Thursday, 31 December 2009

Abs of destruction part III


Lapping a 28-1/2" jointer is no walk in the park and it took me a few days to psych myself up to do it. Once it was all taped up and looking Smurfy - it was time to start.



After day one, I had one side just about lapped, the other side close behind and the sole was well on its way. I decided to pace myself and not even attempt to do it in one day.

Day two went very well - the plane is just about done. Both sides are lapped, the chamfers are completed and the toe and heel are fully rounded and polished. My impression was this plane lapped a little faster than the Ebony filled A2ss. I suspect the slight reduction in weight is what helped. The smaller front bun may have helped as well - it was easier to hold the plane when I was lapping the sides. Either way - I am glad the lapping is just about done.

Here are a bunch of photos.















This was the last plane of 2009 and a perfect ending to the year.



I switched from small bottles to larger ones. This one got finished while lapping the plane.

PS - The official lapping soundtrack was Joy Division’s - Closer.

19 Comments:

Blogger Cody said...

Two days? Yow! Nice work sir! I just came upstairs after spending a couple hours planing my newly constructed bench flat, sweatily sat down with a beer, and read your lapping story. Now I feel like a sissy!

2 January 2010 at 21:02  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Cody,

Happy New Year. I trust your injury is healing up nicely. And given that injury... I suspect my lapping might not have been too much worse than your bench flattening. Nice bench vice too... I have one in a box waiting for a bench. Too many things to do.

Best wishes,
Konrad

2 January 2010 at 21:38  
Blogger Cody said...

And happy new year to you too. The injury is healing nicely, I've been back in full operation for over a month now.

Dude, your planes are unreal. What on earth does someone do with a 29" plane? Have you ever considered or attempted a corrugated sole on those monsters?

3 January 2010 at 02:19  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Cody,

Glad to hear you are back at work and functional again. I noticed the saw stop under the bench parts.

It is a funny thing, but I was using the plane for the first time the other day and while it is heavy, it is incredibly balanced and is not nearly as awkward as one might think. I have never considered corrugating a plane before - I am not sure if there would really be that much of an advantage. Inlaying Lignum... now that I have thought about.

Cheers,
Konrad

3 January 2010 at 11:20  
Anonymous LOU said...

Hello Konrad.Your work is simpley beautifull.If I may.How does one get started doing this,and have you ever though of makeing a try square or small block plane.Thanks,Lou.

3 January 2010 at 14:37  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Lou - and thank-you for the kind comments.

As far as getting started goes - do you mean as a person who wishes to make a plane or two for himself, or do you mean getting started in the business of planemaking? The answers are somewhat related, but very different. Most of the planemakers I know have websites and blogs and there is quite a bit of information on them. You will quickly see that we all do things very differently - depending on our skills, our personal preferences and how much risk we are each prepared to take. If you are planning on making your own planes, the start up cost is not too bad. The toughest things will be the lever caps and the lever cap screws. And finding suitable infill wood. I cannot stress this next point enough... buy and use only old dry rosewood. If you can find it - pay the money for it. If you cannot find old dry rosewood try Honduran mahogany or Claro walnut. These two species are quite stable and will make for striking infills.

I have not tried making other tools yet - I am just too busy with planes and various projects in the house. Some day I will make other tools though.

Cheers,
Konrad

3 January 2010 at 18:35  
Blogger Tom said...

Hey Konrad... you should try using some sort of blue plastic for the infill.. It looks kinda cool :D

6 January 2010 at 08:28  
Blogger Brent said...

Forgive me if you have already stated the answer to this question. How much does it weigh? Oh and your site is wonderful, I just recently found it and am just loving it.


Take care,
Brent

7 January 2010 at 20:08  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Tom,

Believe it or not - I did look for some blue Delrin for the Titanium XSNo.4 a while back. Settled for white... and eventually ripped it out anyway:)

cheers,
Konrad

8 January 2010 at 07:59  
Blogger raney said...

I can't believe you did that in two days... I'm going to guess three 'sessions' per day?

Closer could only be better if Rhino got hold of it and included 'Love will tear us apart', but it seems a little muted for plane lapping to me. The 'recorded live in a storm drain' production doesn't help in that respect... I've been liking QOTSA's 'R' lately. And of course any Pixies.

Then again, I'm not man enough to tackle a 28-1/2" plane... maybe one needs a little 'just swung by on my way back to the crypt' vibe to provide some pacing?

9 January 2010 at 20:24  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Raney,

The first two days were the most intense - and were not enough to completely finish it. I spent a few hours each day over the next two days as well. That was about as much as my guts could take:)

I have been thinking about putting together a lapping play list on the iPod...

Cheers,
Konrad

11 January 2010 at 23:23  
Blogger Brad said...

Wanted to take a second to chime in and say this site makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

It reinforces that there's a tiny, burning ingot of human craftsmanship and creativity "out there". Besides that, the fact that you appear to be creating and selling your tools at a pretty good rate underscores the appreciation for handmade tools that exists. Lastly, the very nature that the final object is a functional tool spurs the creation of more beautiful things to be made by hand.

