Pretty Good Maple Plane


About a year ago, Jonathan S. from the Alaska Woodworker and I taught a Krenov style plane building class for the Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association.  We had a dozen or so guys in the class.  We used Hock irons and chip breakers and the plane bodies were made from maple.  At the end of the class, my plane was substantially done and sat on the shelf for close to a year.  Does that make me a real woodworker?  Maybe I need a router table to be a real woodworker.

Each year ACWA participates in the Artistry in Wood display at the Northway Mall.  As president of the club, I encourage all of the board members to lead by example and put at least one piece in the show.  That was my incentive to finish up my Krenov plane.  A little bit of filing, contouring, and finish and I was done.  It did quite well in the show, perhaps because it was the only entry in the woodworking tools division.

The body of the plane is nice, straight grained maple.  The wedge has a little bit of curl to it and it has a pretty streak of spalting to give it some color.

I tried a new finish on this plane.  I made a beeswax and boiled linseed oil polish.  I melted the beeswax and poured it into the BLO.  I had to heat the mixture up to get it to blend.  I applied the first coat to the plane while it was still liquid.  Subsequent applications were when the mixture had firmed up.  I applied it to everything but the wedge, cross pin, and ramp.  Those areas received plain BLO.  No need for the wax to work against the wedge!

I’m happy with the way this plane turned out.  It is a pretty good maple plane.  Certainly not a Nice Ash Plane!

Wood Veneer Hammer

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I made a veneer hammer patterned after the style Steve Latta uses.  I have a commercially made all metal hammer, but as Steve explained to me, a metal hammer gets too hot.  He sets his hammer in a shallow pan of water on a hot plate to keep the hot hide glue from sticking to it.  A wood head hammer stays cool to the touch.

This hammer is made from figured maple and cocobolo.  I did the maple work and I had The Boy turn the cocobolo handle.  I say he helped me make the hammer, he says I helped him make the hammer.  I said I could have turned the handle.  He says yeah, but what he did in an hour would have taken me all day and three pieces of wood.  Fair enough.

It is hard to see in the photos, but The Boy burnished in some accent rings into the handle with an old guitar string.  I think it turned out nice.

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The metal squeegee portion of the hammer is a piece of 3/16″ brass stock.  I started with a square edge and rounded it over freehand.  Before I secured it into the maple head, I polished the brass on a buffing wheel.

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The brass strip is attached to the head with epoxy, then three brass pins (visible at the bottom of the picture above) provided a mechanical connection should the epoxy ever fail due to heat or moisture issues.

The cocobolo handle is attached to the maple head with a wedged tenon.  For a touch of style, I made a brass wedge.

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This hammer was used to veneer this mahogany fan pattern.  It worked just as well as Steve’s hammer and stayed cool to the touch.  What more could you ask for?




Dovetailed Router Plane Box

Once a year the Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association hosts a weekend event called Tools and Techniques. As president of the club, even I am not immune to doing demonstrations! I was asked to demonstrate cutting dovetails with a router jig.

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I built this box as the completed sample to show while I did my demonstration. It also helped me get all the dovetails laid out ahead of time. I sized the box to use some of the odds and ends I had kicking around the shop. With a little fine tuning, it fits my Lee Valley router plane nicely. The plane is held in the box with some machine screws that go through the fence holes in the plane body. At some point I will make some long custom hold down nuts so you don’t have to reach all the way to the bottom of the box. Look for that project some time in the future!

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The sides are maple which was left over from another box project. The left side has some interesting grain patterns and color from either a knot or a branch crotch. The top and bottom panels are 1/2” cherry veneer plywood. There is a little bit of curl in the panel I put on the lid. The finish is rattle can gloss lacquer. I knocked the gloss back with steel wool and wax. I used Brusso hinges and a jewelry box hasp from Home Depot. I wasn’t thrilled about the hasp in the beginning, but I think it looks good.

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I cut the dovetails with my 24” Porter-Cable Omni Jig. I used the narrow pin router bit. All of the pins were the same size, except for the half pin at the joint of the lid and box. I made that pin 1/8” wider to account for the saw kerf when I cut the top off. To make it 1/8” wider, I used a drill bit as a spacer when I set up the guide fingers. Much easier than measuring! When I cut the lid off, I put a 1/16” thick 7-1/4” framing saw blade in my table saw. That left me a little meat to true up the join. I used sand paper glued to a granite slab and flattened the box like you would true the bed of a hand plane – figure eight pattern.

Since this was my display box, I have the twin box that I built during my demonstration. I haven’t cut the top off that one yet. Perhaps I will finish it as a gift with Christmas coming up soon.