Thursday 24 February 2011

Shaping an A2 jointer front bun

This plane is not finished yet - I have another 4 coats of french polish to apply to the infill before I assemble the plane, but I thought I would do a short sequence on shaping the front bun.

I start off with a solid block (in this case Honduran Rosewood) and mark out the rough bun shape. I always leave plane parts about 1/8" over sized to give myself some wiggle room. In this case, there is a void in the top corner that I am hoping will be removed during the process... but I do want to stay as close to it as possible - there is a great bit of burl right beside it.

The fitting process is pretty simple - plane to fit. I am always thankful that I have infills to make infills.

Here is the block for the bun, fit to the shell. It is a very snug fit - I could take the plane out of the vise and pick it up by either the block for the bun, or by the handle.

The next step is to establish the shoulder where the infill transitions into the top edge of the bronze sidewall. This is done with chisels and then refined with a scraper and sandpaper.

A close up of the shoulder.

The above photo looks like I skipped a bunch of steps, but all this shaping is done on the bandsaw. I use my bandsaw a little like a shaper because it is very fast and accurate. I cannot imagine doing this type of work with a router or shaper (or any rotating cutter). I suspect the nature of their cutting action would mean I would have to work with fairly bland straight grained wood.

At this stage, I have done a fair amount of file work to refine the shape further. I have also started some of the sanding.

Here is the finished front bun. Below are some detail shots showing some of the amazing grain.

And a few photos with 8 coats of french polish..


Blogger nielscosman said...

Wow- just wow!

26 February 2011 at 14:59  
Blogger Ed Eubanks said...

Beautiful— nice work.

I wonder about one thing (out of complete ignorance): I see the very slight definition left from the round-over on the top of the bun, which is aesthetically nice because of the symmetry with the straight lines of the plane. But would it be more comfortable in the hand to have the round-over be completely flat on the top surface? It seems like, even as subtle as it is, that little rise would feel a little uneven in the palm, and the flatness would be welcome. Have you experimented with that at all?

26 February 2011 at 18:03  
Blogger Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

Gorgeous bit of wod,Konrad.I could tell it was going to be exceptional from the first picture.
I meant to ask some time ago,the curve that meets the sidewall,is that worked using the little compass style shoulder plane you have in your gallery?
Also,if you discovered that the small void in the corner with the burr went a little deeper than your design allowed,would you fill the hole or discard the piece & start again?

26 February 2011 at 18:23  
Blogger Blog Sleight said...

Your work is fantastic. The wood is sure spectacular.

26 February 2011 at 20:34  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Niels.


26 February 2011 at 21:57  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Ed - and a great question. If you look at the photos, you will notice that the corners of the top flat field are rounded a bit. When I am shaping this feature, I close my eyes and run my hand over the surface to make sure it is not too sharp. If I leave it square, it IS too sharp, but it is a very subtle thing to remove the corners a bit and kill the sharpness. The other thing this raised field does, is give your hand a point of reference as to where you are in the grip.


26 February 2011 at 21:59  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Black,

I wish I was that good with a shoulder plane to cut that shoulder! :)

It would really depend on how deep the small void would have been. As it turned out - it was completely gone. If there was a pin hole I would have either left it or filled it with a drop of CA glue just to fill it. In this instance, it would not have been a structural issue and I would have had no problem with filling it.

I have gotten pretty good with some specialized feelers to measure how deep a void goes. So far - they have all worked out very well.

I am finishing up a Honduran Rosewood burl filled No.4 and there was one very small void in the back that I filled. Again - it was a non-structural and in the middle of an "eye".


26 February 2011 at 22:15  
Anonymous Steve C said...

How you consistently find the most amazing infill wood is truly scary Konrad, I'm loving it. As for scrapping a hunk of rosewood like that if the void was more serious, a little CA glue sure goes a long way when you're looking at $100+/bdft material, no explanation needed!! (lol)


27 February 2011 at 00:23  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Steve - and thanks for your comment.

At the risk of this coming out wrong - I think the reason I keep finding the wood that I do is because it is the absolute highest priority for me. Metal is always available - so are most tools and machines. Those things are easy to find. Exceptional wood does not grow on trees anymore, so when I hear about some, I chase it down and am all to happy to pay top dollar for it. It has been my single focus almost from the beginning.As I mentioned in an earlier post - it is working with such amazing materials that continues to keep me interested and drives me forward.

Your comment about the CA glue touches on the other aspect of all this. I have a strong sense of responsibility to use this material as effectively and efficiently as I can. The idea of “wasting” any of it makes me crazy. I have gotten quite comfortable cutting things close because it allows me to use as much of the stock as possible. Cutting it close to this void is a perfect example. I could have shifted the whole block over 1/4" when I was roughing it out to miss the void. But there was no reason to and I would have wasted 1/4" that could have been used for another infill set. I also would have lost most of the figure in the corner - and that would have sucked.


27 February 2011 at 09:16  
Blogger Unknown said...


27 February 2011 at 22:29  
Blogger Konrad said...

thanks Tom - K

28 February 2011 at 20:29  
Anonymous Gary said...

Konrad...very interesting and absolutely wonderful work. It looks like you finish the bun bottom and sides. A question comes to mind as to how you fit the bun back into the body after you have built up a finish on the bottom and sides and how do you secure the bun into the body (OK - a couple of questions!)?

1 March 2011 at 21:20  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Gary,

I do finish the sides and bottom of the infill pieces. About 2 coats of french polish. When I go to fit the pieces, some of the finish does get scraped off.

The infill pieces are secured with cross pins. When you look at photos of bronze sided planes, there are usually steel "dots" on the sides. These are the cross pins that hold the infill in place.


1 March 2011 at 22:13  

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