Posted tagged ‘handplanes’

Why old wooden planes look the way they do

April 14, 2014

My friend, Roald Renmælmo, and I were discussing why old wooden planes look the way they do.  Roald is researching and duplicating old hand planes used in Scandinavia.  In fact he has posted several galleries showing how he is making the reproduction planes.  It’s well worth taking a look at.  Here’s a link to his blog.

 Anyone who has an interest in old wooden handplanes is usually struck by the fact that many of the planes that are in reasonably good shape are disgustingly dirty.  This fact, alone, would make one curious about the finishing methods employed by plane makers and users.  And, the most important question is what were they trying to do with the finishes.  That question drives every other consideration.  

It’s a question of moisture control.  Planes made out of wood are subject to variations in moisture, just like anything else made from a tree.  So the goal of finish on a wooden plane is not just to make it pretty, but to minimize the effects of moisture.

For commercial plane makers in Europe and North America, soaking the plane bodies and wedges in linseed oil, prior to assembly was normal.  Linseed oil is a drying oil that leaves a film and has long been used as a water-proofing product.  It’s altogether possible that the linseed oil may have been thinned with turpentine, effectively making a crude spar varnish.  Prior to the introduction of metallic driers, boiled linseed oil was manufactured by heating the oil to the point that polymerization would begin.  This may have been a something less than perfect process and some BLO might have taken longer to harden than others.  As the protective film on new planes might stay plastic (soft) for some time, soil and grime would form on the surface.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it is, in effect, creating a impermeable membrane (to a greater or lesser degree).

Here’s an example of a jack plane in pretty common condition, grime and the standard paint spattering:


The same plane, after being “scrubbed up” with a little lacquer thinner and receiving a couple coats of BLO.


The surface of oiled (or varnished) wooden products needs to be re-coated from time to time, due to the effects of use, oxidation, etc.  Carpenters and joiners would many times use other products to protect their tools.  Flaxseed/linseed oil would certainly have been readily available and inexpensive in many parts of the world.  It’s continued use would likely increase the “grime/oil” membrane phenomena.  Wax would certainly have been used by some conscientious craftsmen.  But craftsmen are practical people and when a product that will serve their purpose is plentiful and available at low cost, they’ll seize on it.  Enter Lard.  Grease, fat, call it what you will.  But, rest assured, many old working planes saw plenty of animal fat used as a protective coating.  If a plane is exceptionally grimey, it’s probably been given the “lard treatment”.

Here’s a badger plane made by Malloch in Perth.  I have to believe that if a scraping from the surface of this plane were analyzed, the “oink” would still be present.


Same plane with some of the grime removed:


Some planes were treated a little differently.  The jointer below is my favorite user.  While not the longest plane I use, at 28″ it’s a very steady tool.  It has been well cared for over its lifetime and I would guess that it came from a professional shop or was owned by a careful hobbyist.  It appears to have been finished with shellac and wax.  It is pretty much flawless.


In my experience, the use of shellac or other spirit varnishes on wooden planes was not that common.  Although, I would guess that it might be found on presentation tools, such as plough planes and on other tools owned by “persnickety” folks.

Many collectors balk at the notion of removing finishes from antiques.  That said, I’m not a collector, I’m a user and I like to maintain my tools as best I can.  That includes keeping them clean and well protected.

I’m going to throw out a big caveat here.  If you are a wooden plane user and you decide to clean up your old tools, be prepared to recoat them with some protective product, immediately, lest you find your favorite little plane taking on a new twist or crack.

While I own many iron planes, my daily users, my favorites are made out of wood.  There is something almost spiritual,  that takes place, when you’re working with a wooden plane.  It just seems right.


Shocked and Pleasantly Surprised

January 10, 2014

Chad Stanton, a good friend, excellent carpenter and furniture builder, host of the net program Woodchoppin’ Time and Dancing Master nonpareil recently told me about some wood bodied planes made in China.  The name alone sparked my curiousity – Mujingfang.  Chad said that they performed well, were well made and (of incredible importance) were inexpensive.  I was intrigued.  I found that there are a number of planes available from the maker.  But I selected two sizes of polishing planes, the smallest and largest.  I figured that if they could make a polishing plane that worked well in figured wood, they might be okay.


