Thursday, 24 May 2012

Eight One Mitre plane for sale...finished

So here it is..

Eight One

Chapter Eight, plane number one.

Small Mitre plane, measures in length 175mm (6 7/8") overall, the body is 153mm (6") and the width is 29mm (1. 1/8")

The blade is cast steel, from an old I & H Sorby iron, bought in an old second hand shop in Lye, 25 years ago, and you can clearly see the laminated harder steel onto the softer body. The blade has no markings but I have the rest of the blade showing the 'Golden Fleece' device just above the mark, with the Crown in the middle. It was made in Sheffield England between 1824 - 1881 by John Sorby and sons. I will add a photo of the rest of the blade later. The original plan was to extend the blade with the makers mark at the top, but, the plane is so comfortable, extending would have compromised the comfort.

The plane body was taken from a 14" tenon saw made by Taylor of London, I have used the ADVANCE logo, with the animal, hallo and flag in the centre of the back of the plane, with the Taylor London on the left hand side as shown in the photos.

The brass used for the bridge was from a strip bought locally, from a metal suppliers in Droitwich. I marked out the JH and 2012 design and engraved it myself. Using stamps for the 2012, I really wanted the year in a prominent position due to the Olympics in England, the Queen having her 60th year on the throne and myself starting my own business.

The base of the plane, 2.6mm Gauge Plate, was given to me by Robert, a local engineer who makes parts for restoring old motorcycles. It had been sitting around his shop, it came from a batch of metal after the closure of Rover cars at Longbridge.

The timber for the plane was one piece out of the three Boxwood logs, I bought back in 1992 when my furniture was exhibited at Sandown Park for the Woodworker show in London. They had been under my bench since then. Each time my bench moved, the Boxwood logs followed. I was aiming for a classic design, the front bun is a smaller version to those used on panel planes, and I wanted it to be comfortable in use and offer different positions to hold the plane.

The rear infill is set at 17 degrees, with it 'over stuffed' at the back blending into a scroll. The scroll hides beneath the blade, and is not really noticed until the plane is picked up, this works well with the classical design and suits the plane.

The wedge is shaped so that it is easily pushed into position, the back bead is set so that it sits comfortably to the back of the palm of your hand in use.

This plane not only looks good, but I have ground the blade so that it is between a high pitched smoothing plane and a scraper plane. This means that on timber that rips out when using other planes, this one glides over the surface and leaves a smooth finish with a gloss sheen, beautiful.


Eight One plane vs. Record 0601/2 block plane

I always wanted to make a plane that makes a difference and stated through the blog, that this would be a plane for bandings and edgings. So when I set the blade into the plane through the construction process, I found it to work really well, the iron is brilliant and stays sharp, but the cut on Ebony strips was not that exciting, it was better than my Record, and left a polished sheen, but I still wasn't happy.

So, I left it for a couple of days...

I came to the conclusion that the blade angle needed to be changed, and I wanted to have more control over the end of the blade. And why does the end of the blade have to be ground at 25 degrees?

Look at what Bill Carter does with the square end of a chisel..and for anyone who has tried it, will know it works.

Up the angle goes, in 5-9 degree increments, then I lapped the base of the plane even more, to open the mouth out. I then changed the way that I have sharpened blades for years, I turned the blade over and sharpened an 8 degree bevel on the back of the blade. This goes against every method, but all I'm doing is sharpening it like a straight carving chisel, and they are great, two bevels, I sometimes pick mine up and use it in joinery...

I was quite nervous through all this, I have invested a lot of time in this little plane, and was back and forth to my makeshift outside workshop, grinding, sharpening, honing, Diamond stone, water stone, drying the iron before putting it back in place. Setting up the little plane and then trying it out on and awkward piece of Ebony.

Eureka..I got there, the finish was fabulous, a big smile came across my face, I've done it..

But just to be sure, I sharpened my Record plane 1200 grit, then 600 grit, took the burr of on the palm of my hand, set it back in place and compared. When I used my plane, the finish was far superior and left very minor ripping out, but when I went back to the Record it was brutal in comparison.

And there's something else, because the iron is at the higher pitch, I 'm sharpening the iron far less than the Record..


It works so well, it's a shame it has to be sold..

But I can get on with the next one now..

All the best


Monday, 21 May 2012

Another one of those days...

All of us have at some time or other, have wanted to come across a workshop that hasn't been used for a while. With all sorts of timber, well stacked out and tools..just loads of tools..

I got a call from Peter, an old family friend the other day

"Jamie," he says "are you still into all things wood"

"Of course", I say.

"Well I'm at this house, with a couple of outbuildings, Ebony, Ivory, Rosewood, tusks (some very old, others with certification) Chisels, tools, planes, wood everywhere...Do you want to come and have a look?

"Do I?"

The next morning I met up with Peter, and we went over together.

I was introduced to the lady of the house, her husband had died a number of years ago and he had some stuff in the well protected out buildings.

