Posts Tagged ‘hand planes

27
Feb
09

Episode 14 – The Well-Dressed Bench

Dressed up like a million dollar trouper
Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper
Super duper
Come let’s mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks
Or “um-ber-ellas” in their mitts
Puttin’ on the Ritz…

This week we are covering tap dancing; do you see Fred Astaire dancing around like he’s on strings? Okay, well, go rent old movies. They’re wonderful. And it’s okay, too, because we are Galoots — Retro ‘R Us.

ms-holdfast_big

An example of a holdfast in action, and another one on hold... (These are Gramercy Tools offerings.)

This week we are covering bench accoutrements, what the English call appliances and Americans often call them fixtures. These are work bench supplements that help us hold our stock while we work it.

No appliance is really more simple than the holdfast. We just slip our holdfast into a dog hole, or holdfast hole if we use square dogs, apply what Moxon calls the “Beak” to our stuff, and give it a rap at the bend point. The stuff will be held fast. I’ve found that it pays to keep a couple of them around, for they save a lot on your knees. Seriously — you don’t have to climb up on the bench to sit on your workpiece, and you don’t have to jamb your knees jumping down!

bench-hook

The humble, noble, wonderful, simple, bench hook.

I like simple tools. No, that’s not exactly precise; I am enthralled with simple tools, and the simpler the more the attraction. Among the simplest is the bench hook; make it right it your own shop — no one sells these things and that’s because most tool vendors have conciences. You can even make effective bench hooks out of scrap plywood you have laying around, and come to think of it that’s not a bad idea. Mine is made out of 3/4 oak, with each cleat 3/4 x 3/4. I made up another bench hook by cutting 1-1/2″ off of one side of my hook and fastening 3/4 x 3/4 cleats identical to the bench hook itself – a mini bench hood. The idea is that when I work longer stock I can put something with identical dimentions to the main bench hook at the other end of the bench, or somewhere along in there, to support the workpiece at the proper height. Bench hooks are made to hold our stuff whenever we are sawing (primarily) but it does fine for other occasions as well, such as trimming up tenons, etc.

shooting-board1

Nice shooting board, Tex!

A sort of variation on the bench hook comes with the shooting board. Designed for one thing, really, and that’s making sure the end of our stock is precisely 90 degrees square with the reference edge of the stock. Used in conjuction with a plane, the shooting board is something we want to make sure is absolutely precise and stays that way. You can tell from the Sketchup drawing at the right that our stock is placed against the fence, and a plane is placed on its side, iron oriented toward the thickest field of the shooting board, and the plane is advanced. As the plane moves toward toward the stock, the stock wants to run, but is trapped by the fence allowing the plane to shave the end grain. I added the trough between the 2 fields in order to keep shavings/dust from tipping my plane out of square. Probably overkill, but it’s mine, dagnabit. If you are a framer (as in, picture frames) you can vary this concept easily by simply changing the angle you plough your dado at. I used a 3/4 dado 1/4″ deep, which gives my 3/4 batten (for the fence) a reveal of 1/2″. This means that if I shoot any stock smaller than 1/2″, I’ll either have to plane down my fence, build another shooting board, or find somebody with a thickness planer (not!) Anyway, one can simply run a dado at 45 degrees, and there is a mitre board. Set up a shooting board for 78-1/2 degrees if you regularly to multi-sided mirror frames or clock faces. Or something.

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Shades of "It's a wonderful life," the Donkey's Ear.

donkey-ear-view-2

Donkey's ear -- all the resonance of Beethoven...

Miters are for putting a 45 degree angle across the face of a board. What if we want to miter the edge of the board? We go out, find the nearest Jerusalem donkey, and lop an ear off! This strange contraption is actually known as a Donkey’s ear. Note the fence on the 45 degree surface, and how that surface forms a fence for our plane to ride against as well. In use, the piece underneath the plane table is chucked into a vice, the stock held against the vice, and away we go! On any shooting board its always a good idea to have the sides of our planes lubricated a bit with paraffin or ordinary candle wax. Here’s another view of the donkey’s ear. I have measured drawings available for any of these (NO, I’m not wearing a flannel shirt and beard!) If you are interested, please email me at mack AT thewoodshepherd DOT com.