As you see by the scale in the picture, the smaller of the two planes is quite small.  But don’t be fooled by it’s size.  The plane is well-made.  It is designed to be pushed or pulled, ergo the “cross-beam”  The single bit is bedded at 60 degrees.  After very little preliminary honing and stropping, I set the little plane atop a piece of gnarly curly maple and was pleasantly surprised that it did, indeed, perform very well.  Planing diagonally, I achieved a surface that was more than acceptable and could be brought to a “Class A” finish with the slightest amount of scraping or sanding.  (In a pinch, the iron could be reversed and the plane could be used as a 90 degree scraper.)

The secret is the plane’s very tight mouth.  An added feature is a dovetailed wear insert at the mouth’s leading edge.


The body of the plane is made from a member of the rosewood family.  It appears to be coated in shellac (or some synthetic equivalent). The finish needs to be rubbed out.  But, that is a minor issue.  All in all, I’m very happy with this tool.  In the right situation, it should prove to be very useful.

The larger (2 inch wide) polishing plane shares all of the same features found in its smaller sibling.  However, it does appear that the bed will need to be undercut a bit to eliminate some slight chattering.  This, of course , is not unusual when working with new (or old) wooden planes.


Ultimately, these planes appear to be great value and should be useful to anyone working in figured wood.  Who knows?  A few more of these Mujingfang planes might find their way into the shop.

Planing big slabs

July 15, 2012

My friend Charlie just dropped off a couple nice big slabs of walnut.  The original intention was to cut them into heavy veneer and squares for legs.  But one of them was was just dead straight and I immediately knew that I had something else in mind for this particular piece.

Big slabs seem to pose problems for many woodworkers.  They’re hard to move around.  They’re usually too heavy or too large to run through planers and sanders.  But for the folks that understand how to “walk” a board and use handplanes, big slabs can be handled with relative ease.

The first thing is to get one side in plane.  This becomes the datum, the surface from which all other dimensions are taken.  Using a set of winding sticks, the rough surface is checked for wind, cup or bow and imperfections in sawing.  Those areas are marked.


Rough planing is done with a long plane with substantial camber in the iron.  My favorite plane for this part of the process is a 20″ wooden foreplane.  Planing is usually done at about 45 degrees to the grain direction of the workpiece, although many times I find that I’m planing cross grain.  The heavy camber of the iron allows for large shavings to be taken without an irordinate amount of edge tearout.

After the datum surface is in plane, a smooth plane is used to remove the wide, shallow “scallops” left by the foreplane and render the datum dead flat.  Then the slab is flipped and the required thickness is measured and marked with a cutting or panel gauge.  Again the foreplane if used to produce a plane second surface, parallel to the datum.  If a large amount of material must be removed from certain areas, a scrub plane can be used.  The scrub plane has a narrower iron with greater camber than the foreplane.  This enables the plane to take very thick, narrow shavings and speeds the work of stock removal.  The foreplane can then be used to remove the deep grooves created by the scrub plane.

Trueness in length can be checked by a straightedge or the winding sticks can be laid flat at both ends of the slab and a line can be stretched across them. Any variance will be quickly determined by simply measuring at points along the line to the surface of the slab. And remember that the human eye is a very precise instrument.

Only time will tell what this slab will become.

Hurrah! for the Liberty Bell!

May 29, 2012

The Stanley Works was a behemoth, a force to be reckoned with, a standard-bearer for progress in the development of all sorts of tools for the professional craftsman, as well as the home owner.

That said, Stanley also made some junk.  I mean some real junk!  Then too, they made other stuff that just kinda is, ah, I mean, well…  I mean you wonder if they fell asleep in the marketing department, or what.  Many people think that Stanley’s line of transitional  bench planes falls into a category which might best be described as “what were they thinking?”

Personally, I like ’em.  Hey, they’re light, plus they offer the same type of lateral and depth adjustment that was available on Stanley iron planes.  You could drop them from a scaffold and there was a pretty good chance that they would survive.  Try that with a Bailey type!  I have no doubt that they were great for carpenters in the field.  But I’ve gotta believe they were never taken very seriously by cabinetmakers and joiners.  My guess is that those two groups uttered the mantra “wood or iron, nothing in between”.

But there is one little subdivision of the transitional species that I find particularly appealing, the Liberty Bells.  They are unmistakable with their raised Liberty Bell boss on the lever cap.  There is no lateral adjustment and only a simple depth adjuster.  And, it is their simplicity that makes them something special, especially in the hands of someone with an imagination.