After the last lock was taken from the hasp and staple, the door was pushed open with the knack needed to get it open all the way and in we walked. As we walked into the main part, past shelving full of timber planks, turning blanks and timber leaning up against the walls, I started to raise my hands and sat them on the top of my head. There was a comfortable amount of space in the middle for us to all look around and the lady of the house ( lets call her Molly) told me where some of the machines sat. So there had been a planer, circular saw, band saw, grinding machines and either two or three lathes. We had half an hour before Molly had to go out, I was having to move things around on top of benches to open drawers of engineers chests to get an idea of what type of work and person the husband was. There were tools, on top of tools, on top of all sorts of stuff. Peter pointed out some shelving, on this was Ebony, lots and lots, including 3" x 2" x 18" and all sorts of sizes smaller, planks 3" wide and 2ft long, but also small boxes of offcuts, small triangles of wood, tuning ends, even legs off what must have been a carved elephant...

I just couldn't believe...

Then I was shown into another room, this one had the lathes and grinding tools in, two windows with net curtains up, let a small amount of light into this room. Chisels seemed to be everywhere. Tenon saws, I counted 6-7. There was a bucket full of 25 chisels, some carving, Firmer and turning chisels.

Times up.. we chatted about me going back over the following Monday

Today, I went back over, saw Molly, we chatted about the local town, I hadn't been there for a while, but we shared similar interests and she knew some of my family that were in the Antiques trade. She told me of her husband and the turnings that he did, some even went to Highgrove House near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, home of Prince Charles. 

I spent five hours tidying the place up, putting similar items together, carving chisels in one place, wood turning chisels in another. A Record holdfast was still in the box, but the box was stuck to the bench and there were a couple of parts missing, as I was looking elsewhere for something, I found the holdfast parts fitted to the bench. The Ebony took me a while to go through, and found a large piece, 4" x 6" and 15" long, with a couple of shakes and other varying sizes.

I came away with 5 sash cramps, all a bit rusty, one pin missing. 200 varying sizes of Ebony, the Record holdfast. Four paring chisels and a couple of other bits.

If your local to me and want to purchase some Ebony, I will put some dimensions on the For Sale section soon.

I have also spent some time french polishing the 81 mitre plane and tonight lapped the base to within a couple of millimetres at the front.

I will be going to the MAC Timbers open day, I plan on taking my 81 mitre plane and maybe take some of the Ebony on the weekend of 27th May 2012. I hope to see Bill and possibly Sarah Carter and meet other like minded people, if you follow this blog and you deceide to go, then stop me and say hello.

all the best


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Mitre plane 81, the finishing post is within sight...

Latest update of the Eight One Mitre plane..

The blade has been sorted out by Robert, 3.5mm tapering down to 2mm at the back, he has done a tidy job of grinding it down and it looks great in the plane. Now the blade is back I fitted the front bun and the rear infill, using the temporary wedge and blade to ensure the infill is bonded into the correct position. After that had cured, I spent a few hours flatting the back of the blade. Using a diamond stone from 200 - 600 grit. Then onto Japanese water stones a 1200 grit to start with, then onto the 6000. The 6000 is a great stone, around 25 years old, the back of the blade has a mirror finish and very sharp.

The temporary wedge has been replaced with a new Boxwood wedge, then fitted between the blade and the bridge, but instead of being just flat up to the hollow before the top bead, I wanted to create more of a feature of this junction. This would in turn make the wedge easier to push in to the plane by having a larger radius. I think it's a great looking wedge that feels really comfortable in use.

Here is the wedge, not as easy to do as a standard wedge, but it works really well and adds to the overall fine detail of this great little plane

Holding the plane with finger on the rear face of the front bun.

Holding further forward..

Having completed the wedge the next thing on the list was to soak the plane in Boiled Linseed oil. My preference is to soak it in warmed up oil, this will thin the oil down and penetrate deeper into the Boxwood. So while the oil was warming up, I found a scrap of Beech worktop, then tried the plane out. It performs wonderfully, nearly there..

I just have to lap the bottom, and polish the Boxwood with some shellac. I'll put the finished photos on here over the next few days.

Then, there are three more planes to start 82 which will be a smaller mitre plane. 83 is going to be the big sister to 82. Then 84..a traditional box type large mitre plane.

All the best


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Chest added to Boxes..

I've taken some new pictures of a chest I helped Stuart make, It was done on a weeekend for his wife Lesley. Made with old floor boards a couple of strap hinges and some rope..

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Yesterday, for me, was one of the best days...

A little while ago, I was asked if I would like a stall at a local church hall, where there would be a table top sale to raise funds for the local dance group. Our four girls dance at the Stage Door Dance Academy and they are taking part in a show, at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, where dance groups will come together to perform for one night only, on a West End stage. What a wonderful opportunity.
We are all helping out to raise funds, to reduce the cost for each of the families, and to highlight locally this event. Stage Door have taken part in similar events, including dancing on stage and being in the parade at Disneyland Paris.

