Hand work... glorious hand work!
I am finishing off a few A5’s right now, and thought a little “how-to” series might be interesting. My favourite aspect of planemaking (by far) is the shaping of the various infills. There are very few infill pieces that lend themselves to router bits or other mechanical shaping methods. And besides - shaping it by hand is way more fun. The front bun of an A5 is a perfect example.
The A5 in the above photo has just been lapped, the sides are fully shaped and the next step is to shape the bun.
Here are a few quick layout lines. The first radius I work on is the front one - connecting the line on top of the bun and the one of the front face. As I am rounding this over - I am watching the light reflect on the curve to help maintain a consistent curve. Once the front is done, I round over the edges - following the profile of the sidewall.
Here is a shot of the front rounded over as well as the sides. Note how rough the shaping is at this point. It is also fairly parallel to the overall shape of the sidewalls.
This photo shows the transition into more graceful complex curves. The front corners have been rounded over. They also “sag” a bit as is shown by the white layout line across the front - part of it is removed in the corners.
The coarse file marks are removed with a finer file - and the “sagging” corners can be seen a bit better in the bands of light reflecting off the bun.
Now the bun is fully shaped and sanded. From the fine file, I use 220 grit sandpaper, then 320, 400 and end with 600. The above photo shows the finish from 600 grit.
And close up shots to show the finished surface, as well as the organic compound curves to the bun.
And finally - a shot of the plane with the first coat of french polish on the bun and the overstuffed sides.