LB’s have a movable pawl that fits into the depth adjuster (stirrup).  This allows the iron to be projected well past the chipbreaker.  This is very difficult, if not impossible to do with Bailey design plane irons.  What this means is that the LB can be turned into one of the nicest little scrub planes you can imagine.  It has a 1 3/4″ wide iron and the depth can be controlled with the adjuster, a distinct advantage.

The moveable pawl also allows for the iron to be easily reversed, thereby allowing the plane to be used as a scraping plane in a pinch.  You might dig up an old iron, crown it ever so slightly and use it exclusively for scraping (try that with one you “bevel-up” planes).  One might also consider making a very heavy single iron for really fine polishing work.  The LB’s lever cap would allow for an iron of that nature to be used.  And, while we’re at it, how ’bout making a reversed toothing iron?  Easy enough.

The small LB smoother is an incredibly comfortable plane to use, even for a mugg with big hands.  The iron frame is made with a “tongue” that fits into the web of the push hand.  It has that “extension of the craftsman’s spirit” kinda of feel.  Okay, maybe that’s a little hyperbolic, but it feels good when you’re using it.

The other great thing is that these things are cheap (usually).  I’ve seen them with replacement bodies that make them look like little “objet d’ arts”.  Hey, these kind of tools connect us with our past and they are great little “multi-use” platforms.  Imagine.  Enjoy.  And remember, like so many other aspects of a woodworking vocation or avocation, you can heat your shop with the stuff you don’t like or screw up.  Life is good.

Wooden Planes – Tapered Irons (and how a back bevel can save the day)

May 21, 2012

I use old wooden bench planes daily.  I’ve got a full set of iron bench planes as well, but find that the wooden bench planes are much more pleasurable to work with.  They’re lighter, which is a plus when doing a lot of planing and wooden jointers are, usually, significantly longer than their iron counterparts.  And, the soles of wooden planes tend to burnish the surface being planed.

Recently I was asked if I found that antique American bench planes were designed only to be used in softwood.  “Well, of course not!” I responded.  I mean, look around you at the myriad of things built from hardwoods, from building frames to washbowl stands, during the period in which only wooden planes were being used.  But then I started thinking about it a little more.  Some of my wooden planes do seem to work better while planing softwood.  So, I started looking at their geometries.  I found that both iron and wooden American bench planes are, more often than not, bedded at 45 degrees.  (Most wooden molding and specialty planes are bedded with 50 or 55 degrees.  Wooden bench planes that were designed exclusively for use in hardwoods are generally bedded at 50 degrees, but angles as high as 60 degrees are not unheard of.)   

After finding that the bedding angles were the same, I began looking at the irons.  I have several wooden bench planes that use irons that are the same thickness throughout their entire length.  But most of my wooden bench planes have tapered irons.  That is to say that the iron is much thicker at the cutting edge than at the top.  The reason is that the portion of the iron below the chipbreaker screw slot has been forge welded into the upper portion of the iron, which is generally very soft steel.  It is not uncommon for the cutting edge to be two to three times as thick as the upper part of the iron.  But how does this affect performance, assuming that all of the irons are sharpened to their optimum?

A moderately tapered iron – about 2 degrees of taper

Well, the answer in reality is pretty simple.  It’s well known that a lower cutting angle produces better results (with less effort) in softwoods.  When the degree of taper is subtracted from the bedding angle, the total included angle or effective cutting angle is lowered.  In the case of the Japanese plane which uses an iron that tapers in the opposite direction (because the iron itself is wedged into the plane body), the taper angle would be added to the bedding angle, thereby raising the effective cutting angle.  So, once again, geometry provides the answer.

The actual cutting angle is 43 degrees, due to the 2 degree taper of the iron

Then it dawned on me.  Over the years, I had back put a back bevel on some of the planes that I used mostly in hardwoods.  Most folks who do a lot of hand planing, hone irons instinctively, depending more on feel than the protractor.  As most of my readers know, I’m very cautious about back bevelling irons as it increases the amount of energy required to push the plane, exponentially.  As I get older, I want to work less, not more!

The long and short of it this:  If you want to improve the performance of your old wooden bench plane with the tapered iron in hardwood, put a back bevel on it.  There, I’ve said it…back bevelBejasus, bite my tongue!

And just one short note of caution:  bevel length looks suspiciously long on tapered irons.  Don’t allow yourself to be deceived.  Make sure that your primary and secondary bevel angles are correct and that you’ve got adequate clearance.

