Acer-Ferrous Toolworks wooden vice screws

Acer-Ferrous Toolworks was started by a young man, Paul Peters, whom I have been mentoring in woodworking since he was a boy.  Paul recently graduated from a trade school as a machinist, and decided to combine his two interests, woodworking and metalworking, into a business venture.  He purchased a 1910 Monarch lathe, and made his own tooling to produce wood vice screws.  His first product, a leg vice screw and nut, is shown below.

The 2 1/2″ diameter, 2 threads per inch screw is made of hard maple ( Acer saccharum), riven out of the log to ensure straight grain, and vacuum kiln dried.  The octagonal hub is a separate piece of wood, and is threaded and glued to the screw.  Overall length of the screw is approximately 24″, of which 4″ is the hub.  The hub measures 3 1/2″ across the flats.  There is a 3/8″ moat cut in at the base of the hub down to 2″ diameter for the garter (User supplied.).  A 1″ diameter hole is also bored through the hub for the handle, also provided by the user.

The nut is also hard maple, and measures 8″ x 4″ x 2″, with the threaded hole centered in the face. This leaves plenty of room for mounting holes to be drilled.

The two piece design allows the option for making the hub of a different wood, and retaining the maple screw.  Anyone interested in this option, or with requests for other sizes, can contact Paul at prpinthehills@gmail.com

Red Rose Reproductions is currently marketing and selling these screws. Price is $155. To purchase, click here.

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Acer-Ferrous leg vice screw.

 

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Bench screw hub.

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Hub base showing garter moat.

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Screw threads

 

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Bench screw nut

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Assembled screw and nut

 

 

 

Building a Spill Plane

We thought it would be helpful to detail a bit the process for making a spill plane here for those who may have purchased the Plan Kit and would like to learn more about the process.  Begin with a billet of a hard, quarter sawn, close grained wood.  Beech, Cherry,  Birch, and Maple are all good choices.  Avoid soft woods, as they will not hold up well to wear.  Also, open grained woods should be avoided because they are not a uniform hardness throughout.  The billet should squared up and sized at 10″ in length, 2″ high, and 1 3/4″ wide.  Quartered grain runs side to side, with face grain showing on the top and bottom.  The width is 1/8″ wider than finished size to allow for the saw kerf when ripping the left face off.  Once the billet is sized, lay out the screw holes, and drill and countersink for the screws. Be sure to drill 1/8″ deeper than the screws since that will be lost during the ripping operation.  It is also good to countersink the heads far enough below the surface to allow for finish planing of the side when assembled.  We use a template to lay out the holes, but for a single plane, simply using the full size plan as a pattern will work well.

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Using an awl to mark the holes prior to drilling the holes.

The bottom is then cut using a dado blade to create the fences on each side.  W leave a 3/8″ fence on the right side, and 7/16″ on the left.  The left side is then ripped off using a table saw with the saw fence set at 3/8″.  By removing the side, the mortise becomes much easier to cut.  Cutting the mortise is also done at the table saw, by tilting the blade and using the miter gauge set for the appropriate angles.  This can also be done with a hand saw and layout lines.  Notice in the second photo below that the bed cut is deeper and penetrated into the fence, which allows for the blade to do likewise.  This will be cleaned up with a float after reattaching the face.  Remove the remaining waste using a chisel and floats of rasps, making the surface flush with and parallel to the fence.

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Holes are drilled before removing left face, and bed and breast cuts are then made.

 

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Removing the throat waste, using care not to damage the sides.

After the waste is removed, the sides of the body and fence can be dressed with a hand plane, and reattached with the included brass screws.  We recommend pre threading the holes using a steel screw first, to minimize the chance of twisting off the softer brass screws.  Use a wax based lubricant to reduce friction when driving the screws.  Once the side is reattached, the bed needs to be extended into the sides of the plane using a 1/8″ edge float.  It is critical that the cutting edge of the blade extends into the fence on both sides of the sole, and that there is some wiggle room to allow for lateral adjustment of the blade to ensure it is square to the sole.