Oh yeah…

And now, a podcast!

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31
Jan
09

Episode 12 – Hand Planes, Part 2

Specialty Planes

tools-014

Veritas Skewed Rabbet plane. Not skewered rabbit. NO.

The Web’s Only Totally Galoot Podcast(tm) continues our journey through the drawer of hand planes by picking up and examining the scrub plane. So many of these planes are made from old smoothers, and I thought I had an original idea. Someday I’ll be able to afford the LN 40. Maybe. Our next stop is with the variety of rabbet and plough (plow) planes available today. I’ve become a huge fan of Veritas’ skewed rabbet plane, shown here on the right.

norris-infill-shoulder-no-7

Norris No.-7 Infill

There are actually all kinds of ways to cut rabbets and dados, and to plough grooves (to dado is to groove a trench that run perpendicular to the grain, and to plough is to to groove a trench parallel to the grain,) including using knives to score the borders and chisels to remove the waste, but this is admittedly long and tedious in process, and not particularly accurate over the long haul (DAMHIKT.) We therefore turn to rabbet, shoulder, fillister (moving and/or standing), and plough planes to get the job done. On the left is a Norris No.-7 infill shoulder plane, the object of many a poor Galoot’s lust.

stanley-48

A crispy Stanley No.-48 match plane, for a match made in heaven.

The match plane is the traditional name for the plane that makes tongues and grooves. Prior to today’s wonder glues, tongue and groove construction was just about as strong as it gets in terms of joining the edges of boards together, since glue really isn’t much of a factor. In the old farmhouse we live in, for example, the floors are all dry tongue and groove, and since they were installed 90 years ago they have each shrunk despite best efforts to maintain a finish on them (cheezy linoleum aside.) Wood shrinks the greatest at its width, and as each plank shrinks it tends to pull back from its neighbor. Having the tongue in between the planks keeps (or at least slows down) the breezes from blowing up through between the planks. FWIW, all the ceilings are beaded board tongue and groove as well. These are photos of my extremely cool Stanley No.-48 match plane, which makes making perfect tongues and grooves extremely easy.

Stanley 98-99

Stanley No.-98, No.-99 Side Rabbet planes. For planing your side rabbets.

The Sanley No.-98 and No.-99 are kind of the standard by which other side rabbet planes are judged, and they are always very welcome in the tool chest. The reason is not hard to understand; if you plough your dado at exactly 5/8″, but you find out your stock is 17/32″, you can choose to plane your stock, which will necessitate re-thicknessing the stock you are woorking on, and need more effort because the stock has probably got a lot more surface area than the dado sides have. Whip one of these babies out, get after the side of the dado, and in no time its just like the woodworking elves have taken care of the problem for you, while you were sleeping. Even those recovering Normites that use dado stacks set up for birch plywood purchased from a Blue Big Box store and then go to their plywood stash and grab an old piece of Orange Big Box store birch plywood for something like that… oh, say… one last shelf in some, just for example, shop furniture project along the lines of, just for example, say, a Spagnuolo-inspired torsion-box assembly table, just off the top of my head… could use one of these with differing plywood widths. You would have to find a 98 or 99 set up for the metric system, however. I’m really glad that nothing like that has happened to me, thought. (Whew!)

I wish we had time, space, etc. to cover all the arcane and even weird planes out there. We have an increasing number of extremely high quality plane makers that are turning out heirloom-quality stuff, and the ones I’ve met are so cool because they love woodworking and they love being with Galoots and talking about woodworking. I need to lift up at least a couple of them for attention. First up is Jim Leamy, who seriously didn’t mind that I was flat broke and that his planes are worth more than my wife’s car, he just wanted to chat with me. I’m afraid that I’m usually a better conversant – I was rather busy staring at his work. These are only a couple of his planes:

jim-leamy-center-wheel2

Jim Leamy's Center Wheel Plough Plane

jim-leamy-mahogany_plow_2

Jim Leamy's Mahogany Plough. Yup, accents are ivory. I-v-o-r-y.

jim-leamys-ultimate

Jim Leamy's Ultimate model. Wonder how it got THAT name...

Please visit my hand plane web pages for a list of great links!

Oh yeah, the Podcast:




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