Handmade infill plane (woodwork)

  1. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Hi all, I know a lot of you are interested in build projects so I thought I'd start a thread on something I've been wanting to make for a long time.

    In fact some of you have already helped me and where keen to know how I was getting on with the project so here it is from the start.

    It's nice to document the progress and have an on-line diary of how things are going. Any support will drive me onto the finish too.

    I use hand planes every day and I've always lusted after a high quality bespoke plane, like a Lazarus, Holtey, Bill Carter etc but the price of these planes can go into the thousands and my pockets just aren't deep enough.

    So making one is the next best thing. The only trouble is I've never done a day of metal work in my life.
    Woodwork yes but metal work is a whole other ball game.
    So how well this project will turn out is any ones guess.

    I've done a fair few hours research into making infill planes and am confident in the process...mostly.

    So i think the best thing to do is get stuck in!

    First things first I ordered some 4mm brass 300mm long by 100mm wide.

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    I then cut it in half on the band saw.

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    I made a paper template of the sides of the plane working out the dovetail spacing.

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    And again cut them roughly on the band saw.

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    That little lot was enough for one evening.

    As I'll only be working on the plane in the evenings its going to be a lengthy project but I'll keep this thread updated as and when more is done.


     
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  2. jenki Member

    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    Carmarthen, S Wales
    Please keep us updated as a sometimes fustrated woodbutcher I admire anyone who can make an infill plane.
     
  3. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Will do Jenki, its going to be a long ride so buckle in!

    After cutting the dovetails roughly on the band saw I spent the next 3 hours filing them.
    This was tedious work as the tails had to be square bottomed and as straight as possible, getting into the corners was difficult.
    Any miss shaped tails would result in gaps later on.

    I later found out that grinding the teeth off one side of a triangular file greatly helps in getting sharp clean corners. It did indeed make the job a lot easier and the results where far better than using a half round file.

    [​IMG]

    After 3 hours they are still not quite finished but the majority is done.

    After that I marked out and started cutting the sole of the plane from a piece of 6mm mild steel.

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    I've since learnt that 01 tool steel is a far better choice for the sole as it is accurately machined and harder.

    The mild steel was freely available at the time so I went with it. It should be a little easier to cut and file over tool steel.

    Time does fly when you're having fun and my allocated time was up for the day.
     
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  4. brightspark

    brightspark Member

    Messages:
    25,744
    Location:
    yarm
    its quite satisfying cutting and filing things accurately by hand rather than doing it on a machine :)they could have been done on a mill in no time but where is the skill in that :laughing:
     
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  5. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Definitely, I quite enjoyed the process really. had the radio on, workshop to my self and just got lost in the work.

    I'm trying not to rush any thing, just taking my time and trying to get it right. it will take as along as it takes.
     
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  6. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    I finished cutting out the sole and rounded the ends with a file.

    [​IMG]

    Next was to mark out the pins onto the sole. I used blue marker and a scribe to make the lines easier to see.
    I also screwed the brass sides to a block of wood to keep them from moving when marking the pins.

    [​IMG]

    Then I carefully cut to my scribe lines using a hacksaw and 24tpi blade. The mild steel wasn't too bad to cut. Not easy but easier than some Wenge wood I was cutting a week before.

    [​IMG]

    After that I took the sole over to the pillar drill and drilled a series of holes along the waste line. Had to be careful not to drill past the waste line as this would have resulted in cutting all of them to the lowest point which would have been a lot of work.
    Thankfully it all went well.

    [​IMG]

    And that was time again for another day.
     
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  7. DAPPH

    DAPPH Member

    Messages:
    1,494
    Location:
    Near to Cross Hands Llanelli SouthWales GB
    Think I'd have tilted the table on the saw bench and free hand cut the dove tails in on the waste side then put the table to flat again and cut out most of the waste then hand filed then to the fit . Chain drilling can see you break drills if they get snagged as you break into another hole & as you can see by your picture they are difficult to do in a really straight line if they're small diameter drills . cutting on the flat in wwwwwww cuts to a fraction before the line is an easier & quicker way to go , nicking off the points of the wwwwww's on a second free hand cut or some time using a clamped down piece of wood as a the front to rear fence stop and gently kissing them off over three or four passes .

    Files look up " Swiss or Warding " files they are a set of 6 to 9 inch long by about 1/2 " wide fine to medium files but much thinner than normal ones …. good for doing what you have done . some have a hand safe edge too . .
     
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  8. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Thanks for the tips dapph.
    I did consider cutting a series of V's down to the waste line and then breaking the waste away but it seemed like more work by hand.

    Unfortunately this band saw is for wood only. I just got away with cutting the brass on it but it did take the set off the blade, It was pretty much ruined after that.
    I did consider getting some metal cutting blades for it but I'm not sure if metal band saws need to run at a lower speed? which isn't changeable on this saw.