Next, the wedge needs to be made.  Start with a piece of stock 7/8″ wide and at least 7″ long, (to allow for holding and adjustments) with the quarter sawn grain direction running the same way as the plane body.  Rip the bed side to the angle shown on the print.   the breast side is a compound angle, and needs to be held in some type of fixture to use on a table or band saw.  Shown below is the fixture we use.  (The wedge blank shown should be longer if possible.)  Alternatively, a hand saw and plane can be used.  Regardless of how it is cut out, it will need to be refined with hand planes for an exact fit to the body and blade.

Wedge cutting fixture for use on the table saw.

Wedge cutting fixture for use on the table saw.

After fitting the wedge, the blade can then be bedded.  This process is accomplished by coating the back if the blade with a dry erase marker, fitting it into the body, and setting the wedge.  Tap the blade down through the plane to loosen the wedge, and remove. Any high spot will show up as places where the marker is rubbed off.   These high spots can be carefully leveled with a bed float or fine rasp.   This is a trial and error process, and should be repeated until there is even rubbing across the iron, especially at the bottom.  A hollow area in the middle is not a concern, but any low spots at the bottom will likely cause chatter in use.  As can be seen in the photo below, there is a high spot in the center that must be leveled out.

Bedding the iron using a dry erase marker and bed float.

Bedding the iron using a dry erase marker and bed float.

Once the bedding is complete, the escapement hole can be drilled.  This hole is parallel to the bed of the plane, and tangent with the front of the blade when installed in the plane.  Layout the location of the hole on the side of the plane body by transferring the bed line across the top and down the side.  Mark the height according to the print.  Make an wooden “blade” the same thickness and taper as the real one, and install this into the plane along with the wedge.   This will ensure there is no damage to the drill that can result from using the steel blade.  Use a drill press with a Forstner drill bit and a method to hold the assembled plane at the correct angle.  Drill through the side of the plane, and as far as possible through the wedge without hitting the far side of the body.  This creates part of the shape needed on the bottom of the wedge.  Notice the wedge is longer than needed, which allows for the drill to be completely buried in the wood to minimize the tendency to lead off.  Also notice the drill is breaking out slightly on the bed side.  This is what you are after.

Drill press and fixture being used to drill escapement hole.

Drill press and fixture being used to drill escapement hole.

Mark the bottom of the wedge front where it meets the sole, and remove.  The bottom of the wedge can now be cut away approximately 1/8″ above this line, parallel to the sole of the plane.  A round rasp can then be used to complete the contour left by the drill.   Be sure to leave the leading edge of the wedge sharp where it contacts the blade so shavings do not become entrapped.  the top of the wedge can now be contoured to your liking.

Wedge, top, after drilling. Bottom wedge has been finished.

Wedge, top, after drilling. Bottom wedge has been finished.

The escapement hole should be funnel shaped on the inside to eliminate places for the spill the snag.  All surfaces need to be smooth.  Test the plane using pine or similar straight grained soft wood, watching for jamming or irregular cutting.  Modify as needed to get a smooth cut and straight, finely curled spills.  Round over the ends of the plane, and clean up all surfaces in preparation for finishing.  We like to use Minwax Antique Oil finish, topped with paste wax. You now have a very unique wood plane;  the only plane where the shavings are what is used!

Completed spill plane with spills

Completed spill plane with spills

 

 

Ordering

The primary emphasis of Red Rose Reproductions is  the production of side escapement molding planes. We now have a steady supply of American Beech, and the techniques for producing planes is becoming more streamlined and the designs more refined.  Hollow and rounds, side beads, and other custom planes, along with numerous planes planned for the future make it very difficult, if not impossible to keep all these planes in stock.  Therefore, we encourage customers with a need for specific planes  to contact us for a quote and timeline.  Obviously, orders are given a priority over production of planes for inventory.  Once production is about to begin, we will request 1/3 of the price as a down payment, and the remainder upon completion. Pictured below are a couple of custom planes that are not part of our regular offerings, but were special requests.

Prices for our current offerings are as follows:

Hollow and Rounds, pair                        $425

Side Beads, each                                   $265

Panel Raiser                                            $595

Custom                                                   Will quote

If you would like to request a specific plane or planes, contact us here.  Will will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and give an estimate for delivery.

