Month: November 2010

Baltimore wood’n plane

I finally made time to set up the jointer I won at auction and posted back in August. I need a bunch of planks for a wheel barrow frame bed, it will carry firewood and what ever else we need to move around outside. The planks are 25″ long and as wide as I can get from riven stock.The plane was a big help in this task but I had to set it up first, it had that glazed finish on the irons that you see in antique stores trying to sell old tools,I don’t know what it is but it keeps the rust away and is a pretty good sign that you just bought something that was really neglected. This one wasnt that bad, the bevel was close enough to 25 degrees and pretty streight for me. It took a while to grind the back of this monster blade flat I used the side of the wheel on my electric low-speed grinder, doing so is not recommended by the manufacturer and safety advocates so don’t do this without proper advocate supervision, then to the 220 diamond and on to the water stones. The sole of the plane wasnt streight, that’s easily flattened with a  hand plane and winding sticks.

Now she sings.

The longer planes I use have a ball on the toe or front of the plane that you grip to weight the plane as it moves through the cut. Short planes dont desire this, you use the palm or side of your leading hand to weight the plane through its motions. To use a plane without a horn or ball is a bit confusing at first, kinda feels like driving a stick  again after a long period of driving an automatic.

Awhile back Follansbee had posted about a hand hold  he uses and my first thought was that’s awkward, it didn’t look user friendly.On the third push my left hand automatically went from the side of the plane to a reverse grip to the toe of the plane. I thought “that’s odd” but it felt familiar. Wasnt until later that I remembered Peter writing about it. Maybe it was swimming in my subconscious,I don’t think so those are pretty muddy waters, either way It just made sense and felt right, instinctual. It puts the force of the left hand in the center of that part of the plane and she steers like a dream.Holding the hand fingers forward is off balance and wants to drive the plane away from the operator and the point of pressure is placed on the left side of the plane under the palms heel pad thing part.

So back to tuning up irons, I  freehand sharpened my plane blades but after so many times bevel’s get shorter and they are not at a right angle to the side of the iron. And the three that I use regularly were at about 40 degrees, I was getting clogged up at the mouth of the plane and there was unessisary tear out on the wood, it was a mess. Regrinding the bevel close to 25 degrees on the low-speed electric grinder(that’s still fast enough to burn the hardness out of the blade if not real careful) and sharpening with a guid to 25 made all the difference they work fantastically now. Deneb Puchalski of Lie Nielsen is a wealth of knowledge about everything hand planes. He has an article in the August 2010 #213 Fine Woodworking Magazine and describes an “all in one honing station”. basically you measure in a predetermined distance,the amount of blade sticking past your honing jig when the jig is set to hone the desired angle , 25,30,35 and so on degree’s. Attach a block of wood to that measurement on a board to butt the edge against , now you can set your blade in its guide every time knowing you’ll get the desired bevel with no fuss. I simply put a line with my square at  2 1/8″, no block, that’s the distance the diagram suggest for 25, and my guid is the same as the one used in the article, it was close enough for me. It’s a great way to set up your irons.

Prior to all of this if you need to square the edge to the side of the iron you need a flat surface and a square then move the iron across the diamond stone with out a lot of hand pressure like…..

Then to the wheel to grind grind grind.

Some may shutter at the site of rust on their table saw, it comes off easily with a scotch pad and WD-40 if you don’t let it sit too long.

This is some thing I do at the most once a year and can be avoided more so by using the honing guide all the time. i like sharpening with out it and might get a little more camber on the edge than with the guid.


11/10/10 I did a Green Woodworking demo and tour of the shop for a local woodworking guild, it was real nice to have the demonstration here. There were about 15 and the mood reminded me of the woodworking classes and seminars I’ve been to where people are really interested in different methods and techniques. In woodworking there are many different avenues to take when designing and building your piece and its very helpful to see other methods and techniques in person, surfing the web and researching only gets me so far then there are questions that I need to see the answers to in person. We started off at a bolt of Red Oak where I chained sawed a 20″ piece off , I need parts to make a stool/ladder thing so the kids can reach the sink and making a part for a project would tie in nicely with the demo. We touched on how trees grow the ray plane and growth ring plane, riving wood and what to keep and not to keep. My shop wont accommodate that many comfortably. I set up the portable workbench so every one could see. And went through the process squaring and sizing riven stock to the appropriate dimensions for my project using only hand tools, round wooden bench dogs (without vice)and hold fast’s. There is so much more to this style of working wood that just can’t be covered in such a limited amount of time, if any one out there has a desire to learn greewoodworking, I want to offer one day classes in riving wood and using the shaving horse to work parts, a riving wood and hand tool day that includes set up and sharpening of wooden and metal planes and irons.Green woodworking bowls and spoons is something else we could do. Use of some specialty tools included.Classes catered to your interest. Interested and want more information? please email me at [email protected] . Today I had some time to spare in between jobs and made five more of the parts I started in the demonstration these are the side rails.The pic shows all the necessary bits, the freshly riven boards, the farthest right is visibly wet, axe for hewing to rough size, a streight edge,marking gauge for the thickness,coffin plane,mallet to adjust plane,winding sticks, combination square, and apple chopping block used when hewing in the back ground. Thanks to all who came out let’s do it again!


There has been a lot going on here at corporate lately. We have this great side door entrance that hardly sees any use due to it being so disgusting and hard to operate. It leads to either the workshop or into the living quarters,so it can be very convienient.The door opens in, that’s normal enough but here we find it best to do things abnormal. It creates wasted space behind the door, you can’t sit anything on the floor because you wont be able to close the door, and may fall down the stairs into the shop breaking all six beers and the vase with the cut flowers for the Mrs. not good. It needs to open out. But getting a door that opens out was no simple task, yea I was going to make a door but reality and the desire to have a working entrance in short time overrode that idea thank goodness. Here is where the box store shines, right ? I can go get what I need and have this wrapped up….no. You must special order this door, custom-made 360$ and a two-week wait, deflated I walked by a stand of exterior wood doors and perked up, I can make this work. I didn’t have to trim much off and they sell these whole saw kits to mount the knob and lock set. After 220$ the whole in the wall was filled. It is so much easier to make an open in door air tight from the outside elements, it’s a whole nother thing when working with an out swing door, for me it is anyway. The threshold was tough to do I was concerned I would create something that would trip you as you entered you already had to step up to enter, a humped threshold would only make that worse. The floor on the landing is pretty worn out so I relayered that and now the bottom of the door closes against the floor and a piece of weather-stripping and there is nothing to step over coming in or out. This is fun because it gives me an excuse to make flooring and use these old planes I wrote about in a previous post. I used 5/4 white pine from the mill and worked it down to about 4/4. Not an ideal wood for flooring but its a basement way not the grand entrance and will look good with wear(character). Now we have a fresh area to use like a mud room, and it will be easier to unload a vehicle if it is raining too. Some MinWax Jacobean stain and two coats of oil based floor finish and were good. I picked up a bed float a while back and find myself using it more and more. I put a new handle on a small sledge that I use for driving wedges when splitting big stock or fire wood. All of the shaping of the tenon was done with this float(first I band sawed close to the final tenon thickness). I sharpened after trying it out of the box, it felt sharp but a quick touch up with a file really made it easier to control, cut faster and leave a smother surface than a rasp.