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Archive for June 2013

  • #4 Plane - Seating the and setting frog

    Saturday 29th June 2013

    4 Plan Frog Seating

    Luckily for me seating the frog was easy. It took nothing more than using 220 grit silicone carbide powder and a little water. This was applied to the meeting faces of the frog and rubbed until the meeting faces had a nice even contact. I have highlighted these areas so you can see the even grey marks where the surfaces have been honed to fit sweetly. The aim of this step is to ensure the frog has a nice even bearing point with no rocking.

    After a clean off the frog was installed and set in an advanced position. The adjustment of the frog was smooth, quick and easy. This is surely down to clean and lubricated adjustment screws and a nice even frog seating. The reason for the tight mouth is to reduce the chance of tear out. I then sharped it (no time to covering sharpening, that can of worms is for another time) on a fine India oilstone with a further hone on a very fine natural oilstone.

    The cap iron was attached with a close fit to the cutting edge of about 0.5>1mm. and the whole thing was set ready to go.

    4 Fine Mouth

    The moment of truth was to do some trial cuts. I don’t really use exotic timbers, the best challenge I could present was long and end grain oak. I used some calipers to illustrate how fine the #4 smoothing plane can go.

    I went for the end grain first and thought I would go for a heavy cut

    4 Plane End Grain

    Nice! And then a fine long grain cut too

    4 plane long grain

    So there it is. Next time a quick review of what was done and some conclusions.

  • #4 Plane & The Frog

    Monday 24th June 2013

    4 Plane Frog

    This #4 plane tune up is becoming quite full on. The next section to receive some attention is the frog. This Record #4 has the old style of frog which on first glance gives a nice wide surface area to support the blade. After removing the frog I followed the tips on the Rexmill tune up section. I attached some 240 wet and dry to a piece of toughened glass and began what I thought would be a a quick tidy up. As you can see from the photo above the casting was very hollow indeed, far from a nice flat surface area! This flattening process took some time to get the frog nicely flat. At this stage I just don’t know if all the extra effort will pay off but I’m happy to give it a try and then contrast it against my other two other #4 planes.

    4 Plane Frog Flattening

    I also reattached the knob and tote. I chose only to buff the original paint work with a little 3 in 1 as the paint is in quite good condition. The brass adjustment wheel and retention screws were polished with some brass polish. This whole process has really got me thinking about all the surfaces and the flatness. One further thing I considered is that after taking the time to flatten the frog, what if the bevel face side of the blade that sits on the frog is not flat? I have seen no guidance on this and probably with good reason too. But as an experiment I rubbed the blade over some flat abrasive and found it was far from flat. So as trial I’m going to flatten the face of the blade that sits on the frog. Probably stupid and pointless but why should that stop me?

    4 Plane Tote

  • #4 Plane – Preparing the Cap Iron & Handles

    Friday 21st June 2013

    Cap Iron 4

    With the rust removed from the cap iron it was time to fine tune it. Following guidance from an article written by David Charlesworth I increased the angle of the cap iron and then polished it to remove any scratches. The concept is to allow the shaving to pass smoothly over the cap iron with no obstruction. I also flattened the underside of the cap iron where it meets the blade. It is critical the joint between blade and cap iron is tight. Any gaps here will allow shavings to get stuck causing the plane to choke.

    I also removed the knob and handle. Both of these were is a bad way. The original varnish had flaked of long ago and the wood beneath had become very grubby. Even with a lot of elbow grease they have not come up to a clean pale beech finish although they are now smooth, comfortable and honest in appearance. I sealed them with a coat of boiled linseed oil.

  • Wooden Smoothing Plane

    Friday 14th June 2013

    Coffin Plane

    Wow, what a hectic week. Much of my time has been taken up with fitting an Accoya Conservatory here in Devon. Always good to be away from the workshop for a while on a site fit. One bad thing is some things do get neglected back at HQ. For those who have a slower response than normal to calls and e-mails I’m sorry, normal service should be resumed next week.

    Because of time away from the workshop there has been no time to finish the #4 refurb. To ease the pain of not finishing I indulged in a bit of retail therapy via e-bay. So far there is only one wooden plane in the tool chest, a Marples toothing plane that was purchased with the view to try a toothed bench top (when the bench get’s built). After some general browsing I found this wooden smoother and was able to secure it for a modest £15.00 including delivery.

