Monday, 12 January 2009

Another kick at the prototype can.

When Joe and I started making planes - our first goal was to have fun, and make the planes that we wanted to use. In that order. The first plane was a smoother, then another smoother - with a York pitch and brass (yes, brass) sides. Then an A6 followed by a panel and finally a jointer. With the basic bench planes done - we doubled back and worked on shoulders, a chariot and then a mitre.

I am going to confess that we really had no business making a mitre plane - neither of us really understood them... and in our intense naivety - we opted to build an “improved” pattern mitre (Brian Buckner should be smiling about now). This turned out to be a monumental flop. The plane turned out ok (shown above) - but neither of us found it comfortable to use. So it sits in a drawer.

Years later, I decided to take another crack at a mitre plane largely due to seeing one of Garrett Hack’s - made by Bill Carter (shown next to my 1/2" x 3-3/4" rebate for scale). It was amazing, and I drove home working out the details in my head. By the time I got home, I had it planned out and got to work right away. The plane worked wonderfully and was a very different experience than the “de-proved” mitre in my drawer.

An experience in Calgary got me thinking about a large mitre plane and while it took a year of bouncing around in my head - it was time to go for it. This full sized mitre would be based on several mitre planes. Steel sides were a must if it was going to stand up to shooting. I wanted to use a cupids bow bridge for a couple reasons. One - they just look wicked but I suspect they also serve another important function - they offer support for the sidewalls to help maintain the shape. And the other reason for the bridge - it meant a wedge. I love, love, love the look of wedged mitre planes. I also like the extended sole on the toe - that was a must. If I was going to extend the sole - then I really ought to cover the front infill as well - again - support for the shape. I have never liked the plain look of the Norris A11 - partly because of the lever cap - but decided to incorporate an adjuster into this plane. This is the same adjuster that was used in the Norris rebate mitre plane - and I loved the way the adjuster, the wedge and the drawbore action of the screw worked together. With all the details defined - it was time to sketch and build a construction paper mock-up.

Above is a shot of the mock-up alongside the Titanium sided XSNo.4 for scale. The bridge would be steel as well - the idea of two bronze tenons on my nice clean sidewalls would never do.

Once I was happy with the paper mock-up - it was time to cut the steel. The photo above shows the shell dry fit together.

And now piened together. Notice the tenons of the bridge are not piened yet. The little bit of flex in the sides might come in handy while fitting the infill (which it did).

The first test infills. I don’t make test infills often any more - but this plane was a new one and I wanted to get it right. The wedge took 3 tries and to date I have not finalized it. I will wait until the irons arrive so I can work with the actual blade.

The grip of the plane was very important to me. One of the other reasons I went with the bridge is it allows for maximum room for holding the plane. The screw for the bridge would be a very low profile.

The second test wedge. The shape is right - but a little too big.

Here are the Rosewood infills fit to the shell and the piece for the wedge. Everything fits pefectly. Next... french polishing the infills before they go in.

A shot showing the wonderful grain for the wedge. It is killing me not to start shaping it!

The plane is lapped and the infills are french polished. Here is a shot showing the grain in the rear infill.

And finally - a detail shot of the proper stainless steel screw. As soon as the blades arrive - I will be finishing it off. Stay tuned...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it Konrad, simple clean design and great details.

Thanks for the update on what you've been working on.


13 January 2009 at 22:04  
Blogger Unknown said...

That's a beautiful tool. Wow.

13 January 2009 at 23:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just when I think I'm immune to further temptation, you pull out a functional beauty like that. I want one in the worst way. I hate to see what you'll come up with next.

Keep up the great work.


14 January 2009 at 05:44  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Everyone. I have certainly dropped the ball on the blog these last 6 months or so. I am hoping to post more frequently. There is always a lot going on in the shop - I guess I need to stop and take photos more often.

And Dan... all part of the evil plot my friend:)

Best wishes,

14 January 2009 at 07:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's looking great, Konrad - look forward to seeing the finished plane.

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

14 January 2009 at 13:01  
Blogger Aled said...

That's just soooo sweet.

Please do update your blog more frequently, I generally check it out at least every other day for updates, your work really blows me away.



14 January 2009 at 16:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a handsome mitre. Nice job.


14 January 2009 at 20:36  
Blogger raney said...

Gorgeous Konrad. Even before that stunning BRW made its way in, a beautiful execution.

I think the wedge was a very good choice, too. Can't wait to see it with the profled wedge and a blade.

15 January 2009 at 09:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks wonderful as usual. However you might want to consider changing the front infill. On (very) early Mitre planes - when they made them as big as yours - it was typical to have the inner edge of the front infill curl in a little so that you would have a little purchase when picking up the plane. (if you are interested I can send you a picture)

17 January 2009 at 10:53  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Paul. Trust me - I am looking forward to the finished plane too:)



17 January 2009 at 11:56  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Aled,

Thanks for your kind comments. I will do my best to post more often.


17 January 2009 at 11:57  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Joel,

Take a look at the photo with the maple test infill. Is that the curl you are talking about? It may not be too clear from the photo - but if there is something I have missed - please do send a photo to explain.


17 January 2009 at 11:59  

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