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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Tuesday 10 May 2016

A new jointing plane - 24" version

I had thought my jointing plane making days were over... glad they weren’t!

This was a rather large undertaking. A new size with a few alterations. The first order of business was adjusting the design to a 24" plane. It is not as simple as adding 3/4" to each end of a 22-1/2" plane. Everything needs to be scaled accordingly. ‘Accordingly’ is code for ‘make it look right’. I use a rough mathematical approach, but for the most part, I rely on my eyes to evaluate things.

The front bun is pushed forward which allows it to be lowered at the same time. Forward by about 3/8". Not very much, but it allows for an interesting addition to the plane. It extends the size of the cove at the back of the upper portion of the bun - you can see it above. This provides an additional location to place ones thumb for doing edge jointing. I am a big fan of a pinch grip when edge jointing - placing your thumb on the top and then using your index finger as a fence along the edge of the board below. Lowering the bun also helps, and is just low enough that I can get a good functional pinch grip even with my smallish hands.

One technical challenge of this plane was the fact that the cove on the sides of the top portion of the bun are lower than cove at the back of the bun. This made for an interesting shaping approach, but I think the effect was well worth the effort and the detail has become a favourite of mine.  The goal is always nice visually crisp work that is also touchable and tactile.

The infill is Honduran Rosewood, the sides and sole are 01 tool steel, the lever cap and screw are bronze as is the knurled end of the adjuster. The 2-5/8" blade is high carbon steel, bedded at 47.5 degrees. It weighs 11.75lbs - exactly the same as my 22-1/2" bronze sided, African Blackwood filled jointing plane. Interesting to see the effects of changing materials.

Packaging these large, heavy planes is best done in a custom fitted block of 3" foam. I use a jig saw to cut out the opening and use a comic book storage box to contain it (yes, I was an avid comic book reader, and still have a box of comics lovingly bagged and stored away). 


Blogger Chris Bame said...

Hi Konrad,
Sweet plane as always! Noticed your bench in the last shots. Very Nice. I just sorta finished my bench this fall. I have to say the combination of Benchcrafted vices and your plane is tops!!! My favorite tools to work with in my shop.

12 May 2016 at 16:19  
Blogger John said...

Makes me want to see a k-24

14 May 2016 at 00:36  
Blogger John said...

Question: how many of Konrad's friends would like to see him A: making a combination of tradition designs along with his on K series plans, or B. sticking to his guns on making K planes of his own design, which, to my mind, exceed in the beauty of their lines and ease of use any and all planes that have come before them?

14 May 2016 at 23:53  
Blogger Unknown said...

This might be a new favourite for me.
Well done as always!

15 May 2016 at 02:53  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks for the kind comments Chris.

Interestingly, one of the first tasks of the jointing plane was to flatten the new owners workbench. I have been toying with the idea of building yet another bench just so I can install a Benchcrafted leg vise... how crazy is that!?


25 May 2016 at 06:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Yeah, me too John. Although I think a K22 will be first.

Interesting question in your second part - I would be curious to hear how people answer it.


25 May 2016 at 06:52  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Owen.

25 May 2016 at 06:53  

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