Wednesday, 28 May 2008

One of the best planemaking lessons...


... happens at the bench using the tools you’ve made.

I have been working away on the kitchen doors these last few days, and was reminded of why I started making planes in the first place. I have spent several hours taking the final finishing passes on all the 27 door frames. It only took a few minutes of planing for me to forget about the plane as an object and focus on the plane as a working tool. I stopped thinking about the infill wood, the choice of sidewall material, the stainless steel lever cap. All I cared about was the quality of the shaving, the comfort of the handle, the balance point of the plane and where I had placed the candle butt to wax the sole. For a few blissful hours - I felt like a furniture maker.



I have been collecting quarter sawn wood for years - and it really paid off for the kitchen. All the door frames are QS walnut. In a few cases, I had entire boards that were quarter sawn - but I also dipped into my stash of really wide walnut planks to get the quarter sawn wood from the edges. It worked out perfectly because the planks were wide enough to get two 2" wide frames off each edge and still have enough material in the middle to get the single board panels I wanted.



Most of the panels were resawn from 5/4 stock to yield two 7/16" thick panels. I wanted to keep the weight down as much as possible, plus this also allowed me to bookmatch all the panels. There is a large floor to ceiling pantry where I used 5/8" thick panels. I left them a little thicker so I could put a raised panel on the inside as well.

Below are two shots of all the freshly planed frames before assembly.





To really geek out for a minute - here are some technical specs. I re-honed the blade in the A5ss 6 times without going to the grinding wheel to hollow grind.



The above photo is an attempt to show the surface reflection of the last rail I planed (click on it to enlarge). This is the type of surface on all the frames. On average, it took two sets of two overlapping passes to remove all the jointer and thickness planer marks.

The mortises were cut with a bench top hollow chisel mortiser. With over 100 mortises - this felt like an appropriate tool. The haunched tenons are 1-1/2" long and were cut on the table saw using a dado set. Again - 100+ tenons... .



I pre-finished all the raised panels. There is nothing worse than that unfinished line and ridge of dried finish that appears in the dead of winter when the panels shrink.

I am hoping to assemble all the doors over the weekend and start fitting them. Once they are fit, I can apply the finish to the frames.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,
Well nobody can accuse you of being a "one trick pony", you are obviously skilled in more than the discipline of plane making. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product(s)and thenyou can come to my house and help me re-do my kitchen!
Great work as always.

Michael

29 May 2008 10:13  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Michael,

I am hoping to have the kitchen completed before the 4th anniversary of starting it:) Jill is the most patient person in the world for putting up with my speed.

Cheers,
Konrad

29 May 2008 10:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Konrad,

I appreciate the patience it takes to accomplish milling these doors, the wood all comes together at just the right time. I can not wait to see the final assembly.

take care,
Jim Shaver

29 May 2008 20:29  
Blogger Jon Fiant said...

Konrad,
It's wonderful to have such a patient wife! I have one of them too! But I can also add that she is going to have one of the finest kitchens around. This is my first blog entry ever, and I appreciate you "letting us into your world" so to speak. Amazing work in everthing you do! Thanks for sharing.

29 May 2008 20:30  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks. I have 15 doors hung now - what a transformation! There are 8 pieces of beveled glass being made so it will be a while yet before it is all done. Not to mention swaping the Robertson pulls for the real ones:)

cheers,
Konrad

29 May 2008 21:34  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jon,

Thanks for the kind comments - and glad to see you jumping into the blog. We are both lucky to have patient spouses. I don't think any of this would have happened if not for her support.

Best wishes,
Konrad

29 May 2008 21:42  
Blogger Norman Pirollo said...

Great work Konrad.

I enjoy your posts.

Question, how did you manage to keep all the shavings on the bench, mine tend to fall to the floor :)

Just kidding,
Norman

30 May 2008 09:38  
Blogger Konrad said...

Norm... 12 years directing photoshoots will do that to a guy:)

Cheers,
Konrad

30 May 2008 10:50  
Blogger Dorje said...

You described your methods of mortise making and tenon cutting...is it safe to assume you ploughed the grooves and cut the rabbets on the panels on the table saw too, or did you use handwork there?

These door parts are looking great. You're certainly looking like a furniture maker through the lense I'm looking through!

Wonderful!