Go find yourself a nice old wooden bench plane.  Tune it up and have a ball.

The way Gramps sharpened his plane irons

February 15, 2012

Seventy-five years ago most handtool woodworkers were professional carpenters, joiners, millwrights and millmen.  They depended on their tools to make a living.  They were paid on the basis of their productivity.  They knew how to sharpen their tools to maximize their productivity and they knew how to do it fast.

Now, most handtool afficinados are very dedicated amateurs (or recognized artisans with clienteles that are willing to pay for “toolmarks”).  This group of handtool users has the luxury of time, time to fettle their tools “in absurdia”.

Matt Sullenbrand, frequent visitor to this site and provider of wise observation, sent this recent comment;

“I have purchased lots of old planes over the years, and started out flattening the backs on all of them. Then I realized, if none of the craftsman who owned these planes worried about flat backs, why should I? I am not convinced that flat backs on plane irons were ever necessary. It seems more likely and more expedient that it was the norm to use a back bevel on almost all irons, save maybe profiled plane irons which would have been very difficult to back bevel. Just a thought.”

After reading Matt’s comments, I began to think about how my Grandfather taught me to sharpen a plane iron.  First, you have to remember that not all planes are used for “polishing”.  Most, are used for sizing and truing.  So, fifty-four years ago, Gramps taught me to sharpen plane irons like this.

First, make sure that the iron is ground to the purpose it was intended.  Here’s a number 6 iron that’s ground with a substantial crown.  Remember that a 6 is a foreplane.  It’s the plane that “strikes” the first datum or register, from which all other dimensions are taken.  So we get the “grind” right:

Then we “run” the iron in a “figure eight” motion on a hard arkansas stone.  Just as soon as we raise a “wire”, we strike it off by moving the iron laterally, while just raising the heel of the iron “ever so slightly” off the hone.

Then we move to a hard black arkansas stone.  We repeat the same “figure eight” motion, raise the wire, and, again, strike it away.  We don’t go to the strop.  The iron is razor sharp at this point.  The honed, secondary bevel in very small, which means we’re not wasting valuable tool steel.

We reassemble the iron and the chipbreaker and begin to work.  I mean, how many angels can sit on the head of a pin?

Back beveling plane irons – a few more thoughts

February 12, 2012

For some reason, I started thinking about back bevels, again, about a week ago.  Maybe it was because Les brought up David Charlesworth’s book, “Furniture-Making Techniques”.  So I spent a little time with Charlesworth and Garrett Hack (The Handplane Book).  Okay.  We know that higher cutting angles work better on certain species.  Chris Schwarz has weighed in, stating that a 62 1/2 degree is perfect for curly maple.  And I agree, as earlier posts on this blog will attest.  But I decided that we should be looking at simple ways the produce repeatable results.  So I went out and cut several wedges that should help in setting the back bevel, when (if ever) it’s called for.

Using a 3/8″ carriage bolt, a nut, couple of washers and a wing nut, we can make a rudimentary jig that will allow us to maintain the back bevel angle.

Instead of pushing the iron back and forth on the hone, I prefer a lateral “sweeping” motion.  I find that this allows me to apply pressure on either side and maintain the crown that I’ve already introduced to the iron.

There’s still a few “twists” that you’ll have to contend with.  Adding 5 degrees will put you up to York pitch, the old English standard for hardwood.  Adding 10 degrees will put you up to Middle pitch, which is great for lightly figured stock.   But, keep in mind if you’re working with an old Norris or Speers Plane, you’ll be struck by the fact that the iron looks to be about 3/16″ thick.  It probably is pretty close to that dimension.  You don’t get much chatter from one of those beauties.  But when you start cranking up the back bevel on your basic Stanley iron, prepare yourself.  After you cross the “York Pitch Boundary Line”, chatter will be a constant companion.  But with some fettling, you’ll probably able to eliminate the bulk of it.

The other thing that you’ll immediately notice is the greatly increased amount of effort that is required to push a plane with a substantial back bevel.  You’ll be shocked as you feel your heart rate increase as you remove a shaving that is .0002″ (or thinner).

I’ll keep this discussion alive.  There’s gotta be a couple of trade secrets out there about how to shear cut highly figured stock that have been lost to modernity.  I’d welcome any thoughts.

Bill Carter – Planemaker Extraordinaire – Part Two

January 6, 2012

I ran out of time and space yesterday.  But there’s a few more things that I wanted to mention about Bill Carter’s planes.

