I realized, in the process of packing up my hand tool shop to move, that I still have 3 projects in various stages of completion (except, of course, the last stage… which is complete). To maximize my efficiency, I have to make the decisions of an overbooked hospital: what can I actually accomplish with my time and tools available? In other words: Triage.
So. The Anarchist’s Tool Chest? Packed and enroute to England. The Table that I was so close to finishing? Packed and enroute to England. But the Bubinga block I set aside to mold into a York Pitched Hand Plane? Saved and still with me!
There’s an upside and downside to doing this project during these stressed times. The bad: I’m a complete hypocrite… I used 100% power tools to complete the project, because that’s all I had at my disposal. The good: I knocked off a project that could have joined the others in a 6-month hiatus.
I measured and cut a 50° blade angle (and 62° front angle) using a table saw… I would’ve used a band saw (in accordance with David Finck), but the woodshop already had a jig that measured out and cut accurate angles via a table saw. The jig (believe it or not) brought it flat and true.
I jumped a step and, rather than set the pegs to keep the sides (and mouth of the plane) set at a certain distance, I routed out the slot for the chip breaker screw. After I routed the slot, I checked it and started closing the mouth until the blade was about two millimeters shy of the opening. So far it looks good…
Now to jump tracks. So far I’ve been using this awesome figured Bubinga… but I wanted a little bit of contrast, so I used Italy’s common weed-wood: Beech. I cut a square strip of it and, with a hollow bit used to make plugs, I drilled the pegs for the cross pin. Then it’s just a matter of carefully using a bandsaw to take down the shoulders (at left). I stress carefully (that’s pretty close for fingers with a bandsaw – I would’ve much preferred my back saw).
Now it’s just a matter of putting the blade in place (above right) and measuring out where you will center the cross pin. I did this per David Finck’s guidance.
With the cross-pin set, now it’s just a matter of glueing it up. I honestly used about 10 clamps to make this happen. It was semi-tedious to ensure the temporary pins and the cross pin line up as you tighten… and you don’t want to get glue on the blade bed/throat of the plane! Consider yourself forewarned.
After 24 hours of setting and flattening the soul of the plane (again, I cheated and used the base shop’s big drum sander for this), it’s time for the fun part: shaping the plane. Ok, really I would’ve preferred to make some test cuts with a sharp blade, but I didn’t have a way to sharpen the blade and I had accidentally dropped it, putting a nick in it on one edge, as I was building the plane.
I found the best way to shape it was by drawing on the side of the plane and cutting to the line with a bandsaw. Of course, that keeps everything very square and not too comfortable to hold.
So to get to a more organic, comfortable shape, I fine tuned the basic shape with a Disc Sander. Of course, I started with a Random Orbital Sander you see above (using 60-grit paper), but that was taking me forever! Once Stefano showed me the disc sander, it made quick work of the final shaping: about 30 minutes to get the final shaping. For the wedge, I used the scrap triangular piece of Bubinga (cut from making the throat of the plane) and added in a Beech stripe. This was shaped the same way: cut on the band saw, sanded to final shape on the disc/belt sander, then fine tuned with an orbital sander.
Then back to the Random Orbital Sander with a fine grain for final sanding. A little bit of Boiled Linseed Oil, and viola.
One project finished via triage; two more to go once I get my feet under me in England. Of note, I got to hang out with the guy that originally inspired me to do this project while in transit to England, but that’s for the next post… gimme a little bit to get back on my feet!