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Making and Using Tools - Planes, Scrapers, and Shaves

  Building an English Steel Miter Plane Part I by Adrian Britt 2 of 13  

Once I bend the steel close to parallel, I place the assembly in the vice and let the vice finish. The mandrel is moved out of the vice, and I continue progressively tightening the vice. This will slightly over bend the steel which will compensate for spring back.

With very little spring back, the body width is very close to the 1-5/8 inside width. Throughout the build, I will need to re-tighten this width. This can be easily done by re-clamping the body in the vice.

The basic body shape is now complete. The finished body is roughly 8-1/4 in length. It is absolutely critical at this point that I make sure that the center hole in the heel is at the dead center of the plane body. I check that the sides are parallel with each other on both axis.

Using a tape, I prepare to mark the overall sole length. The 8-1/4 sides have grown slightly with the bending. The sides are not exactly the same length due to slight variations in the steel stretching. Using the shorter side as the guide, I mark the longer side to the exact length.

The sole will be longer than the body. In the front, I allow for 1-1/2 of protruding toe length. I do the same for the rear heel protrusion, except that I mark it at . As I file the various radius for the toe and heel, some total length will be lost. The plane sole measures 10 - 10-1/4.

I now lay out the pins on each side. First, I measure and mark a line 3/8 from the toe to the heel. This will be the mouth joint. Then I use a straight square to mark the pins leaving of waste on either side for the mouth joint location. I am sure to evenly space the pins and have them all be the approximate same size. It is important that I do not let the last pin on each side go into the heel radius. This will cause several problems that are best to avoid.

I prefer to use hacksaw with a 24-tpi blade to cut the limits of each pin. With a scribe, I mark the areas that will be waste. Using a method that I learned from Bill Carter, I use the hacksaw to remove waste by cutting multiple vertical cuts down to the bed line (3/16). Once the cuts are finished, I use a pin chisel to knock out the remaining waste. The waste areas are filed between the pins to create smooth, flat surfaces.


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English Chisel



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