would be a 2 piece. The most compelling reason is to use less head material. There will be some more photos in the post - including the wedged through tenon.

Cheers,
Konrad

7 January 2008 08:27  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Dan,

I was wondering if anyone would see that:) I am not in a hurry to run that marathon again - at least not in the immediate future. But there certainly will be at least one more 28-1/2" jointer!

Cheers,
Konrad

7 January 2008 08:29  
Blogger Fleeb said...

Hi Konrad,

Awesome work, as always. Truly beautiful and inspiring. I'm wondering if you would share your source for such a fine (as you say perfect) large piece of Ebony?

Regards,
Peter

8 January 2008 21:59  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Peter,

I don't really have a single source for wood - I grab it whenever I see it. I discovered this piece of Ebony while on a trip to Calgary.

Most exotic wood suppliers get calls from time to time asking if they would be interested in buying someones old stock (either someone retired from woodworking or passes away). Those are the times when great old (dry) wood shows up. Ask around - there is more great wood out there than I ever imagined.

Cheers,
Konrad

8 January 2008 22:18  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

Hey Konrad,

Amazing to see this, perfect planning and layout...and look at all the pen blanks that could have been .....

:-)

I think a group shot of the finished works will be an amazing contrast shot with the block of uncut ebony... bet I know where that SS "Beast" is going!

:-)

Take care,
Jim

12 January 2008 08:55  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Jim,

A lifetime of pens for sure:)

There certainly will be a family shot of the planes that come from this piece - likely in about a year from now.

Take care,
Konrad

13 January 2008 20:15  

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Wednesday, 2 January 2008

more stainless steel & Ebony


I have just completed the finishing touches on another A2ss. This one is 22-1/2" long and was quite different to build than its big brother. Working with the stainless was certainly more time consuming - but otherwise it felt very familiar - like the other 22-1/2" A2's I have built. It worked out wonderfully - here are a few quick pictures of the pair of jointers.





Oh, a few people have asked about the "green mallet" in the background. I will be commenting on it shortly - there is a great story behind it.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,

What a beautiful pair! Are the sides and sole stainless, or just the lever cap and adjuster?

Dan

3 January 2008 01:09  
Anonymous Michael R said...

Konrad,

You're killing me with these unbelievably beautiful planes!
I try not to look, really I do but it is no use. There is something about stainless steel that just drawers me to these creations of yours.

Thanks,

Michael

3 January 2008 11:28  
OpenID nrchris said...

Very nice looking.

I have two big chunks of lignum vitae that I must turn into mallets. My father has been pining for one for years so I bought enough stock to make him one in addition to mine. Or the other way around. At any rate, very nice wood to turn, love love the smell.

3 January 2008 11:40  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Dan,

The sides and sole are 01 tool steel. The lever cap, lever cap screw, knurled adjuster and the button the cap iron screw threads into are all stainless steel.

Cheers,
Konrad

3 January 2008 17:40  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Michael,

Sorry for slaying you:) Glad you like the stainless and ebony combo... I have to say I am still quite taken with it myself. I spent the day roughing out Ebony... all destined for stainless planes.

Cheers,
Konrad

3 January 2008 17:42  
Blogger Konrad said...

Chris,

When you make the lignum mallets - I would love to see them. Mallets are one of those really under-rated tools. You really don't know what you are missing until you replace a crumby mallet with a really killer one... or you get a chance to try an awesome one and have to return home to the junker on your bench!

Cheers,
Konrad

3 January 2008 17:47  

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