Wednesday 17 October 2012

3 spare XSNo.4’s

Over the last couple of months I have been picking away at a few spare planes. I was looking through the shelves of roughed out sets and 2 of them jumped out at me immediately. The birds-eye Boxwood and the Desert Ironwood burl sets needed to be made. I also noticed a lonely Ebony set and recalled a naval brass lever cap and sides that I have never used. I usually prefer bronze to naval brass, but there is something about Ebony and naval brass that I have always liked. As I thought about these 3 sets, it occurred to me that each of these could be configured slightly differently which would illustrate how different materials interact with each other with very different effects. 

The Boxwood plane would have looked wonderful with either steel or bronze sides. Part of the thinking was how the Boxwood will patina in time. The yellow cast will fade and it will turn to a mellow straw color which will look quite striking with the patina that will develop on the bronze. I used brass cross pins to keep the sides a little cleaner, but used a steel cross pin for the lever cap.

 This XSNo.4 is 5-1/2" long with a 1-7/16" wide high carbon steel blade. The bed angle is 52.5 degrees. The Boxwood has been lightly oiled an finished with a coat of paste wax. The price of this plane is $1,850.00 Cdn + actual shipping costs.

The Desert Ironwood burl plane took a bit more thought. Steel sides was a given - but as I was working on it, I waffled on the lever cap material. I went so far as to take a photo of it and alter the color of the lever cap in Photoshop. Stainless was the winner because it looks wicked and meant each of the planes would have a different sidewall and lever cap materials.

 This XSNo.4ss is 5-1/2" long with a 1-7/16" wide high carbon steel blade. The bed angle is 52.5 degrees. The Desert Ironwood has 12 coats of French polish. The price of this plane is $2,050.00 Cdn + actual shipping costs.

The last plane in the trio is an Ebony filled XSNo.4. This plane has naval brass sides, lever cap and lever cap screw. I also used brass cross pins for a really clean look. I am quite pleased with how this little plane has turned out. The naval brass and Ebony look great together. The difference between the naval brass and bronze is subtle - but you can see it pretty clearly in the first photo at the top. I don’t think there are too many other woods that look good with naval brass - but Ebony certainly does.

 This XSNo.4 is 5-1/2" long with a 1-7/16" wide high carbon steel blade. The bed angle is 52.5 degrees. The Ebony has been lightly oiled and then 12 coats of French polish. The price of this plane is $1,800.00 Cdn + actual shipping costs.


Blogger Kevin Brehon said...

It's true that the difference between the brass and bronze is very subtle - I usually can't see the difference at all. I've often wondered what type of bronze you use and your reasons for choosing it over brass.

17 October 2012 at 22:06  
Blogger Konrad said...

Great question Kevin. I usually use C220 - sometimes called commercial bronze. I will not use 360 brass because I do not like the green cast to the color and it does not pien well and is prone to chipping and cracking. C220 works beautifully and develops a wonderful patina similar to gunmetal which is what traditionally used. Naval brass is a bit different. It is not as yellow as 360 brass, works like C220 and is not green when it ages.


18 October 2012 at 08:53  
Blogger Dave Beauchesne said...


Beautiful as usual!!
Nice of you to share the subtleties you use to determine material / wood combinations as well as the challenges you encounter as a tool maker.
I am off work sick for an undetermined amount of time - otherwise, I would pull the trigger on one of the masterpieces.
Dave Beauchesne

18 October 2012 at 10:18  
Blogger Chris Bame said...

Hi Konrad,
Nice trio of planes. Really like the desert ironwood.
Just have to say how amazing these planes work also.
Was using my K7 to square up a small block of wood for a pattern.It made it so easy to take another thou or so right where you need it even on end grain.
Really cool to see the two posts and to be able to see were you took the K7 to from the XSNo. 4

Cheers Chris

18 October 2012 at 11:12  
Blogger Steve Kirincich said...

Hi Konrad,
Does my A5 need a little brother?