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

Custom Double Bead Plane

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

Custom Sash Plane

Side Bead Planes

Side beads, or beading planes, are used to put a bead along the edge of a board, and can be used in many situations, such as back boards, the bottom of table aprons, or along shelf fronts. A very versatile plane, these were, along with hollow and rounds, perhaps the most common molding plane produced.  These are one of the easiest molding planes to use, with an integral fence and depth stop, and no spring.  (The plane is held vertically.)   Simply hold the plane against the edge of the stock being profiled, and make passes until the depth stop prevents any further cutting.  For a different treatment, running the plane along two sides of a corner will produce a 3/4 bead on that corner.

Our planes are made of  quarter sawn American Beech.  The tapered O-1 tool steel iron is bedded at 55 Degrees for use in hardwoods, and is sharp and ready to use.  The bead is boxed with persimmon, which is cut with the grain on a bias to match the bed, to ensure a long tool life.  We produce these planes in 1/8″, 3/16″ and 1/4″ beads, the most common and useful for furniture use.   It should be mentioned that our sizing is a measurement of the bead itself, and that the actual profile, including the quirk, is about 1/32″ wider than the bead size.  Thus the 1/8 is 5/32″ wide, the 3/16 is 7/32″, and the 1/4 is 9/32″.

Finish is Minwax Antique Oil Varnish, with a coat of paste wax added for a smooth even sheen and inviting feel.

Side bead planes in, from left, 1/8′,   3/16″ and   1/4″ sizes.

After the initial run of these planes, some refinements were made.  The wedges now graduate in size from 5/32″ to 7/32″.  This makes the planes have a more uniform appearance, but more importantly, they are narrower in width in the grip, which makes them lighter and lowers the center of gravity.  Easier to use with better feel and less fatigue  are the end result.

Price is $275 per plane.  Each is sharpened and test cut before shipping, making them ready to go right out of the box.

 

Graduated wedge sizes are apparent in this view.

 

Heels are stamped with sizes.

 

Planes are 10″ long with a 55 degree bed angle.  Note the chamfer at the escapement, which makes it easier to locate the iron against the blind side when setting up.

 

Beads cut with all three sizes of beading planes.

 

Beech Billets for Plane Making

Current billet stock is becoming depleted, but we hope to have more stock available in the future, as our sawyer locates suitable logs to cut and dry. Our intention is to have a fairly regular supply on hand.  If you are looking for something specific, please let us know and we will do what we can to accommodate your request.

In the past, the preferred wood for making wood bodied planes has been American Beech. (Fagus grandifolia)  Beech has the qualities sought after for plane making, with the right combination of hardness, a tight grain, good wear characteristics,  and the ability to quickly acclimate to its environment.  Old Street Tool has a good article that goes into depth about beech as a plane making wood here.

The big challenge is finding beech in any form, let alone quarter sawn thick stock.  I have had the good fortune to find a sawmill willing to cut and dry beech to my specifications.  I expect this sawmill to be a regular supplier for me, and because I am buying large quantities at a time, it seemed appropriate to offer billets to plane makers who want just enough to make their own planes.  these are available now in the store.

Bench plane billets have been sized for common Try, Jack, and Smoother planes. This wood has been dried in a vacuum kiln, and has a moisture content of 6-8%.  All stock is rough sawn, and dimensions given are rough sizes.  Some blanks may be bigger than the stated size, as I tried to measure the smallest ones. The Try and Jacks include wood for both a tote, and a wedge, both quarter sawn.  The totes are approximately 5 3/8″ (quarter sawn direction) x 6″ x 1 1/4″ thick.  Wedge stock is about 3″ wide for the larger planes and 2 1/8″ for the smoothers. (Quarter sawn direction) x 3/4″ x 8″, leaving enough to hold onto while shaping.  The quartered grain on the billets and wedges is within 15 degrees or better of true quarter sawn.  The handles may vary more than that, but quartered grain here is not as critical. The billets and wedges are all sapwood, with only the handles having any heart wood.

Moulding plane billets are cut to make side escapement planes, and also include wedge stock.  These measure 11″ x 3 5/8″ in size, and currently come in five widths:  3/4″,  1″,  1 1/4″,  1 1/2″,  1 3/4″.  These are oversize, and will finish at the advertised thicknesses.  These billets are not all perfectly quarter sawn, with some having grain approaching rift sawn. (See photo below of the end of the billets.) This is an issue I am addressing with my sawyer for future cutting to obtain more quartered grain.  However, an examination of antique planes will show it was quite common for planes to be less than quartered grain. These contain both sap wood and heart wood.