Obviously, Bill is a master with metals.  But he seems to be awfully comfortable with wood as the medium, as well.  Proof of this proposition can be seen below in this beautiful mitre plane – QED.

We don’t see many of these on this “side of the pond”.  But the aspiring planemaker who ventures to Bill’s site will probably be able to glean enough information from the techniques area to put one of these beauties together.  I can only imagine how wonderful this plane must be to use.  I’m sure I’ll be diggin’ my floats and scrapers out before too long.

I’m not gonna waste any more space with words.  I’m just going to show you more of Mr. Carter’s plane.  Call it an homage (OO-maage, as the French would say) to Bill’s work.  Enjoy.

Bill Carter – Planemaker Extraordinaire

January 5, 2012

I first saw photos of Bill Carter’s work more than a decade ago.  I was amazed then and I’m even more amazed now.  If you’ve never seen a Carter plane, you’re in for a treat.  Carter is a craftsman who can stand toe to toe with the likes of Konrad Sauer and Karl Holtey and hold his own.  But most importantly, Bill Carter is an artist.

Here’s one of Bill’s jointers, which, in his own judgement, might the most decorative infill plane he has ever built.

Detail of one of the many "Cupid's Bows" hand filed into the plane's sole

There are some really fine planemakers in the world today.  And the example above clearly proves that Bill is one of them.  But, to me, it’s the smaller planes which Bill Carter produces that are simply incredible.  Much of Bill’s material is salvaged from things like backsaw spines and old irons appear to be as useful as ever.  Simply look at a few of these planes. You’ll be amazed by the balance, beauty, purpose and sheer whimsy of these tools.

Check out those dovetails

Do yourself a big favor and go to Bill’s website.  There’s a lot of history and technique.  You’ll be glad you made the visit.

If I could have just one bench plane…….

August 27, 2011

On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked by fledgling hand plane afficionados, what type of bench plane  would I choose, if I could  have only one?  The answer is really very simple, a Bedrock style 605 1/2.  The 605 1/2 is not an easy plane to find, if you’re looking for a good original Stanley.  But they’re well worth the high dollar that you’ll likely have to pay to take it home.  If a 605 1/2 isn’t available, a 605 (or one of the new planes that emulate the Bedrock) is a decent alternative.

An orignal Stanley Bedrock 605 1/2

So what is it about this plane that makes it so useful?  First is the frog design.  It allows the user to adjust the mouth opening while the iron is in place on the frog.  The Bailey pattern requires the removal of the iron before the frog can be loosened to allow for adjustment.  This makes for a lot of fettling to get the mouth opening “just right”.  The second is it’s length and width.  It is 1″ longer and 1/4″ wider than the standard 605 (60 indicates the Bedrock type frog, 5 indicates jack plane).  It could correctly be classed as a panel plane by English standards.  But how does this extra size translate into performance?  The extra length allows the user to do smaller joining tasks and surface truing (i.e. panel leveling, hence the term panel plane).  The extra width clearly puts it in the class of a large smoother.

The Lie-Nielsen 605 1/2

Different irons for different tasks.  To fully exploit the potential of any jackplane, several different irons are required.  For dimensioning/thicknessing, an iron with a 1/16″ to 3/32″ crown is appropriate.  This is the crown that would be commonly used on a “foreplane”.

For general smoothing, an iron that is “gently” crowned (think .003″ to .005″) is the order of the day.  When this iron is properly sharpened and honed, it will produce a glass-like surface.  For highly figured work, an iron that is “gently” crowned and back beveled to create a cutting angle of 60 to 65 degrees will produce a surface that is free of tearout, i.e. curly maple.  (Lie-Nielsen offers several different frogs with bedding angles ranging from 50 degrees, “York” pitch, to 55 degrees “Middle” pitch)

Lee Valley jack plane - tote and frog move fore and aft as a unit - lateral and depth adjustment are made via a "Norris" type adjuster

For really gnarly wood such as burl or crotch, the handplane user might consider a toothing iron.  While not commonly available for bench planes, one could be made by simply filing or chiseling teeth (grooves) on the bevel side of the iron.  The iron is then reversed.  This reversal creates a cutting angle of 70-75 degrees, which is the traditional standard for toothing planes.  Just a caveat – not all bench plane designs will allow for running the iron reversed.  The relationship of the chip breaker to the depth control pawl will be the dictating factor.  So try it before you go to the bother of making a toothing iron.