18 October 2012 at 18:20  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 January 2013 at 13:43  

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Sunday 7 October 2012

September re-cap

This blog thing can really get away one you. I can’t believe the last post is a little over a month old. It has been a busy month with lots going on in the shop.

A new variation of the K7 - bronze sides and a bronze lever cap and screw.

It was really interesting to make this plane with bronze instead of steel and stainless. Brass cross pins really help maintain a clean profile.

Figured Honduran Rosewood doesn’t hurt either.

The owner of this plane has been keeping me posted as he has been using it and sending photos of the work he is doing. It was pretty cool to see someone else planing figured veneer.

Another plane variation - an A11 mitre plane with a bronze bridge and screw. Until this plane, all the A11 mitres were all steel. This was another really great variation and the little hit of bronze really works well with the Desert Ironwood. An all steel version would have looked great too... but I think this is even better.

The dining room chairs are now completed and have been moved into the house. It was great to get the space back in the shop - amazing how much room 5 chairs take up! The finishing process went much more smoothly than on the first chair. Even still - I was going a little snakey waiting for the finish to dry. Here are a few quick photos as I was bringing them into the house before it started raining.

I am in the early planing stages of the table now. We were really curious to see how the chairs would look in the dining room. We were also curious to see how they would look in a 4 chair configuration. Our dining room space is not huge, and we assumed that an expanding dining table (butterfly leaf to be exact) would be the best solution. We had visions of a 4 seat table in the middle of the room and then on the occasions when we needed more seating - we would expand the table to 6. I made 2 mock-up tops - one 4 seat top and then a 6 seat top (the 6 seater being the 4 seat top expanded). Funny thing is - the 4 seat top looked terrible. And I mean really terrible. I had the top on sawhorses and wondered if that was the problem. I brought in the 6 chair top and very quickly realized the problem was not the sawhorses - the 4 person top was just the wrong top. I stood there for a while staring at it somewhat dumbfounded. I opted to wait until Jill came home to see if she would have a similar response. She did and, we were both somewhat flabbergasted. We concluded that the 4 seat top was too small in relation to the chairs and that if a squarish table was going to work - it would need to be about 46" wide. That might have worked for a 4 seat table, but would not work as an expandable table. The other issue is that the 4 person top was too close in proportion to the light fixture above it. It created a visual column that was not pleasing at all.

We have decided on a fixed table that will hold all 6 chairs. I am both relieved and disappointed. Relieved that a fixed base table will be much simpler (maybe, faster?) to make, but a little bit sad that I cannot mess around with a butterfly leaf design. They are so cool! The other good thing about having a 6 seat table is all the chairs will have a home. 

I covered the floor in kraft paper and traced the mock-up top onto it. We then placed the table top back onto the saw horses making sure that the top was in line with the outline on the paper. We then placed the chairs and marked the locations of the feet. We marked both the “tucked in” position as well as the sitting position. We also marked where our feet were located. I figured it would be a good idea to take the time and make a road-map of where everything was. There is nothing worse than sitting at a table and having to straddle a table leg or something. I am hoping it will help in the base design process. I have 2 rough designs in mind - one is a trestle style base and the other a 4 leg design. I suspect I will mock-up both with some construction grade lumber.

 Here are a few photos of the chairs around the MDF mock-up top.

There are several shows coming up starting with next weekend (Oct. 12th and 13th) at A&M woods in Cambridge Ontario.  It is their 40th anniversary and it was timed perfectly with Lie Nielsen’s handtool event. There is a great line up of demonstrators and should be a fantastic event.

Woodworking in America is coming up as well. November 2nd to the 4th.This is always a great event and a chance to catch up with old friends.

There is a new event called HandWorks that I am really excited about. It is a not for a while yet - but worth marking on your schedules now. There is a pretty amazing line-up of people demonstrating and showing their work.

 That’s about it for September. Working with Pink Ivory, birds-eye Boxwood and Desert Ironwood burl right now - there is some pretty funky looking dust under my tail vise - Neapolitan ice cream comes to mind.


