Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Following up with sapwood

A recent comment from Tom got me thinking about how close I sometimes “cut it” with roughed out infill blanks and proximity to the sapwood. There was a fairly large area of sapwood on this Rosewood infill blank but I was pretty confident it would be removed by the time the plane was completed. Here is a little sequence showing the progression.

Good gravy this is going to be close!

With the rear infill fit, I can bandsaw off the waste to see what is going on. At this point - I am quite confident everything is going to work out.

With the sides lapped - I know I am out of the woods.

A quick shot of the rough layout line to mark the radius.

And the fully shaped plane with the first coat of french polish. One of the reasons I often risk cutting it this close is the best color and grain is often hiding just under the sapwood.


Blogger David said...

As allways, this is just beautiful!
One day, one day!
on an other topic, i saw one of your panel plane for sale on Sawmillcreek forum. It is a SS and Ebony one!I guess it doesn't happen often that people are getting rid of such nice tools!
I realy like your blog and realy proud that you are Canadian!

1 September 2009 at 21:20  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...


That was fantastic! Great photos and great wood!
It looks like the perfect plane.


2 September 2009 at 05:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks David,

Yes - I saw the A2ss jointer on Sawmill as well. I think it has sold already.

Glad you are enjoying the blog - I certainly enjoy writing it.

Konrad - who is a pretty proud Canadian.

2 September 2009 at 06:39  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Tom.

There was a point in all this where I realized “shoot - what the heck would I do if it didn’t work out?” (other than eat the crow and publish it anyway). I was pretty confident in it, but one never knows for sure.

There was an A5 I made several years ago and the one top corner of the side had a wee bit of sapwood - nothing like this plane. Anyway - it did not even occur to me that it might be an issue but as I worked it down, the sapwood kept getting deeper and deeper. It reminded me of that Pillsbury doughboy commercial where you push in his tummy... except no one was laughing at this one. In the end I could not get rid of it and ended up making an entirely new plane for the customer. It was a harsh lesson - but sometimes you need them to keep you humble.

Best wishes,

2 September 2009 at 06:46  
Anonymous JeffB said...

Obviously it is up to the customer, but I would think a big chunk of sapwood in the finished plane would look nice. There is such a contrast between sapwood and heartwood in rosewood that a chunk of sapwood adds a lot of visual interest. I haven't worked with rosewood enough to say whether there would be any complication from using sapwood -- it is usually softer but would that matter much for rosewood? I have a chunk of cocobolo for the front infill in a shoulder plane kit I bought and it has a large chunk of sapwood in the lower corner. I haven't built the plane yet but I think it will look really sharp when done. My 2 cents.

3 September 2009 at 17:59  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jeff,

I certainly have seen sapwood used very effectively - but more often than not it is used to ill effect.

Rosewood sapwood is softer, but as long as it is intact, I think it could safely be used. The sapwood of African Blackwood is often very powdery (in the really old stuff anyway). That being said - some of my favourite turned Blackwood pieces have sapwood used to great effect.

Which shoulder plane kit did you get?


3 September 2009 at 20:29  
Anonymous JeffB said...

Konrad, I have three or four Shepherd infill plane kits (mostly shoulder planes but one Spiers No. 7) and one kit from Legacy Handplanes. I have had the Shepherd kits for a long time (one of which has the cocobolo piece I mentioned) and just need to find the time to make them.

5 September 2009 at 10:29  

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