Recently a customer sent me an older infill plane for repair. This led to a discovery. The infill in this plane had become smaller and the iron was no long bedding properly. When the rear infill became smaller it also reduced in height. This in turn effectively lowered the angle of the bed which rotated the cutting edge of the iron up which meant the plane no longer had a mouth.
Miraculously I could tell no difference. The dampening was still taking place and of course this begs the question of whether it's the iron on the wood or the fact that the plane is completely infilled with wood that gives it that dampened feel in use. Of course the upper section of the iron was still separated from the metal structure of the plane by the wooden infill.
I had been contemplating a plane that was infilled yet bedded the iron on a metal bedding plate of the type that I use in my metal bodied planes. I had the perfect candidate for this experiment. The next tool in my schedule was a shooting board plane that I was to make for my good friend and customer Steve Walls. He gave me free run with the design of the plane as long as the outward appearance of the plane remained mostly unchanged.
The finished product was a plane that outwardly looked almost identical to prior versions of my Shooting Board Plane. However the secret was under the iron. A metal bedding plate that was integral to the plane sides and a brass bedding seat.
Not having a wooden bedded version to test side by side makes my impressions of this plane somewhat speculative. However from the best of my memory this plane feels just like the prior versions in which the iron was bedded directly on the infill. I think this idea needs further exploration.
Besides the bedding plate this plane has been updated a bit. It features a new style lever cap, it now uses a 2.125" wide iron in lieu of the 2" iron in prior planes, the sole thickness has been upgraded to .437 thick, the sides have been changed from .250 to .187 thick and the body is now made from high carbon steel. This was also the first of these plane in which I used Macassar Ebony infill. With these changes and the Macassar Ebony infill the plane weighs right at 8 1/2 lbs. This kind of mass in a shooting plane is really nice.
Below is a short video showing this tool in action. It also provides a good look at an early version of the Vogt ToolWorks shooting board.