All pieces are guaranteed to be sound wood, free of knots, checks, splits or worm holes.

Please note:  Because of the size and weight of these billets, shipping costs are fairly high.  We do not mark up shipping costs, and these rates reflect what we pay for labels.  Thank you for your understanding.

 

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Bench Plane Billets

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Moulding Plane Billets

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Large Moulding Plane Billets

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Various sizes of billets available. Rough cut length is shown.

Panel Raisers back in stock

We currently have several panel raising planes in stock in our store.  They are listed individually to show the variations in wood grain and spalting.  Also, one of these planes is designed to be used on stock that is 15/16″ thick. This would be appropriate for frames that are 1″ thick or more.  The reveal is the same at 1″, with a total profile that is 1 3/8″ wide, with 3/8″ being the tang that fits into the stiles and rails.  Price is $595.  For more information, visit the panel raiser post here.

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Completed panel raisers, several which are available.

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Panel raising planes

Panel Raisers Coming Along

The panel raising planes are in progress, with the mouths of the bodies all cut out and the wedges fitted.  This is perhaps the most time consuming operations of making these planes.  While there is still a lot of work to be done, these are off to a strong start.  This is the beech that I traveled to Indiana for in January, and I am pleased with it.  There is a fair amount of spalting present, but it is not punky or soft, and I am able to limit it to the tops of the bodies.  This ensures that the sole of the planes are defect free and will have the best wearing characteristics.

The next operation will be to cut the knicker mortises, and make and fit wedges for the knicker blades.  Compared to the skewed mouths and wedges, this will be easy!

Finished mouth for skewed iron.

Finished mouth for skewed iron.

Wedges fit.

Wedges fit.

The wedges shown above are left long during shaping to make it easier to hold with a clamp.  Once the lower end is complete, they will be cut to length.

Anyone interested, let me know.  I still have a couple available.  $595

Panel Raising Planes under way

After a longer delay than I liked, the panel raiser planes are getting started.  It took a while to track down appropriate wood for these planes.  Finding 12/4 quarter sawn American Beech is a challenge, but I now have enough to make several batches of these planes. I am also making several changes from the original design that I feel will be an improvement to their performance and comfort.  The blades will be 5/32″ thick, up from 1/8″.  The bed angle is increasing to 45 degrees, from 40 degrees, which will help improve the finish on the long grain sides of a panel.  The body will be slightly taller, with a more sculpted back for greater use comfort. Unfortunately,  I had to raise the price to cover additional costs and time to make.  The new price is $595.

Shown here are the blanks rough cut and acclimating to the shop environment.  I will be making these in small batches of ten at a time because of the complexity and time involved.  If anyone wants to reserve a copy, please let me know.  No money down, and no obligation, but it does ensure one is available when completed.

Beech blanks for panel raiser planes.

Beech blanks for panel raiser planes.

Sterling Tool Works plane hammer available here

Sterling Tool Works makes perhaps the finest plane adjusting hammer available today, and Red Rose Reproductions is pleased to offer this fine tool in our store.  This is a tool meant to adjust the set of the iron and set the wedge in a traditional wooden plane, such as the planes made by Red Rose.  The brass head is used to tap the iron, and the wooden head to set the wedge.  This will minimize damage to the plane as would occur when using a steel hammer.  The wooden “spud” is threaded in place, so is easily replaceable, and the hammer includes a spare head made of black nylon, which is nearly indestructible.  Made of a brass alloy and Black Walnut, with a threaded stainless steel stud for securing the wooden “spud”. Please note: This tool in not intended for striking nails or for aggressive hammering. This hammer  is used extensively here in the manufacturing and tuning of our planes.  Price is $135, and is available here. Made in the USA. Highly recommended.

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

Improved Spill Planes in stock

The spill plane is now being produced with a tapered iron, which makes it easier to adjust and remove the blade.  Also, the finish has changed to an oil/varnish (Minwax antique oil finish) and topped with paste wax.  Currently available in three choices:  European Beech, Curly Maple, and plain maple, which has some spalting and light curl. The maple can vary from plane to plane.  Pictured below are the three options. Price is unchanged at $135 for all wood choices.  Ordering can be done here.

European Beech

European Beech

Tiger Maple

Tiger Maple

Maple with spalting

Maple with spalting