Anonymous robert said...


Wow! Really nice chairs! The wood and craftsmanship are equal to each other.

I'm sure you've thought of this being a graphics guy, but one thing about your MDF mock up - you may want to stain it or paint it the color of the wood you plan on using for the top. That may change things a bit - especially the base's visual weight in relation to the top - but even the sizing and thickness of the top might change with color.

Also, the steel/bronze mix on that plane is very cool.

7 October 2012 at 17:59  
Blogger Richard Wile said...

Nice Chairs Konrad as I have said before, but I could not read this without saying something about that mitre plane - mmmm Desert Ironwood - me like...


8 October 2012 at 05:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The chairs look really great, Konrad.

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

8 October 2012 at 06:40  
Blogger Chris Bame said...

Hey I recognize that K7 !! Lovin it!!
The desert Ironwood Mitre Plane nice looker also.

Chairs turned out great Konrad. I like the shape of your top you mocked up. Can't wait to see what you do for legs.

Cheers Chris

8 October 2012 at 14:47  
Blogger Cyrus said...

Every time I see a new post on my RSS next to your blog I get a little bolt of excitement. Part of what makes your blog great is the high quality, keep it up, I know it takes a lot of effort! I really like studying your art, you are lucky to have the talent and dedication to create the work and spend the time to share it with all of us!

The chair set you made is a real masterpiece. I cant wait to see the table to go along with it!


8 October 2012 at 16:58  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

Beautiful work as always, both on the plane front and the furniture side. I really like the warmth the bronze adds to the K7 shown. Have you ever done a bronze sole&sides? That might keep the lines clean. Perhaps tweak the side dovetail angle/shape to be K-style somehow?

10 October 2012 at 13:22  
Blogger Carl Jara said...

The chairs are amazing, love the subtle curves from every angle, contrasted with the sharp lines and points. Every time I check back on your build I go out into my own shop and draw all over my roughed out chairs. I'm glad you're finished because I'd never get around to finishing if you kept it up.
I've got the same problem with my table, think the idea of a mock top in place with the fished chairs is a great one! And Robert is SO right about replicating the color! The lumber for mine has been in the rafters of my shop for three years now, and I'm terrified to even start. Been through a hundred variations for the base on paper and Sketchup, and have resigned myself to the fact that it can't even start till the chairs are done.
Thanks for the confirmation of my instincts!

13 October 2012 at 09:58  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Robert,

A great suggestion to color the MDF to simulate a walnut top. To be honest, the top was so obviously wrong, coloring it was not needed. The issue had to do with the dimensions of it being so close to that of the light fixture above it.

Interestingly - we used the 6 seat top mock-up for thanksgiving and when we put a table cloth on it, it still looked "right". That was another good confirmation that we are on the right track.


14 October 2012 at 17:34  
Blogger Konrad said...

Ha - thanks Richard. Thought you might like that one:)


14 October 2012 at 17:35  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Chris,

Glad to hear you are enjoying it and thanks for all the pics.


14 October 2012 at 17:35  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks for your very kind comments Cyrus. It is a fair amount of effort to keep the blog going, but comments and and encouragement really does keep the motivation going.And motivation to get to the table! :)


14 October 2012 at 17:37  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for the suggestion. There have been a few points where I considered a bronze sole, but never that seriously (not sure why not really). I agree with you though - this might be a good plane to try it with. Hmmmm.


14 October 2012 at 17:39  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Carl,

Thanks for the very kind comments and note. It is really wonderful to hear that my little blog has been somewhat inspiring for you. Having the chairs completed feels pretty great. I can remember back several months thinking they would never be done. You will get there too. Taking your time is not always a bad thing either - it lets you work out a lot of little details that might otherwise be missed. Keep me posted as you continue to work on them.


14 October 2012 at 17:43  
Blogger Tim Raleigh said...

Damn, those chairs look amazing.
I would have missed them if it hadn't been for Jameel's post today.

2 April 2013 at 16:40  

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