    I'll take a look at the files. I want to treat myself to a good set. Can any one recommend a brand to look out for?
     
    DAPPH likes this.
  9. nickk Member

    Messages:
    1,734
    Location:
    Hay-on-wye
    Not sure if they’re still available but STUBBS ,& any of the Swedish brands,a lovely craft project by the way.
     
  10. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Thanks Nick, I'll check them out.

    With the holes drilled along the waste line I then used a junior hacksaw to cut out the remaining waste

    [​IMG]

    Then was the slow task of carefully filing to the scribe lines. I picked up a tip of rubbing chalk onto the file to stop it from clogging, this neat trick really helps.

    [​IMG]

    I'm finding much like wood it takes a lot of patience to hand work steel, just one stroke to many with the file can easily put you under the scribe line.
    It took another two and a half to three hours to file all of the dovetails.

    With all of the dovetails filed I could try a first test fit.

    [​IMG]

    I'm pleased with how they have gone together so far but there is a little more refinement to do.
    Swapping over to needle files to get the corners nice and sharp should do the trick.

    [​IMG]

    Now for a weekend break, my arms ache.
     
  11. DAPPH

    DAPPH Member

    Messages:
    1,494
    Location:
    Near to Cross Hands Llanelli SouthWales GB

    A decent bi metal , / 12 mm wide , fine tooth bandsaw blade should handle wood & steel brass or Aluminium .. In the UK there are a couple of quality bespoke bandsaw blade makers , IIRC mine cost about £18 each for a 108 inch blade .
    Think it was this site I used ….. I got 3 blades so I didn't pay P&P …

    www.sawsuk.com

    Just make sure the tooth sequence is correct ie. not two left teeth together at the fused joint , another company sent me two blades like that ., then had the cheek to tell me to pay the P&P to send them back .
     
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  12. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Thanks for the info again dapph.
    We use a guy that makes all of our band saw blades for wood, I keep meaning to ask if he does bi-metal blades too. I'll have to catch him next time he's in.

    With the dovetails nearly finished I started work on the mouth of the plane.
    Because I'm planning to make a single blade plane (no chip breaker) the mouth opening is critical, too small and the shaving with jam causing the plane not to work.
    To large will increase the risk of chatter and the inability to create fine shavings.
    I'm be cautious and cutting the mouth small as I'm not quite sure yet how the blade will seat. This wont be apparent until the body is made and the wooden infill is fitted.

    I marked out the mouth and centre punched a series of holes.

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    took it over to the pillar drill and drilled out the holes.

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    With a hand drill I elongated one of the holes enough to fit a hacksaw blade in.

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    I cut away as much of the waste as possible to my scribe lines.

    Then came the task of filing the mouth, as you can guess this took a while!

    I know I'm going to bed the blade at 55 degrees so had to file a bevel on the mouth to match it.

    [​IMG]

    With the mouth opening only being 4mm wide it was difficult to fit a file in straight let alone angled over at 55 degrees.
    Luckily I managed to find a very thin file which I started with then once the majority of the bevel was done I could get a larger file in.

    Needle files came in handy to finish the corners and I was always being cautious not to open the mouth any bigger than the scribe lines.

    [​IMG]

    Thankfully after a good few hours it was done....for now.
    I know I will have to adjuster it later down the line but that's enough for one evening.
     
  13. Seadog

    Seadog Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    3,978
    Location:
    NE London - UK
    Nice work.

    Just one comment, you'd benefit from a centre punch with a sharper (more acute) point.
     
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  14. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Thanks Seadog.

    Yeah my centre punch is pretty bad, it was an old pin punch I ground down. I do have one of those automatic centre punches but I find it doesn't mark deep enough on metal. It's good on wood though.
     
  15. slimjim Member

    Messages:
    853
    UK Cumbria

    Old pointy taps make good centre punches
     
  16. slim_boy_fat

    slim_boy_fat Forum Supporter

    Parm likes this.
  17. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Haha I wish, to far out of my reach and no idea how to use it :)

    With the majority of the mouth done I turned my attention back to the dovetails.

    I spent a while making sure the corners where clean and sharp and that the bottoms where filed to my scribe lines. Getting them as accurate as possible will help later when I come to peen them shut.

    Then I had a big decision to make.

    Early English mitre planes had a decorative feature called a Cupids bow. Often shown on the wooden wedge or on the infill and sometimes carried over above the dovetails on rare planes.

    Bill Carter likes to add them to his planes and if done well look beautiful.

    To say a novice trying them is ambitious is an understatement. Even a competent metal worker can find them challenging.
    Cutting them accurately is one thing but the hard part is peening the metal into the cuts. Something I've never done before and have zero experience in...... but as the saying goes nothing ventured nothing gained.

