Friday, January 18, 2013

Wood Added

A while back there was a post on the blog titled "Just Add Wood". This post is a follow up to show the wood added to a couple of the plane bodies featured in that post.

Early in my plane making career I was having a conversation with my good friend Johnny Kleso. He told me something that has certainly proven to be a fact. Two things that are exactly the same size cannot be put together. In other words if you're trying to fit an infill that measures 2.187 in width into a plane body that has an inside measurement of 2.187 you will never be able to put that infill into that plane body. However if you make the infill 2.1865 to 2.186 it can happen and when it goes in it will be a suction type fit. Once installed it will not move until forced to do so. So all this begs the question, how do you make that happen?

First thing is to create a very accurate plane body. If a great deal of care is taken the worst condition you typically get is a plane body that is slightly smaller at the top as compared to the  dimension at the sole. Typically you can still make the infill dead square and given the shape of the infills the plane sides will expand just slightly as you slide them into place. This makes for a perfect fit and a rather square plane.

I use my milling machine to get my infills close to the final dimension and this also goes a long way to keeping them very square, however when it comes to the final fitting nothing works quite as well as a hand plane. A well set up plane with an extremely sharp iron allows you to work in increments not possible with any other tool.

I had fit the Gabon Ebony infills in the 875 plane pictured above. A weather system containing a lot of moisture and unseasonably high temperatures came  thru our area. Two days later when I attempted to install the rear infill it would not go in. I lightly lapped one side on a piece of 320 grit paper adhered to a surface plate. Total material removal was probably somewhere between 1/2 to 1 thousandth. The rear infill once again went right in with steady pressure. 


“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

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