31 May 2008 00:07  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jon Fiant,

I have received both your emails and for some reason my responses are bouncing back. Sorry to use this obscure area to get back to you - but I don't know how else to do it. I would be happy to call to give you some material specs and help with your infill project.

Cheers,
Konrad

4 June 2008 22:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How goes the cabinets? Curious how far you have come since this post.

They look great so far.

2 July 2008 14:56  

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Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The picture sums it up!


A package from Mike Wenzloff arrived late in the day yesterday. I knew this one was coming, and it was all I could do to keep myself from tearing into it. But I waited - because there were two items for Riley as well, and I figured he would want to open it. Inside were two pairs of small saws - a rip and a crosscut. Riley's pair are quite small - but fit his small hands very well. At his request - his first project is going to be to learn to cut dovetails.



The other pair of saws were quite specifically designed. Some time ago, I asked Mike if he would be able to make a dovetail sized saw to be used specifically for cutting exotic woods. He was quite sure he could - so we moved on to the rest of the details. Ebony handles were decided on fairly early in the process, thanks to a good friend (thanks again Dan). Mike sent me several photos of different handle designs to choose from. We settled on a modified Patterson handle - and I have to say - I cannot imagine anything more comfortable. It feels as though I shaped it myself. The blade is 8" long and has 2" of usable depth.



Riley and I called Mike to let him know they arrived safe and sound and to thank him for doing such a wonderful job. He asked if I had tried them out yet and I explained that I hadn't - but the first use would be to cut the slot for an adjuster on an A2 jointer. The long silence was finally broken with “Oh geeze - now I am nervous!”



As I suspected - the rip saw worked perfectly and cut a beautiful clean kerf in the Rosewood handle. So thanks again Mike for two wonderful pairs of purpose built saws.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible! Those ebony handles are just staggeringly beautiful--because of the ebony and because of Mike's eye to shaping the wood. Toolmakers who are woodworkers first can do things like that, giving the wood an organic look rather than a machined look.

This may--no, will--be a life-changing event for Riley also!

A wonderful day, indeed!!

Wiley

13 May 2008 12:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What handsome saws! Thanks for sharing, and use them in good health!
Cheers,
Andy

13 May 2008 13:55  
Blogger jyatulis said...

Those are beautiful saws. The ebony is great. Can you give us details on the plate, tpi, set etc.? I am curious as to what makes it a better exotic wood saw. I counted 15 tpi in the photo- guessing from your length info, am I close? The medallions are a nice touch on the Wenzloff saws. Classic!
Riley is one lucky boy!

cheers, Jay

13 May 2008 22:59  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Wiley,

The handles are about as perfect as they can be. Organic is a perfect way to describe it.

One thing I forgot to mention was Mike even took the time to reverse the saw nuts to be oriented for a left handed user. A really thoughtful touch.

Riley is very proud of his saws. I half expect them to make a trip to show-and-tell at school one day soon.

Best wishes,
Konrad

14 May 2008 06:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jay,

I will get back with the specs.

Cheers,
Konrad

14 May 2008 06:53  
Anonymous Mike said...

My thanks for the kind words from everyone. Seeing the photos of Riley have made my year.

Hi Jay,

Good eyes (and good photos). Yep, the rip (and CC) is 15 ppi. There really isn't a great answer to the question. Not a "by the numbers" answer anyway.

The process of determining what the filing would end up at began with both the concept and the beginning rake number, which in this case was between 2-4 degrees (that's about as accurate as I can tell).

Sawing hard woods requires a couple ideas as compared to softer woods. Especially at 15 ppi and if the saw is also going to be used ultimately on a wide variety of wood hardness. Difficulty in sawing really hard woods lies mostly in starting the cut. This takes a variety of things to ensure an easier go at it. One is experience. Another is commitment to the cut (regardless of experience). The third (and easy part) is simply the filing on the saw.

I wanted the saw to remain aggressive towards the handle for the main part of the act of sawing--the action following getting the kerf established. So I added a bit of fleam angle beginning at the toe and progressing to zero fleam in a couple inches. A by-product of adding fleam is a slightly relaxed rake at the toe.

I did so over a couple light filings, testing on some African Blackwood, one of the most difficult woods to hand saw. Still, it takes a rather light touch both starting the kerf and sawing to depth. This made it a fairly easy yet still slightly aggressive saw for anything less hard as AB.

And a light set. I don't know what Mr. K's saw ended up with. It was initially set at about 3 thou per side and probably lessened a touch both in the filings and a light stoning.

