My Favorite Planes

New Years Eve…freakin’ cold out there! Thought I would share some pics/info on a couple of my favorite planes that I use regularly, and their improvements.

First is my Stanley No.4 Type 7 smoother. I bought it off Ebay a couple of years ago, it was in pretty good condition except the blade was mostly used up and the tote was cracked. I was happy with it once I replaced the tote…for a while. I kept reading posts on woodworking forums telling of how performance was greatly improved with the installation of a Lie Nielsen iron and chipbreaker. That was all the encouragement I needed, and promptly ordered a replacement from Lie Nielsen to test the theory.  All I can say is that it is a plane transformed…no more chatter marks, digging in, etc. To top it off I put a healthy back-bevel on the back of the iron to increase the cutting angle to reduce tearout on difficult grain, and today it is my go-to smoother. Although…a Stanley 4 1/2 with a LN iron would be cool too…IMG_0663IMG_0667[1]Note: This is the full .125 inch thick LN replacement iron, NOT the “made for Stanley planes” thinner version available.IMG_0670[1]I was initially concerned that the iron might be too thick to fit the throat properly, but a few licks with a file was all that was needed. The only negative in the whole thing, is that there is now more backlash in the adjuster mechanism than was originally…but I can live with that.

Next is my Stanley No.8 Type 4 Pre-lateral. Another Ebay aquisition that was in worse shape than the No.4, and since it needed restoring, a plan started to hatch inside my brain…”Wouldn’t it be neat to put a LN 3/16″ thick iron in it”…hmmmm, a challenge.

I decided I would only get the iron this time, and would use the plane’s original chipbreaker instead of LN’s version. Part of my decision making process was that the breaker was going to have to be modified anyway for it to work, as the adjustment pawl was not long enough to extend through the 3/16″ iron, so I would use the original breaker vs effing up a LN breaker if it didn’t work. The throat was nowhere near wide enough to let this monster through, so out came the files. I clamped an angled hardwood block to the bottom of the plane sole to act as a guide and started filing…and filing. You have no idea how much filing until you do it…too late to stop now. Once the throat was dressed to the proper width to clear the iron (several hours and two days later…I spaced it out) it was time to address the other problem. Because the iron was so thick, the adjustment pawl would not engage the chipbreaker. After pondering and procrastinating for a couple of days I came up with a solution…two brass tabs drilled and peened to the breaker with brass rod which would engage the adjustment pawl and allow the iron to be advanced and retracted.IMG_0674IMG_0677[1]The plane works like a dream…some will argue it is not necessary on a jointer plane, but it sure looks cool with that big ass iron in it!IMG_0678[1]IMG_0671[1]FYI…some of you may have noticed the No.8 is sitting on top of it’s big brother in the photos…that’s another story. As always, leave them wanting more…

Dovetailed Keepsake Box-Completed

I put the last coat of varnish on the keepsake box this morning. If you want a rundown on the finish, the stain is Minwax Oil Stain, color is 211 Provincial. After the stain I finished it with Minwax Wipe-On Poly to seal it. I am not going for a high gloss finish on the box so four coats is where I called it quits. I enjoyed the project…as I said in the beginning it has been some time since I have done dovetailed work, and I have to say that these are the best I have cut. I hope my Dad enjoys it as much as I have.IMG_0650[1]IMG_0656[1]IMG_0655[1]I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Keepsake Box-Part 6

So here we are, just as I feared…Christmas Eve morn and the box for my Dad is incomplete. Work requirements have prevented me from being able to work on it for the past couple of days, days that would have allowed me to finish assembly, stain and topcoat. Yesterday after work I jumped on it though…finished assembly, made the box lid and installed the hardware. I am pretty happy with it so far, it has turned out better than I had envisioned. One thing I have realized though is that I will have to pick up a chain for the lid…no biggie.IMG_0638[1]Today I am going out home to deliver gifts…giving Dad a gift card for now FYI. If I am lucky, maybe I will have time to put a coat of stain on it tonight, and decide if I will install the keyhole escutcheon I had planned to put on the front of the box…it was just for decoration, but I don’t know yet if I really like it or not. Cheers!