    These simple wooden planes were once the only show in town for day to day use. Metal planes were generally limited to the English infill type and were reserved for fine finishing only. With the advent of the American Bailey pattern metal plane the wooden planes slowly faded away. I look forward to contrasting the performance of the wooden plane and my #4. I will leave you with two quotes from the perspective of an Edwardian Joiner on the pros and cons of the wooden and Bailey type planes

    The common Wooden Stock plane is comparatively low in price, and will stand rough usage better than either of the others, being in fact practically indestructible. It works rapidly and easily, and can be adjusted by means of the cover iron to suit hard or softwoods. On the other hand it will not produce so highly finished surface as a metal plane; and it requires frequent shooting, and remouthing occasionally, to keep it in good condition.“ The American type has for it’s chief recommendation cheapness and readiness of adjustment. It is easy to work in consequence of it’s lightness, but this quality also acts detrimentally in causing “chatter” which prevents production of so highly finished surface as the English form is capable of. However, its general results are higher than those of the common wood plane. Many ingenious time-saving attachments make it a rapid worker, but it is very fragile, and will seldom survive an accidental fall from the bench”

    George Ellis 1902 Modern Practical Joinery

  • #4 Plane & The Stay-Set Cap Iron

    Wednesday 5th June 2013

    With the sole nicely flattened it’s time to tune up the other elements of the plane. First up is some rust removal from the chip breaker/cap iron. This #4 Record came with a Stay Set cap iron which was a nice surprise, more on that later.

    Cap Iron

    As can be seen in the photo the chip breaker is in quite a bad way with heavy rust. It was the ideal chance to trial a product I purchased a while back for this very task. The aim of using this product was to save on a bit on time and elbow grease. It seemed to good to be true. All I needed to do was to remove any loose rust with a wire brush, then apply a coating of the rust remover approximately 2mm thick, working it into the rust with a paintbrush and let it do its thing for half and hour. As the rust was so heavy I did this for a 3 hour period.

    Hammerite Rust Remover

    The rust remover was nice to use. No strong smell and although gloves were worn when it did come into contact with the skin there was no unpleasant burning sensations! Having said that I was not initially impressed with the progress. In my mind I had assumed a foamy residue of rust lifting off, not so. I did keep applying and brushing on a little more every 30 minuets and after the 3 hours I was about to throw the rest of the rust remover away. Thankfully just before I did so I washed off the solution as per the instruction and I was amazed at how most of the rust just came away. OK so there is still a bit of rust but that chip breaker was in a really bad way.

    Record Stay Set Chip Breaker

    To give it a final clean up I rubbed it down with some 240 grit and hey presto a presentable chip breaker.

    Two Piece Cap Iron

    As I mentioned this #4 had a Record “Stay Set” chip breaker. The chief advantage of the “Stay Set” is that it does not create the same bending forces on the blade that a regular chip breaker does. The photos below illustrate my point. The advantage of this is that a nice flat blade has a maximum contact area on the frog, therefore reducing or as Record claimed at the time eliminating chatter. Record dropped the Stay Set concept long ago, but the two piece chip breaker is still going strong thanks to Clifton Planes who fit the two piece chip breaker to all their premium bench planes.

    Two Piece Chip Breaker

    Chip Breaker

    Next up is a final tune up of the chip breaker and a blade sharpen.

  • #4 Plane

    Saturday 1st June 2013

    With the block plane refurbished and ready for work it’s time to turn my attention to the #4 Smoothing Plane. The #4 is the first of the “Bailey” pattern planes to receive attention. A smoothing plane does what you would expect with a name like smoothing. It applies a fine finish to your work after the use of the fore/jack and trying/jointer plane. It is also used for leveling and flattening of joints.

    4 Plane

    My purchase is an early Record #4 plane featuring a nice high surface area frog. Overall condition is good with all issues mainly cosmetic. As with the block plane this will not be restored to original condition, presentable and well prepared will do just fine for me. I found inspiration here on how to prepare a Bailey plane. Follow the link, Select “Tune Up” and scroll to the bottom of the page and there is a breakdown of how an expert cabinet maker does it. I’m anxious to try this and find out if I notice the difference when compared to my day job #4 and my budget #4 I bough on a whim. The first job is to ensure I have a flat sole on the plane. A flat sole ensures fine accurate shavings can be produced. As you can see from the image below the sole is scored and marked and far from clean. In it’s favour though it is just about straight when offered up to a straight edge.

    Smooth Plane

    Flattening the sole of such a short plane is not too much of an arduous task. I attached 3 lengths of abrasive to a known flat surface. As the sole is quite mucky I picked an 80 grit to quickly clean up the sole, then a 120 grit and to finish a 240 grit. The blade must remain in the plane and be under the normal tension. Do ensure though the blade is fully retracted. It is then a simple operation of moving the sole of the plane up and down the abrasive. As my sole is quite heavily marked it was easy to see where was being abraded and where was not. If you have a clean sole, marker pen lines drawn across the sole will serve as your indicator.

    Smoothing Plane

    After about 10 to 15 minutes I had it flat and level. To protect the freshly exposed clean metal I polished in some 3 in 1 oil. After this I used the same abrasives to tidy the outer cheeks of the plane, they were also treated with 3 in 1.

    4 Smoothing Plane

    The next stage will be to strip the plane down and inspect, refurbish and sharpen as required