Monday, 13 June 2016

Stanley #51 & 52 plane and shoot board

Wow! This year is flying by. As I said in my last blog post, my wife and I are doing some house renovations and we are neck deep in tearing out the kitchen. (Click on any photo to enlarge).

The reno is not allowing me time to make any planes but I am however, still taking a little time here and there to refurb some old tools. My latest is this old Stanley #51 & 52 plane and shoot board.

I was given an opportunity to purchase this from a friend, who is selling off his collection. I did not want to purchase this plane just because it was a cool object. I wanted to see how well this old plane and shoot board performed. My friend was happy for me to take it and if I could get it working, then money would exchange hands. The whole thing was covered in a thick layer of dust, so I gave it a good wipe down, covered it in Camellia oil and it sat for several weeks before I could get back to it. I then wiped all the oily residue off with a rag and some methylated spirits. When the plane body was clean, I could then get a good look at the plane’s condition and how well it was machined. The plane body was square and looked good. The next order of business was to sharpen the blade and tune the chip breaker. The back of the blade flattened up quickly, however you can see that there is a considerable amount of pitting in the blade.

I knew that it would work but, I need to get a replacement blade. I will probably try a Lee Valley replacement in that fancy “PMV-11” steel.

Then I needed to tune up the frog. I apologise that I didn’t get any photos of this process, but at the time I was more worried about getting it done than grabbing the camera. The frog did need a serious tuning. It was not meeting to the plane body very well, so I unscrewed it and filed the mating surfaces until everything was true. I screwed the frog back to the body and then trued up the entire bed angle. Next I turned my attention to the #52 shoot board.

The track that the plane runs in will wear over time so it can be adjusted to allow for this.

The adjustment screws and bolts were seized solid, so I soaked them in a pool of WD-40 for a few days. The next photo shows the shoot board, flipped over and one of the four bolts in it’s WD-40 bath.

By the next weekend the bolts were free and the fence was again adjustable. It was now time for the long awaited test drive. My engineer square was telling me that the plane body was nice and square but I was curious to see how flat the sole was. A quality straight edge is fine, but I like to test flatness by using another plane. If you have a plane made by Lie Nielson or Veritas, then it should be well machined and pretty damn flat. I jointed a piece of wood with my Lie Nielson 5½ Jack Plane and took a few light shavings. The old Stanley followed up the 5½ with equally thin shavings, no problem. So I knew that the sole was good and true.

Now it was time to see how it felt while shooting using the #52. Up until now my shooting set up has been the Veritas low angle jack and it has done a great job.

Here is a short video of the old Stanley in action. I am really happy with it and am confident that it will perform even better when I get the new thicker replacement blade.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Bullnose plane refurb

My wife and I have decided to do some house renovations so unfortunately there won’t be much plane making happening in the shop this year. I will however be taking a little time here and there to fix up some old tools that I have acquired. The first is this old, gunmetal bullnose plane.

As you can see from the photo it needs a new blade, wedge and a good tune up. (Click on any photo to enlarge).

First I mark out the new blade on a piece of ⅛” thick, 01 tool steel.

I make sure that I saw close to my layout line so I don’t have to do too much filing.

Then I file the bevels.

The new blade next to the old one.

I send the blade to the heat-treaters and then make sure that the bed angle is true.

Now I concentrate on lapping the sole and sides.

A little extra pressure here and there while lapping is how I fine tune for squareness. I use the old blade and wedge while lapping so I can keep working while the new blade is being heat treated. After I get the blade back and sharpened, I can make the new wedge.

I decided to use a cutoff of Kingwood for the new wedge and I think that it polished up quite nicely.

A couple of short afternoons of work and I have another handy little plane for the toolbox.

Monday, 4 January 2016

New low-slung smoother

For this plane I decided to simplify things further by eliminating the chip breaker. This allows the user to resharpen and get back to smoothing without too much fuss. Also the plane is extremely easy to set up and adjust using a small plane hammer.

I made the blade from 6mm thick 01 tool steel. A 3/16" thick (4.76mm) or 5mm thick blade would be sufficient but I had heaps of 6mm tool steel off cuts. The infill wood is another beautiful piece of ringed gidgee, the blade is 1 1/2" wide and the plane is 6 3/4" long.

Here are some more photos (click on any photo to enlarge).

I have decided to include a short video to show how simple it is to set up this plane using the "flat block" technique. This is not something that I came up with. A lot of woodworkers use a flat block to set up their planes that do not have mechanical adjusters. The mistake that I see repeated however, is that the block that they are using is not actually flat. This will result in the plane taking too heavy a cut and/or the lateral adjustment will be off. To set up the plane, I used a 25mm thick MDF off cut that has been quickly lapped on my engineer's plate using some 400 grit sandpaper. I flattened the MDF piece about 8 months ago, so it is not something that you would do every time you set up your plane. MDF works well because it is stable and the surface is durable but not too hard on the cutting edge. In the video, I am taking a shaving from a piece of wood a little less than the width of the blade to better demonstrate the accuracy of this technique.

Happy New Year.