Category Archives: Methods of work

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.

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

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.

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

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

 

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

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

 

 

Making a Waist Moulding using a Sticking Board

        The waist moulding between the upper and lower cases of a secretary desk I am building is a simple ovolo, 1″ by 5/8″.  Normally when making a moulding by hand,  the profile is stuck onto a wide board, and then ripped off to the finished size.  However, being at the end of this project,  the only piece available was too narrow, (and also too long at 84″) to be used with the bench dogs.  The solution was to make a sticking board to hold the piece.  It consists of a base board and a fence, both made of a leftover piece of plywood.  A wood screw placed in the base at one end served as a stop to hold the work piece in place.

Waist-Moulding-1The profile was cut, first using a rabbet plane to create the step, then roughed with a block plane.  A number 12 hollow finished the piece.  Note that the moulding overhangs the base of the sticking board to allow the planes room to come over the edge. The best part is there is no sanding needed.

Waist-Moulding-2

The finished moulding was mitered and installed with glue across the front and the first few inches on the returns,  and nailed with cut brad nails, which is historically accurate.  I find that the miter saw leaves a finish that needs no further working.

The color is a good bit lighter, due to the difference in mahogany, and also the fact that the desk has been completed for some time, and has darkened.  The finish should blend things together.  I hope to show more of this piece in the future.