Sunday, 29 May 2016

A K6 with customer supplied East Indian Rosewood

It is very rare that a customer supplies the wood for their plane. It has happened only a few times over the years, but I knew from the moment that I saw this piece, that something special could happen.

I know that in theory, figure is possible in any species of wood... but some just seem more prone than others - and East Indian Rosewood isn’t one of them. Until now. It wasn’t a huge piece, and there was a very strong grain bias. I could maximize the material and live with very angled grain, or I could straighten it out and ‘waste’ a bit more. The customer agreed that making the best plane possible was the goal... so I fired up the bandsaw, and went to work.

I was not ruthless with straightening things out - the above photo shows the waste. You can see the angle in the grain in the largest off-cut.

The final set. I was pretty sure some of the sapwood was going to end up on the side of the plane - and the customer was fine with that. I was also very interested in keeping as much of the layer just under the sapwood - a lighter, slightly browner later before the dark purple heartwood.

Using my own K6 to make this K6 - always fun making tools to make tools.

The rear infill is fit, and the sapwood has been greatly reduced, but not eliminated.

Both the front and rear infill fit, but not installed.

After lapping, the sapwood was getting quite small. I still needed to angle the rear infill, and I was slightly concerned that between the angled cut and the shaping of the rear infill, the sapwood would disappear.

Thankfully, the sapwood island remained, and the layer of lighter wood just behind it remained distinct as well. Here are a bunch of pics of the finished plane.

The above photo shows the lighter brown layer nicely.


 This plane is staying fairly local, and will be picked up in person. Always nice to be able to hand someone their plane.


Blogger John said...

That's a beautiful piece of wood and a beautiful job of working with it. The only East Indian Rosewood I have been able to get recently (only a small amount) has an edge that has been run through a shaper. This is to comply with local laws specifying that EIR can only be exported in the form of a "finished product". I won't buy any more because I don't want to particiate in these shenanigans. Either EIR needs to be protected or it doesn't.

29 May 2016 at 22:27  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks John.

Was the East Indian Rosewood you bought sold as East Indian or as plantation grown Indonesian or Sonokeling? My understanding is they are all the same species - just the plantation grown stuff does not exhibit the same color, grain density or texture that East Indian Rosewood has. I have also seen EIRW sold that has been partially processed in order for it to be compliant for export. I suspect this will catch up to the luthier world really soon (if it isn't already) where guitar sets are no longer available for export because they are not processed enough. Gonna be an interesting next decade or so...


30 May 2016 at 21:06  
Blogger John said...

It was sold as East Indian. The colors on the few pieces I have are very rich--at least to my far less sophisticated eye than yours. Lot of purple. I've have never heard of wood that could snorkel. Oh wait.....that's not what you said.

31 May 2016 at 21:52  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi John,

Purple is good... so is cinnamon. Yellows are not so good. Black ink lines are fantastic! Or, as my friend Anson says - if the wood is beautiful and speaks to you - it IS good.

1 June 2016 at 08:23  
Anonymous Henry Markus said...


I noticed you are now using Japanese blades in all your small planes. Maybe you could tell us about your thoughts on these blades, and the steel in a blog in the future. Would be very interested.

Still reading every blog, again, again......



8 June 2016 at 18:11  
Blogger Al DaValle said...

Pure Art!!!

18 June 2016 at 09:36  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Henry,

They look like Japanese blades, but are in fact made in CA by Ron Hock. They are high carbon steel, but not laminated like Japanese blades.


20 June 2016 at 14:41  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Al.

best wishes,

20 June 2016 at 14:42  

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