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 ¾”. 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 ¾” 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
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.