Thanks for being vigilant about keeping the blog updated for all of us out here - the quality of your work is certainly worth sharing.

18 January 2010 at 14:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you need a new post! its been 23 days! jk. I really enjoy reading your blog. Hope all is well!

24 January 2010 at 00:55  
Blogger Peter said...

Konrad, is it safe to assume that your New Year's resolution was *not* that you wanted to update your site more often? ;-)

All kidding aside, I love reading this blog. I hope you update it soon, as it's always a pleasure.

5 February 2010 at 21:11  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Peter,

It is incredibly embarrassing to be honest. Today, my excuse is that I am in CA attending the LN handtool event at the Crucible. I will be posting several entries when I return home on tuesday. Thanks for hanging in there!

Cheers
Konrad

6 February 2010 at 10:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,

Too bad you didn't have time/weren't invited to attend the LN event in Phoenix. It would've been great to see you.

Regards,
Russ

21 February 2010 at 15:12  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Hi Konrad,
Incredible work! Since discovering your site I've checked back often and have watched your renovations with interest. As someone who does a lot of finish carpentry I applaud your work! Especially that floor!
Question: what do you use as a lapping surface for such a giant plane? I'm working on an old stanley #7 and need to lap it...
And it was cool to see your lapping soundtrack was 'closer'. Was that on cassette? If you get a chance check out a film called 'twentyfour hour party people'. It's basically the history of Factory records but Joy Division is a big part of the story.
Let us all know what'll go on that lapping playlist!
Thanks and Cheers!
Jeff

25 February 2010 at 08:02  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Russ,

It would have been a good show to attend - but it did not fit with my schedule. Next time maybe. Did you get anything?

Cheers,
Konrad

25 February 2010 at 20:41  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Jeff for all your kind comments. Glad you are enjoying the blog.

The planes are lapped on an automotive sandpaper made by Norton. It is called A275. I buy it by the 50 sheet box (about $50 Cdn). I use super 77 (by 3M) which is a low tack spray adhesive. I spray a light dusting on the back of the sheets and line them up on the lapping surface. When they are worn out - just peel them up.

Closer was on CD:) Thanks for the film title - I will look it up.

Other playlist favorites are Rage Against the Machine, Tool (of course), Death from above, Jane's Addiction, NIN... you get the picture.

Cheers,
Konrad

25 February 2010 at 20:46  

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Sunday, 20 December 2009

Making buns - a little more Mathieson and a dash of Norris


The front bun of the 28-1/2" A2 jointer has a few modifications to it. The “bun” portion has been pulled forward, which allows it to be lowered and creates an area just behind it for a thumb grip. I made a quick mock-up out of basswood - man is that stuff easy to work with! This forward and lowered bun is pretty typical of the Mathieson jointers I have seen.



I usually have an Ogee on the inside of the bun facing the lever cap (ala Spiers), but we wanted that inside ramp to be a bit steeper so it reached the sidewall before the small curve. This detail is typical of Norris. Softening that area is helpful when the back of the bun is used as a thumb hold.

Once the mock-up was done, I sent it to the client to make sure all the details were right. Everything was great so I proceeded with the real bun.





Shaping the bun uses quite a few tools. Fitting the block is done with handplanes - a few thou at a time. It has to be perfectly square - all other dimensions and measurements are referenced from these faces. Thankfully - I have a few decent planes to use. I use my bandsaw, tablesaw, lots of chisels and sandpaper to do the actual shaping. I do not use a router because very few of these profiles lend themselves to router bits, not to mention the idea of 20,000 rpm’s on dense brittle endgrain strikes me as an invitation for disaster. Plus, it would be really slow.



Here you can see the inside ramp and the transition area to the back of the bun.



Here are a bunch of photos of the fully shaped front bun. The next step is a dozen coats of french polish.









The french polishing went extremely well and the color and grain of the wood really came alive. At this stage, the infills and lever cap have been installed.

Next... lapping - aka abs of destruction part III.












One of the funny things about these massive planes is they are hard (for me) to photograph properly. Here is a quick photo to try to give a sense of scale.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Magnificent looking plane. Do people really use these massive infills? Looks like quite a workout.
Swanz

20 December 2009 at 11:46  
Blogger Konrad said...

Swanz,

Believe it or not - they are actually quite comfortable to use. The key to the functionality is balance. They do not hang heavy in the toe - if they did - they would be a no-go. And yes - this one is going to be used.

Cheers,
Konrad

20 December 2009 at 11:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's an uber-jointer if ever there was one Konrad, congrats on it's completion, most impressive.

Cheers,
Steve

20 December 2009 at 12:54  
Anonymous Narayan said...

Congrats, Konrad. You've just won the understatement of 2009 award:

"Thankfully - I have a few decent planes to use."

:) Happy holidays to you and the family. See you in 2010.

