Another Boxwood plane & a ridiculous first shaving
I have just completed the largest Boxwood filled plane I have made to date. Working with Boxwood poses one really serious challenge - how to keep the wood clean! It may not seem like a big deal, but Boxwood will pick up even the smallest amounts of dirt, dust or grime. On some days, I must have washed my hands a couple dozen times. When I was shaping the rear infill and the tops of the steel sidewalls, I had to take extra care when draw-filing to keep the hard steel shavings from embedding in the Boxwood. I would draw one stroke, clean the file (aka, wiped it on my shorts), take another stroke and repeat.
It has been a very long time since I have made either a jointer or panel plane without an adjuster, and I have to say - it was really fun. The lack of adjuster allowed me to use a handle treatment which Joe and I used on the very first panel planes we made. You can see it clearly in the first photo. As the top of the handle comes towards the blade, it drops quickly and then forms a gentle ogee curve that leads into the slot for the cap iron. Well... most of the original examples I have seen do not lead into the cap iron slot... but it is much cleaner looking when they do.
The other interesting aspect to this plane was the inclusion that appeared on the front bun. It is fairly common for Boxwood to have inclusions like this as it is a very slow growing scrubby tree that is often quite twisted. I personally love these anomalies - it is what makes Boxwood (and wood in general) so amazing. I have seen one of my planemaking heros, Bill Carter, use these inclusions to great effect. Thankfully, the inclusion was completely solid so there were no structural issues. I was most pleased when the customer contacted me saying he loved it as well.
When I am filing a mouth, I have to start with a fully tuned iron so I can accurately see what is happening. During the fitting process, I inevitably get a ding or two in the iron, which I always re-hone out before taking a few test shavings. I usually take the first test cuts on a fairly tight grained wood like cherry or pear and take both a heavy shaving and then a light cut to make sure the plane is working well in both situations. The mouth on this plane is between 0.004" and 0.005". After the mouth was done, I took a heavy shaving first. It worked perfectly. Then I tried a fine shaving. The above photo is what I got. I was pretty amazed. It is not very often that I get a shaving like this within the first few test cuts.