Keepsake Box-On Yer Feet…Part 5

Well I took a couple hours tonight and cut out the bottom for the box and routed the edges…it is not glued up at this point, but I just wanted to get her up on her feet to get a look at what’s to come.IMG_0621[1]Hopefully I will get some more time later in the week to assemble and start work on the lid.

Keepsake Box-Dovetailed Feet Part 4

Time is getting short before Christmas…got out to the shop after work today and cut the design on the feet that I dovetailed a couple of evenings ago. I used a 1″ forstner bit to drill the circular part of the design, then cut the rest out on the scroll saw. Once I had that done I glued them up and once they were dry, planed the pins and tails flush. Think they are looking pretty good, now I just have to get a bit of time to make the bottom and lid for the box…at least all the hard bits are done!IMG_0612[1]IMG_0614[1]



Keepsake Box-A Hypocritical Nightmare…Part 3

So I am back at the dovetail project today…our good friends hijacked LOML and whisked her off to the city to do some shopping, so I had some shop time on my hands. First of all it was frikken cold this morning so I was out to the shop at 7am putting on a fire in the woodstove. By the time our friends arrived to pick up Kimmy at 9:30am the shop was starting to warm up to the point that I could start where I left off last time, so I decided to lay out and cut the pins for the other side of the box, as the tails were already cut. Now, I don’t know if it was a bad day or I just couldn’t get my Chi on or WTF…but I cut the joints three times and still wasn’t satisfied with the damn thing. I started looking at the way I cut my dovetails…I have ALWAYS cut them tails first vs. pins first, being very adamant that this was the best way to do it, but I was getting desperate. I took two scraps and laid out the pins first (l felt the need to look over my shoulder at this point, I am a bit of a slave to my ridiculous notions about such things), and cut just outside my layout lines, and chopped out the waste and pared to the lines with the chisel. Glancing over my hypocritical shoulder again, I grabbed the other piece of scrap, set the end of the freshly cut pinboard on top of it and grabbed the pencil and transferred the location of the pins to the tailboard. “Hmmm…this is easier to mark than the usual way”…and using my dovetail marker, transferred those lines down the side of the tailboard from the end. I grabbed my dovetail saw and cut the tails out, cutting to my lines as much as possible, and chopped out the waste with a chisel. The moment of truth…slid right together with a few light taps of the hand right off the saw… just like butter. Frack! Here we go, straight down the metaphorical rabbit hole again…the earth is no longer flat, we ARE in space, another can of worms vaporized into the atmosphere to drift eternally in near-earth orbit…

Suck it up Princess.

Sooo…grabbed the two pieces I had previously dovetailed and set them aside (straight into the woodstove of course…hide the evidence) and cut some new parts and started from the beginning…again. Here are the results of my traitorous afternoon:

Box sides all glued up and starting to clean up the joints with the plane…looks promising!IMG_0599[1]After planing was completed…IMG_0600[1]Almost forgot…half blinds on the back of the box.IMG_0603[1]Next I decided to finish the rest of the dovetailed parts, the feet. These are thinner than the rest of the box parts, at 1/2″ thick. I remembered to take a couple pics of the process:IMG_0604[1]IMG_0606[1]The box and the feet all dovetailed:IMG_0608[1]Next time I will cut out the design on the feet and cut and shape the bottom of the box…then it will begin to look like something. FYI, if you look back a couple of posts you can see the drawing of the box and see what the feet will look like. They are just rectangular right now for the sake of cutting the joints. What looks like gaps in the dovetails on the pieces for the feet are just penciled out layout lines, they won’t be glued and planed until after the design is cut out on them. So all in all it was a good day in the shop, despite the revelations. Thanks T & R and LOML for the shop time!

Keepsake Box-Dovetails Part 2

Well I had an hour or so after I got home from work, so I threw on a quick fire in the woodstove…was -9 degrees celsius when I got home…and did a little work on the keepsake box. Didn’t have much time really, but have one corner complete and so far not looking too bad. Sharpened those chisels too, while the woodstove was warming up. I will have some time coming up this weekend, so I am hoping to make a big dent in it then. Work sure does get in the way sometimes…

Here’s a couple pics…doesn’t look too bad.IMG_0583[1]IMG_0585[1]