The Woodriver #5 from Woodcraft

So, one plane, three or four irons and you’ve covered 95 percent of your benchplane chores.  Plus, you’ll save space and, very likely, a fair amount of money. 

Just a parting thought about replacement irons.  Woodcraft, Lie-Nielsen, Lee Valley and others sell high quality replacement irons for original Stanley planes.  IBC irons from Woodcraft are my personal favorites.  Be sure that the irons you order are designed to allow for the use of the original chip breaker, or you may find that you’ll have to purchase a new breaker as well.

Simply a Plane diversion

March 11, 2011

Half finished projects fill my little shed.  The place needs a good clean-up and some paint.  The sidewinder lathe and the “raked leg” workbench are awaiting completion.  So what do I do?  Of course, I allow myself to be diverted and completely distracted from all the stuff that I’ve got to do.  For what reason?  To build a toothing plane.  A what?  Yes, you heard right, a toothing plane.  I don’t need any more planes!  I’ve built a lot of them over the years.  I’ve bought a lot of them over the years.  So why a toothing plane and why now?

While reading about toothing planes on the Anthony Hay Cabinetmaker blog, I remembered that I’ve had several historic designs rolling around in my head for a number of years.  I knew that, at some point, I’d incorporate them into some little plane for use around the shop.  The toothing plane is an uncommon but very useful tool for anyone working on highly figured stock or around knots.  But I wanted to do something a little bit different from just the standard, everyday, purpose-built wooden plane.  So I delved back into history…

The famous Renaissance artist Durer included a fanciful plane (along with the famous number puzzle) in his work Melancholia I.  It’s got some pretty wide marginal lands, but it is a real sweetheart design.

Melancholia I

Here’s a little closer look at the actual design of the plane.

Durer plane - from the book, "Planecraft"

A.J. Roubo shows a number of beautiful plane designs in his book, “l’art du Menuisier”.

So I decided to incorporate features from both designs and add a “mechanically affixed” sole, similar to the soles found on Ulmia and ECE planes today.  So here’s the design that I came up with.

The body is Swiss Pearwood.  The horn, wedge and sole are made from Bloodwood (Satine).  I opted for a brass pin as opposed to “cheeks” to hold the wedge in order to maximize the throat opening, which is substantially reduced due to very high bedding angle of the iron (80 degrees).

The sole is joined with angled box joints (and some good old Titebond III).  Hand cut dovetails could be used as well.  But I must admit that I made a little box joint sled and cut the slots with a dado on my table saw (yes, I still own a table saw – kinda like a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat).

example of sole joint

The iron is made from O1 (oil hardening) tool steel.  In its annealed state, O1 can be easily cut with a hacksaw and filed into shape.  I used a 6″ slim taper file to cut the grooves.  If I had it to do over again, I’d use a cold chisel as suggested in the piece by Anthony Hay’s shop.  I know that all of my knife making friends will find this disgusting, but I actually quenched the iron in hot water, as opposed to oil.  I know, I know, this is not recommended.  But I chose not to fill the shop up with oily smoke (if and when the quench bath caught fire).  I was lucky.  The iron did not fracture and warping was minimal.  It was easily honed flat.  The heavy section of the iron probably prevented catastrophe.  It’s 3/16 x 2.

iron after shaping and hardening

 After the quench, I tempered the iron by placing it in our kitchen stove for 30 minutes or so at about 500 degrees F.  Having no technical means of checking the surface hardness, my guess is that it’s 60-62 Rockwell C, based on how it honed.  To “prettify” the iron, I used a little Birchwood-Casey cold gun bluing to darken it down a bit.  Maybe on the next plane I build, I’ll heat blue or chemically blacken the iron.

The horn was carved and the faceted surfaces were left un-sanded.

The "horn"

Rough parts ready for finishing

I used Weldwood Plastic Resin glue to glue the horn in place.  It’s an excellent product that’s been around for years.  Have to give a nod to my friend Les for educating me in it’s uses.  After finishing individual parts and assembly, I gave the plane a couple of coats of Birchwood-Casey Tru Oil.  It’s a gunstock varnish made with tung oil and some “secret” ingredients.  Two coats was all that was required.  Slap it on, wipe it off.  Just doesn’t get any easier.  It’s a fantastic finish.

The string like shavings made by the toothing plane

Alright, enough already with the distractions.  Now it’s time to get back to work.

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