The cross cut I believe is about 20 degrees of rake, 30 degrees of fleam. It should provide fairly easy sawing of hard woods, decent speed and a clean cut (at least if I did my job correctly).

Well, back to work.

My thanks to all concerned with the making of these saws. But my thanks especially go to Riley for his appreciation. Making Riley's saws was in some ways a greater honor for me than Mr. K's.

Take care, Mike

14 May 2008 08:47  
Blogger jyatulis said...

Thanks very much for the detailed explanation of the saws Mike. I actually went back to the "books" to fully understand what you were talking about. It sounds like the rip saw evolved as you were creating it. Lots to take into account for a purpose made tool. Fascinating. I have been eyeing the large tenon saw at LV. I hope to get one soon.
Konrad, Thanks for bringing yet another fine tool maker into your blog.

cheers, Jay

14 May 2008 19:39  
Blogger Pedder said...

the skills and the knowledge behind these saws are awe-inspiring

16 May 2008 13:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two stunning pairs of saws - and so nice to see Riley's obvious excitement.

Cheers,

Paul Chapman

17 May 2008 09:41  
Blogger Philly said...

Wonderful work, Mike!
You and Riley must be pretty happy with your saws, K?
Best regards
Philly

17 May 2008 16:47  

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Wednesday, 7 May 2008

A pair of Norris rebate mitre planes




Well here they are - the “mystery planes” I have been teasing about.

Here is the deal... in 1941, Norris was commissioned to make a plane to be awarded as the first prize in a furniture making competition. The recipient of the plane kept it in new condition all these years. It was sold at auction in 2006 for over £16,000. Shortly after the auction - I was commissioned to make a reproduction of this plane with one change - infilled with ebony (the original was infilled with Rosewood).



It was a fantastic and challenging commission to say the least. The only reference I had was a series of photos and two dimensions - the overall length of 13-5/8" and the width of 2-3/8".



Norris clearly emptied the bag of tricks on this plane. The handle tilts to the left and right just like the Stanley No.10-1/4 - but it also pivots left and right.



I was also excited to try a wedged plane with an adjuster. The screw that passes through the keeper engages a brass insert in the wedge. The mechanics of this is very cool. The brass insert is offset and when the screw is tightened - it acts as a drawbore - driving the wedge tighter into the body of the plane. Very cool indeed!



After studying the photos I agreed to the commission. I also decided I would make a prototype to work out any unforeseen bugs. I did not want to “prototype” the commissioned plane. Infilling the prototype with Rosewood seemed like a logical choice.

Everything worked without a hitch for the most part - and keeping the prototype ahead a few steps certainly helped refine the building process.

The mouth was one aspect that I really had to psych myself up for. I use what can only be described as an antiquated method - but it has always worked for me, and I did not see any reason why I should re-invent the wheel now. Here are a series of photos of cutting the mouth.



I still use a hacksaw to cut the mouth on shoulder and rebate planes. The difference with this plane is that it is 2-3/8" wide as opposed to the widest shoulder at 1-1/2". I was a little nervous.

My friend Steve had stopped in a few times as I was working on the pair of planes and he asked how I was going to do the mouth. I handed him the hacksaw. His only comment was “ I gotta see this!” I guess his response freaked me out a little bit more, so I decided to cut and file the mouth on my own (sorry Steve). I was not sure I would be able to handle an audience if I messed it all up!

As it turned out - it worked perfectly and I felt bad for not inviting Steve to be there for it. He was on hand as I was finishing it up though - and I handed him the triangular piece of waste from the sole.

Here are a few detail shots of the mouth being done;





Two of three cuts are done - the last one is the “easiest” :)

Here are some further photos of the two planes.

















I should also mention that I have decided to sell the Rosewood filled prototype. This is only the second prototype I have sold - all the others live on my bench. This plane is marked KP30-08 on the bed - KP stands for “Konrad Prototype”. The price is $9,000.00 Cdn.

18 Comments:

OpenID nrchris said...

Well worth the waiT

7 May 2008 13:28  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Chris,

Sorry it took so long.

Cheers,
Konrad

7 May 2008 15:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,

You and a few other modern tool makers stand out head and shoulders above the rest. I think you have distanced yourself from the pack with these.

Superb!