So  Lynn and I talked about what I could do, firstly, by buying a table I was contributing to the fund, but thereafter, what could I sell that would help Stage Door or myself. Lynn came up with the idea of having some of my work on display, showing people what I have made, but also showing what other people could achieve.

After completing my Cabinet Making course, I was asked by the college to teach an evening class there. I did this for a couple years and enjoyed the fact that people who sign up to these type of classes really enjoy the practical and social side of woodworking.

We made a list of all of the items that we would take, they included some of the pieces made by myself, some tools of the trade and a very sad looking Rosewood tea caddy, that would  sit along side one that I had restored. I  just had to take my mitre plane, which sat on the front of the stall, and was a little further on than on the last posting.

The sale attracted a steady stream of people, and the whole atmosphere was very warm and friendly. I had some flyer's on the table and a sign showing that none of the items were for sale, but commissions were welcomed and a number of people said that they would or knew someone who would sign up. Some had researched within a 15 mile radius and found nothing that would teach them a craft.

I welcome any feed back on this and will be putting more about what can be taught on the coureses page. I could do one to one classes and could reduce the cost to people if there were three or more in a class.

 The hand carved hobby horse proved popular and once my workshop is set up, I will make make a small batch, maybe half a dozen..these are heir loom pieces and people appreciated that. Ours is twelve yaers old and has the dents and dings to prove that the horse was played with and well loved, it adds to the character of the piece and still looks great...

some of my pieces..

finished detail on the front bun, with temporary wedge...

While I was checking through my email inbox, there was the the best ending to my brilliant day. Bill Carter had emailed to say that he was loving the plane, from the front bun to the scroll hiding under the blade and more...this was just... If you know anything about plane making, you'll know how I feel right now, thanks Bill.

all the best


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Mitre Plane ..more than halfway now

So after going through the shed and my stock of timber from over the last twenty five years or so, collecting timber from all over, from timber suppliers, to friends cutting down trees in their back gardens, the timber for the small mitre plane is going to be Boxwood. I bought this and two others like it from Sandown Park in 1992. Really, this should be the only choice for this type of plane.

the label has the price of 90 pence on it..

I cut the parts needed, and just got on with making the front bun, I've gone for a shallow style with the bun being 'overstuffed', I love overstuffed planes, they are so much more work, but show the skills of the maker..

More detail will be added around the edges of this front bun..
The shape means that you can either have a finger on the back or front faces, or if two hands may be used, then you can place your thumb just behind the back of the border, I have tried it on the mock up and it feels really comfortable either way..

This is 'Pinky', he's been watching what I've been doing over the last few days, Lucy likes to keep him occupied, notice the mock up plane on the left, you can just see the back of the body with the end of the wedge and blade beneath..

Here is the rear infill, the blade is at 15 degrees and I wanted to finish the infill in a different way. I know the scroll will be hidden under the blade, but when viewed from the side it is in keeping with the classical detailed styling..

Bill bought a truely brilliant plane at the Auction, and I would love to copy has seven scrolls on each side, even a copy would be great.. 

I love the scrolls, this is nowhere near finished, just the start really,
but it does allow you the see what I'm doing..

The I. Sorby blade is down at Roberts, he is going to thin it down and taper it for me, it's about 6mm thick, and holds a really good edge,  I've asked for it to be cut down to 3mm, tapering down to 2.5mm. It's already been fitted to width, squared up to suit the mouth and had the back flattened. I will need the blade to help fix the rear infill in place, along with the wedge, which I should be on tomorrow.

Hope you like it...

All the best


Friday, 4 May 2012

Mitre plane continued and more bricks..

The plane is going really well. I only got a couple of hours on it yesterday due to finishing a trade counter off for my brother Stuart.

Stuart had used some new kitchen units to form the base of his trade counter. I think this is a great idea, and well done too. The only thing was that he had left the awkward corner unit until last, and the set up wasn't quite right, so the base part had to be scribed to fit. I had already made some corner posts from
3" x 3" grooved to take the 4mm laminated glass and they fitted pretty good. In all it went well and looks great, well done Stu. and thanks..

Back to the plane. I marked the dovetails from the body sitting in the correct position on the base, I just transferred them over. I checked and checked again that they were all in the right place before starting to cut the tails out of the gauge plate.

Plenty of instruction marked onto the base..

Great picture, as you can see the dovetails were cut by hand, all good fun..

Here is the front piece in place
You can just see where the brass is filed away to create the double dovetail

The final dry fit, and a small list of jobs to do before the peening starts

  1. Check all of the filed dovetails, are they all at the correct angle?
  2. The bed for the blade, ensure correct and works?
  3. Check the width between the dovetails on the base.
  4. Key up the tails, so they grip each other when the peening is done
  5. Stamp plane number on the front 81, I'll explain this later, unless you can guess...

and so on..

So here she is, lots of peening done..
and I'm finding my feet again with this, some peening then some filing,
peening then filing and again.

and the bottom.

Next, the infills, Rosewood..?

thanks for looking

All the best