20 December 2009 at 14:10  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Narayan.

Happy Holidays to you and your family as well. Hi to Ray (I keep waiting for more ”Ray stories”).

Repeat after me (while clicking your heels 3 times) - “fishing in August, fishing in August, fishing in August”

Cheers,
Konrad

20 December 2009 at 20:31  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Steve. Funny you called it the uber jointer - that is what the customer and I have been calling it too.

Best wishes,
Konrad

20 December 2009 at 20:32  
Blogger matt@thuja said...

I've always wondered how you did your buns, they certainly look like they perfect enough to have been cut by a machine (or just a really good woodworker)!

Take it easy,

Matt

20 December 2009 at 20:57  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Matt. I will let you know the next time I am making one - I would be happy to show you.

Merry Christmas to you and Kate.
Cheers,
Konrad

21 December 2009 at 08:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,

I love the way the side chamfers terminate at the transition from the bun to the throat. Another detail handled beautifully. I can't help thinking that would be a perfect sibling for my panel plane. Hmmmm?

Nice work. You've got another fortunate customer there.

Cheers

Dan

21 December 2009 at 19:43  
Anonymous Tom said...

Wow, thats a huge jointer...and a lot of sweet rosewood. Im always amazed by your flawless shellac job on the planes. Do you do any grain filling on the rosewood?

On the subject of french polishing, kind of, i had a question for you about shellac. I think i remember you saying that you use flakes. What solvent do you use? I cant seem to find "denatured alcohol" on any shelves in canada, making me wonder what it is called here. Many big orange stores have methyl alcohol or methyl hydrate, do you know if this is the same, similar?

28 December 2009 at 21:06  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Tom,

I do not use any grain filler on the Rosewood - I have never needed to. By the 5th or 6th coat, most of the grain is already filled with french polish.

I use the solvent from Lee Valley. I usually pick up a container or two every other time I am there. I don’t think methyl hydrate is the same thing... but I am certainly not an expert on solvents. You could check with Bob Flexner - he has several good books on finishing.

Cheers,
Konrad

28 December 2009 at 21:31  
Anonymous ChrisF said...

Tom, I've been able to find denatured alcohol at Shoppers Drug Mart. Go to the prescription counter and ask for it. It's available without prescription, but it's behind the counter (presumably to keep people from drinking it).

Other alcohols work fine, but evaporate at different speeds. Methyl alcohol (aka methanol or methyl hydrate) evaporates faster and is worse from a health perspective, isopropyl alcohol evaporates slower.

5 January 2010 at 13:43  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Chris,

Thanks for jumping in and providing this information! I will head to Shoppers Drug mart next time.

Cheers,
Konrad

5 January 2010 at 19:34  

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Friday, 18 December 2009

Just in time!


I am just finishing up three special XSNo.4 smoothers. Here are the details - in no particular order.


First - a Figured Rosewood filled XSNo.4ss smoother. This is the first plane in a series from this piece of wood and the other planes should be equally spectacular.



The grain in the rear infill is just insane! When I was roughing these planes out, I had no idea they would be this killer.





The next XS is infilled with some birds eye/curly English boxwood (oh to be so lucky!). This came from a piece of boxwood I picked up in England several years ago. Like the Brazilian above, the figure exceeded my earlier notions.








And last, but certainly not least is one of the last Mystery Rosewood planes. This is also one in a series and I am very pleased about the homes these last few Mystery Rosewood planes are going to.



The 28-1/2" A2 jointer is coming along nicely - I should be posting some photos in a day or two.

8 Comments:

Blogger David said...

Wow Konrad, these are real beauty!
How can some one use these? I would be scared to scratch the finish or drop them!!!
Again, real nice work!
David

18 December 2009 at 14:50  
Blogger teal and gold said...

I'd love to find one of those under the tree... Wowzerzz.

18 December 2009 at 15:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It must take a great deal of time and patience to get the infill fitted and shaped that perfectly. I always thought I'd prefer a handled smoother, but looking at these, I'm not so sure.

18 December 2009 at 18:29  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks David. I know what you mean, but believe it or not - they get better with age and use. Dropping though... not good (trust me - I have done it).

Cheers,
Konrad

19 December 2009 at 19:44  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks T&G. It would be pretty cool to find one of these under the tree.

Cheers,
Konrad

19 December 2009 at 19:47  
Blogger Konrad said...

Fitting the infill and shaping has gotten much easier and faster over the years.

Un-handled planes are really under rated. Of the 4 smoothers on my bench, three are un-handled. The are incredibly comfortable and can be pushed, pulled and can take corners perfectly. If you ever get a chance, try one out.

cheers,
Konrad

19 December 2009 at 19:49  
Blogger David said...

Konrad, send me one so I can try;)
Take care!
And Happy Hollydays!

20 December 2009 at 14:38  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey David - where are you geographically speaking? I do travel a fair amount and if I am in your neck of the woods you can try all of them - handled and otherwise.

Cheers,
Konrad

20 December 2009 at 20:35  

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