    I had a practice on some scrap metal to start with. The first attempt on the left didn't go well but the second attempt on the right worked out better.

    [​IMG]

    You can see why it's called a Cupids bow now.

    With a few more practice tries done I went for it and started to cut one on the brass.

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    I used a triangular file for the centre point and a round files for the curves. I first cut the point in the middle of the dovetail. Then i start to create the curves equally on each side.

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    Once I'm happy with the placement and depth of the point and curves I round over the flats to finish the bow.

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    After a little more refinement with needle files to the bow and dovetail its finished.

    Then rinse and repeat for the rest of the dovetails on both sides and sole of the plane.

    [​IMG]

    I understand why this is a challenging task now. It takes huge amounts of patience and concentration to get them looking accurate and uniform.

    [​IMG]

    This took over 2 evenings to finish and I'm only half way through.
     
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  18. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Now the Cupid bows are cut I can start to shape the plane sides.

    I used double sided tape to fix the two halves together then stuck my paper template onto that.

    I then cut the shape out on the band saw

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    I then went over the shape with files to clean it up. I won't bother getting it exactly right at this point as I'll be sanding it later once the wooden infill is made and fitted.

    [​IMG]

    Finally the plane is taking on some sort of shape!

    [​IMG]

    That's all for this evening as time got away from me.

    Next up is the part I'm most dreading, peening.
     
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  19. brightspark

    brightspark Member

    Messages:
    25,744
    Location:
    yarm
    [



    Next up is the part I'm most dreading, peening.
    [/QUOTE]


    [​IMG]





    That's all for this evening as time got away from me.

    Next up is the part I'm most dreading, peening.
    [/QUOTE]wont be 2 bad if you have left enough meat on
     
  20. Hattori-hanzo Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Uk
    Now that the plane sides have been cut to shape I can permanently fix them to the sole.

    This is done by peening the metal surfaces together to create a tight fit that will not come apart.

    I started by machining a piece of wood to the exact internal dimension of the sole. I made sure it was straight and square as this will help to hold the sides of the plane square when i peen them.
    I fixed the piece of wood inside of the plane body and secured it in place with G cramps and screws.

    [​IMG]

    It's make or break time, this is either going to go well or totally ruin all of the work so far leaving me with no choice but to scrap what I've done and start again.

    I needed to peen the side dovetails first as this will drive the sole of the plane tight onto the sides.

    I secured the plane into my bench vice and fixed a G-cramp around the dovetail I was working on. This was to help keep the metal from spreading outwards.
    I then used a combination of metal punches to try and drive the metal into the cupid bows.

    I found that working from the outer edge towards the centre helped to get the brass where it needed to go.

    [​IMG]

    Filling the bow part was hard enough but trying to drive the brass all the way to the point of the cupid bow was incredibly difficult.

    I found the hammering force needed was far greater than I had imagined and I was getting a lot of bounce from my bench vice making it even harder work.
    I tried hammering on top of an anvil but found the plane would bounce even worse. At least with it held in a vice it left both hands free to work.

    Here you can see that the bows are filled but I still need to drive the brass in to the point.

    [​IMG]

    I also found that while brass is quite soft it's also brittle. On a few occasions small pieces would crack and break off as can be seen on the right of the first dovetail.

    [​IMG]

    I knew this stage was going to be tough but it was much more difficult than I had anticipated. The bounce from my vice was hindering progress and my poor technique certainly wasn't helping either.
    But I persevered, wedging a large bit of wood under my vice as a leg helped to take some of the bounce away and with each dovetail my technique was improving until they where all done.

    [​IMG]

    All I had to do now was peen the steel dovetails on the side of the plane.

    I thought I'd have no chance of getting it done, brass is softer than steel and that's been a nightmare but to my surprise the steel seemed easier to peen than the brass.
    I used the same technique of clamping the plane in the vice and working from the outside in to drive the dovetail up tight.

    With all of the peening done it was time to file away the surplus metal and flatten the sides to reveal the results.
    I used a mixture of files to remove the bulk of the waste then fixed 60 grit sand paper to the bed of our over hand planer.
    It has a solid cast iron bed which is very sturdy and nice and flat.

    thankfully the side dovetails where looking good

    [​IMG]

    And after a lot of filing and sanding the sole dovetails could be seen.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In total with filing and sanding this stage alone took around 5 hours and while they are not perfect I'm pretty happy with the results for my first attempt.
    There are some gaps that I'm not happy with but the majority of them came up well.

    The project still has a long way to go but I've learnt so much already from it. It's been hard work but rewarding too. I was most apprehensive of this stage and I'm glad its done, I don't think my arms could have taken much more hammering :)
     
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