Has anyone out there made their own infill smoothing plane?
Maybe I'm dumb for even considering it, but I've been thinking about giving
a go at making one. Dovetailed plate soles with parallel sides. I see on
the web where a guy named Jim Yehle has documented the procedure pretty
I know, I could buy finished ones for some hefty $$$ or I could buy a kit
from a couple of places (Shepherd, St James Bay, etc). But I figured it
might be an interesting project to try to make one from scratch (I'd buy a
blade since I know zero about tempering).
Just curious how many other people have gone down this road and what their
Yes - but then I live in Bristol, where it's a popular occupation.
If you can, I'd advise against that pattern. If you're a woodworker not
a metalworker, then you'll find a cast body much less weird metalworking
to deal with then building one from flat sheet and dovetailing it.
If you dovetail, make it from a mix of brass and steel - it just looks
nicer. Making perfect steel dovetails so well that the final joint is
invisible might be satisfying, but it's hard to explain it to others!
Personally I'd suggest your first should be simple and useful - a
cast-bodied shoulder plane. Then think about a Norris-style infill
smoother on a cast base. For a dovetailed body, go for a mitre plane (#9
style) - because it's the only way anyone can afford to get one!
You may also find a derelict Norris or Spiers and resurrect the sole
from a pile of woodworm. There are rumoured to be piles of unmade Norris
castings in existence un some fabled shed somewhere, but there are
certainly enough basket-case examples popping up in sales (especially
around Glasgow) to make this a not uncommon exercise.
(Some people consider it unlucky to ever use the name "Spiers" inside a
workshop and always refer to it instead as "The Scottish Plane")
There's a lot of variation in body and handle style between makers. Some
like the "clog" style for a small smoother (like a simple woodie),
others want a Norris A5 or A50 style, with a low-set closed handle. I've
never quite got the hang ot the square-bun Matthieson style and all its
sharp corners. So pick the style you like first - you're stuck with it
There's also a book by Jim Kingshott, "Making and Modifying Woodworking
Tools" This is a well-written book and it's also good in that it
decribes a range of styles and processes, not just one way to do it.
Buy the right blade. Really nice _old_ _thick_ Sheffield irons are still
available as NOS (new old stock), from the right people (Bristol
Designs). Clifton's recent "Victor" irons (the sort they use in the
Bedrock patterns) work well in infills too
As to the heat treatment, then get a bar of O-1 steel, read the
rec.knives FAQ and then make yourself some pocket knives. Heat treatment
isn't that hard, if you're methodical about setting to and learning it
Buy a Norris-pattern adjuster too. This is the best thing about an
English infill (and why I prefer them to Scottish ones). However it's a
complex bit of machining and not something you're going to make
yourself, unless you have access to a well-equipped screwcutting lathe.
Kingshott describes both patterns of the Norris adjuster. Personally I
prefer the twin-thread style. It's slower to adjust, but it also avoids
the swivel joint and possible backlash that can introduce.
Cats have nine lives, which is why they rarely post to Usenet.
I'm primarily a woodworker now but in grad school I built most of my
own equipment and have fair experience with end mills and lathes. Of
course at home I don't have equipment like that, but I am figuring that
with persistence, hacksaws, files, and maybe a metal cutting blade in
the scrollsaw I can make it work.
I've been avoiding the cast bodies because of the questions regarding
flatness over time and the metal relaxation.
Heh heh. You are right.
Have you used regular brass? Some question in some literature I've
read regarding work hardening and embrittlement with regular brass.
On this side of the pond they seem to be very rare and they seem to go
for quite a price regardless of condition.
Now that's interesting. Why is that?
Right, I was thinking of a parallel sided plane like a #7 "Scottish
Plane" but with a closed single piece handle. I am inclined to install
an adjuster (looks like you can buy the adjuster through St James), but
I wasn't sure about that.
Cool, thanks for the tip. I saw where Ron Hock had made a few 3/16"
blades and also a few at Shepherd and St James Bay. I was leaning
toward Hock because of familiarity, but I will check out Bristol
Excellent, thanks for the advice, Andy. If I get around to beating a
few test plates together I'll post the results here.
Sorry I missed the first of this thread...
You do know about these folks, don't you? Their classes, kits and
galootapaloozas are reputed to be a lot of fun.
No personal experience as yet.
Yup, I'm planning to borrow heavily from the Shepherd methods. I also
thought about buying a kit from them, and might still do it. However, I
like fiddling around with things and I was interested in the challenge of
trying it from scratch. I ordered a little low-carbon steel to practice
making the shell. It ought to arrive in a few days and we'll see how it
Nate, 'bout 2 or 3 issues ago shopnotes had an article and plans to make
one of the dovetailed sole type, wooden screw cap (lever cap, I'd use Ipe
or lignum for that). You can probably buy that back issue. This article
was all about "from scratch". This one is like a jack plane, like a #5. Or
are you ready to make a detailed mold, melt ductile iron and pour?
Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
No way am I up to melting and pouring. I'd buy a rough cast sole
before I did that. Was figuring on trying the dovetailed sole route.
I will take a look around ShopNotes. Thanks for the tip.
I found it, the plane issue can be found through online extras, it is shopnotes
And on the following link there is the complete plan for a block plane:
http://www.shopnotes.com/main/onlineextras.html as well as the cutting
diagram you can print for the larger plane.
Those are nice saws but I am interested in Japanese dozuki rip saws for
dovetail work as a starting point. I do like the Spehar blued steel of their
blades. But for your plane, they also make a Norris blade adjuster.
Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
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