Saturday, 17 October 2015

Infill Fitting

I was fitting a gidgee infill in another low-slung smoother this weekend and recorded a short video. The final fit is a one shaving at a time process. Nothing technically challenging, but it was nice to get some time in the shop. The front infill is quite small, so my squirrel tail plane is a nice sized plane for the job.

Happy Shavings!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Gidgee Burl

"As rare as hen's teeth"

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Plane Adjustment Hammer

My latest little project is this plane adjustment hammer.   (Click on any photo to enlarge).

The hammer head is made from Gidgee and brass. The striking faces are Maple and Ebony, which are attached by a sliding dovetail. For adjusting a plane, I use the Maple face for tapping the plane body and the Ebony face to tap and laterally adjust the blade. The handle is made from a piece of Victoria Ash, which is mortised through the head and wedged with Ebony. The hammer head weighs 6.5 oz.

Here are some links for other plane hammers:

Sterling Tool Works,
Lee Valley Plane Hammer,,41182
Glen-Drake Toolworks,

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Filing the mouth opening of an infill plane

At this stage I am feeling pretty good because I am in the home stretch. If my layout was done accurately from the start, then there should not be much filing to do to achieve a nice tight opening. The first step is to lap the sole flat. Then I take a square and mark a couple of reference lines across the mouth with a fine pencil. Before filing I make sure that my bench lights are set so I get a good reflection off the area that is being filed. When I feel like I am getting close, I put the blade in and hold it up to a bright light.

It is important to have the blade lapped and sharpened so I can accurately gauge my progress. In the photo you can see that I am getting close but the blade is not yet protruding through the sole. I keep filing and checking to the light until the blade just peeks through and I can see just a minute line of light across the mouth opening. Now I install the blade and lever cap in the plane and set it to take a nice even shaving.

I can then turn the plane over and take a look. At this stage the opening is only visible by sighting through a bright light. This of course is too tight, so I file a little more until I am happy with the size of the opening.

A little more clean up around the edges and it’s finished. When I resharpen the blade for smoothing I will ease the edges of the blade more aggressively. Now I just have to sand the plane, polish up the brass sides and apply the finish. Here are some photos of the finished plane. The sides are naval brass and the infill is a beautiful piece of ringed gidgee.

1 ½” low-slung smoother, 6 ¾” long, 1 ½” wide blade, 50° pitch, Gidgee infill

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Number One 1” Low-Slung Smoother

1” Low-slung smoother- 5 ½” long, 1” wide blade, 50° pitch, Gidgee infill

I had two weeks off in early January and it was a great time to get in the shop. No distractions, taking my morning coffee, opening my humble little shop and smelling freshly cut gidgee… I could get used to this! Here are a few more photos of the plane that I made in the time. Click on any image to enlarge.

This is my smallest low-slung smoother. I tweaked the shape a bit by introducing a four degree slope to the front of the plane. It felt more natural when shaping the front bun and I think the four degree slope gives this design a racier aesthetic. This effect will be more visible on the larger sizes of this style plane, as the rear infill of the plane stretches out. I am pretty confident that this will be the last change to the design. I am happy to say that this plane is sold and safely in the hands of its new owner overseas.