Dan

7 May 2008 16:40  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the very, very kind comments.

Best wishes,

7 May 2008 17:34  
Blogger jyatulis said...

Truly remarkable! These planes are gorgeous, well worth waiting for the pictures. Glad to see you are back. There is no where else quite like your site to go during lunchbreak at work. Thanks also for the detailed pictures of cutting the throat in. I will be doing this soon with a shoulder plane and it makes total sense now on how to cut it.

cheers,
Jay

7 May 2008 19:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of lapping music do you use for a plane like that?

8 May 2008 03:14  
Anonymous Rob said...

Konrad,

Wow.
Breathtaking,
Impeccable,
Precise,
And uh, Wow!

Scaling the rest of the details in from photos and a couple of measurements is never easy, but when the detail is of this magnitude... Completely and utterly inspiring. Thanks for accepting this commission, it is yet another reminder of what can be possible.

8 May 2008 04:54  
Anonymous Robert Demers said...

Wow indeed
Utterly amazing and breathtaking.
A real piece of art. I have never seen nor heard of this Norris plane, for it's new owner to entrust you with it's commission, speaks volume about how highly regarded you are as a planemaker.
Congratulations, and praises are well deserved my friend.

When I retire, all I want, is one of your plane to use and cherish :-)

Bob, in Bagotville

8 May 2008 06:30  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jay,

If you want to walk through the mouth cutting let me know - happy to help.

Lunch time at 7:47... dude - you are working too hard:)

Cheers,
Konrad

8 May 2008 06:44  
Blogger Konrad said...

Lapping music - was an odd combo. Either The last sucker by Ministry, or Rasing Sands - Robert Plant & Allison Krauss.

Cheers,
Konrad

8 May 2008 06:47  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Rob,

I would not have been able to do this without photoshop and adobe Illustrator. Those two pieces of software are an amazing combination and allowed me to figure it all out. It was a tremendous amount of work - but a lot of fun too.

Cheers,
Konrad

8 May 2008 06:48  
Anonymous Michael Rogen said...

Konrad,
MASTERFULL!

michael

8 May 2008 08:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Korad - Really nice job, and very impressive bit of engineering based only on photographs. I'm a bit surprised the owner of the "craftsman of the year" Norris did not want you to at least look at the plane in person before copying it (assuming the person that asked for the copy is the same as the owner of the Norris antique).

The odd thing about this plane is that it's easily the most elaborate that Norris ever produced, but it is generally acknowledged by Norris collectors to be ungraceful and rather unappealing to the eye. It would therefore seem to be logical that it was intended to be used, though of course the recipient (or his heirs) were smart enough to recognize that using a one-of-a-kind plane like that would be financially unwise.

Really a super job, though someone needs to step up to the plate and give you a "Lancashire Pattern" hacksaw to replace that horrid Stanley plastic model. ;-)

David

8 May 2008 11:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to see these live, my screen keeps dropping out on Over load!!

Take care,
Jim

8 May 2008 11:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Jim,

You know where I live... :) (assuming this is the Jim I think it is)!

Cheers,
Konrad

8 May 2008 11:50  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi David,

Thank-you for your comments. I am pretty sure the original plane stayed in England and the person who commissioned the reproduction is neither the original owner nor the current owner.

I guess I shouldn't admit that I have a pair of yellow Stanley hacksaws then:)

Best wishes,
Konrad

8 May 2008 11:57  
Anonymous ernie@legacyplanes.com said...

Konrad,

Just when I thought you leveled out and set the standard with infills, you rocketed that standard to a much higher and possibly unattainable level. Looks like great engineering and great, clean details. They are stunning!

Ernie

8 May 2008 19:12  
Blogger jyatulis said...

Hi Konrad,

Thanks for the offer. I will definitely take you up on it. I hope to have the shell and infill done in about 2 weeks.

I guess 7:47 is late for lunch, but it would be an early dinner for us. Our twins keep us jumping :)

cheers,
Jay

8 May 2008 22:42  

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Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Phew!

My apologies to everyone for the missing website during the last several days. And also my deepest thanks to everyone who phoned, emailed and posted their concerns about the situation. It seems my domain name registration had expired - thankfully - it is up and running again.

Cheers,
Konrad

2 Comments:

Blogger ozzy said...

"PHEW INDEED" where would i be without my high end fix! Keep the exceptional work going....

0zzy

6 May 2008 17:36  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Ozzy!

Cheers,
Konrad

7 May 2008 15:05  

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