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Mini Planes


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OK OK ! Yes I know this has nothing to do with WoodRat but I stuck this in just for interest sake!

Some years ago a good friend gave me some damaged planer blades from his Kity machine. I have the smaller version and thought I might cut them down and use in my planer. I couldn't use them as mine are a different width. Now being a tight a**e I tried to decide what I could use this good tool steel for. Wondered if I could make a mini plane for cutting bevels on table legs etc. I was playing really and only intended to see what I could do with with bits of scrap.

The finished planes are crude, but make an interesting talking point and by good fortune seem to work very well. Professional plane makers certainly have nothing to worry about though!

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The first attempt can be seen on the left of the picture and the body is made entirely of wood. I cheated and took the angles of the mouth etc. from one of my old "woodies". As can be seen in this photo, the body consists of a rear and front hardwood centre sections (didn't have any beech so  used oak which is not a good choice), with glued on cheeks made from iroko. Using this composite method makes it easy to cut the blade seat and mouth to any angle before assembly.
The body is 5 3/4" long by 7/8" wide by 3/4" deep. The blade is 3" long by 14mm wide. The retaining or fulcrum pin is a brass rivet and needs careful positioning. Drill the hole with a drill press to ensure that it is at 90 degrees to the cheeks. The "cap iron" is nothing more than a strip of 3mm brass, bevelled at one end. A curved groove is filed just above the bevel to locate with the fulcrum pin. The brass is drilled and tapped to take a 6mm bolt for locking the blade. Dull down the original cutting edge of the planer blade so that you don't cut yourself and finish with some wax polish. Don't expect to cut super fine shavings with it but I have found it to be perfectly usable for small work.

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Spurred on by the success of the first one, I scrabbled through my junk bin and found an old bronze sheet wall plaque -- perfect for plane cheeks, so number two was made.

 Made by the same principle as the first one but with 1/8" thick bronze as the cheek plates. Used beech for the infill for this one. Measures 6" long by 7/8" wide by 1 and 1/8" high.

Instead of a rivet I used a hexagonal threaded bar as used in the electronics industry for stand offs, and filed a larger locating flat on it as shown in the photo.  I filed a corresponding groove in the " cap iron" into which it locates. The second photo shows the bar in position but swivelled up for viewing. Used 4.5mm brass for this one.

 

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I drilled four holes through the temporary assembled plane held together with clamps and countersunk each side. Before drilling ensure that you have the require mouth gap set! I passed some brass brazing rods through the holes and riveted the whole thing together.

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 Details shown here. The bronze cheeks add a bit of weight that makes it feel 'right' in the hand and makes it look better too.

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 Now I do not pretend that these planes are sophisticated bits of workmanship by any means. I have posted my ideas here for people to take up and have a go at. They are very simple to make and tremendous fun. I use mine a lot, perhaps just because I made them. The threaded bolt is crude and ugly, but in use I find my first finger comfortably rests on top of it for control. I havn't found a suitable alternative as yet.

 

The next one will use rosewood infill perhaps or ebony would be nice, maybe a better blade or old chisel, nice adjustment knob. Try a different angle  --Oh for goodness sake --- it was only to make use of an old blade!!!

Well there you go, give it a try and send me your photos.

As usual, just click the thumbnails to enlarge.


Lubricant

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If you use a diamond or ceramic sharpening stone try this:- I have found a fifty/fifty mix of water and car windshield wash a good cleaning and lubricating fluid. Wear gloves, it says do not get on the skin, but have not suffered any problems. Smells good too.

 

 

 

 


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This page was last posted on 11 July 2009 22:35:27