Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sadly, you won't find it on my mantel

So you may have recently seen a photo on the social sites from Scott Meek (yes, THE Scott Meek) about how one of his customers displays his try plane.  It is a very beautiful chunk of maple.  Oh, you haven't seen it?  You need to see it.  Go find it real quick.  You owe it to yourself.  Or at least go to Scott's website and check out one of his other beauties.  I'll wait here.

Are you back?  Ya, told ya!  Aren't they beautiful?

This blog post is also about a plane.  But you can basically call this plane the ugly step sister of one of Scott's planes.  Why?  Because Scott Meek did not make this plane.  I did.  With Scott's expertise and guidance, of course.  No, Scott is not my neighbor, or my new bestest bestest friend...even though I have thought to ask (Scott, if you are reading, the offer is open).  He is now teaching a class to build a smoother, in your own shop, with your own tools!  BRILLIANT!

Ok, so he doesn't actually come to your shop...no, no, you see...Scott's class takes place LIVE online through the glorious magic of Google +.  All that is required is that you have a pc, laptop or other device to connect, at the agreed upon appropriate time, with Scott and 3 or 4 other students in a "hangout."  I used my new iPad to connect and it worked fantabulously well!  You don't need a webcam, although it is recommended, but you do need a microphone and speakers to participate in the class.  Matt Vanderlist, you can turn off the webcam and wear your jammies if you so desire.  Oh, and you need tools and your own wood which Scott has described with great detail of what you need on his site.

So without further delay, here is my plane.  Again, it is a smoother.  It isn't all that pretty.  It can't even really be compared to Mr. Meek's bad work (as if there IS such a thing).  But with a little therapy, I will be ok with that.  I'll get over it.  But my plane works FANTASTICALLY well!  I owe all of that to Scott.  I just finished it tonight, so I don't have many miles on it.  But so far, I am so pleased!  I am in love with this plane.  I may take her with me to bed tonight, I'll remove the blade of course.

Here it is all glued up and ready to open the mouth.  The body is quarter-sawn Sycamore and the crosspin and wedge are Bocote.  The blade is a Hock!  (insert Borat voice) It's a very NICE!!

The mouth is opened up with a file and a wee bit of light is coming through.  Let's see how it works.

Eureka!  There are some nice fluffy shavings goin on up in here!

Time for some shaping.  Thanks to my friend, @tjhenrik, I got a good start with his bandsaw.  Note to self:  I really need a bandsaw!  I also used the draw knife quite a bit for the rough shaping.  It helped remove a lot of material quickly.  But mostly I used my rasp.

Not quite the shape I want, but it is a start and it was late and I needed to go to bed.

After a couple more hours of shaping tonight, I think I have reached the shape that I want.  I will be honest when I say I did a lot of shaping by feel rather than by eye.  I wanted it to feel good and to fit my big meaty paws really well.  This is very close.  I may tweak it a bit later, but I feel I need to put some miles on it to figure out, if any, the changes I need to make.

Ok, so you may need to wear some beer goggles to see her the way I do, but I would take her home from the bar at 3 in the morning!  After shaping, I sanded with 80 grit, quickly ran some 150 grit over her and slapped 3 very quick coats of garnet shellac on her.  Once dry, I rubbed down the body (not inside the blade compartment) and the sole of the plane with some Johnson's paste wax.  I wanted it to be really grippy, and I succeeded.  It feels like it is stuck to my hands when in use.

I like the Bocote.

Ya, baby got back and I cannot lie!  But I like it.  It fits my hand well.

An action shot:  I got the most figured piece of wood in my shop.  No problem.  Tear out?  Are you kidding me?  Forget about it!


So there she is, my new favorite tool.  Thanks so much to Scott for having this class.  I am so glad I did it!  It wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  As with anything, it takes some time, patience and tools.  Go check out Scott's site for the class schedule and more information.  It really is worth the time and investment.  Even if you have never used or made a wood body hand plane.  I had never even used a woody before this (insert your own joke here).  Great experience.  There isn't much better than making and using your own tools!
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