Well it’s finally all caught up with me, I’m all burned out. All those waking hours I’ve spent at the bench and now the same thing in my new job my mind and body has said enough. Two whole glorious days off and I managed to do only half an hour of work at the bench, I can barely even muster enough energy to write this post.
What I did for half an hour was correct a mistake I didn’t anticipate, a mistake that could of been avoided had I received the correct information. Going against my own better judgement which is nothing more than pure logic I followed the misgiving of applying incorrect advice. So what am I talking about, I’m referring to the iron I’m making for the router planer I intend to sell.
The first router plane I made which you all saw I used a 1/8″ round iron which bent fairly easily and made a nice tight corner but that diameter iron was only a one off I had. The new stock I bought is 5mm in dia. which I think is better than my initial 3mm one as it’s stronger and has zero flex in it. But trying to bend it to the right angle and have it tucked up inside the plane, well following the advice I was given was just plain and simply wrong.
I knew it wasn’t going to work but hey I’m a woodworker not a metal worker and a metal worker who works metal for a living should know more than me right, well he does but his advice was still wrong and my own gut instinct which has never failed me yet was telling me it was wrong but I still went ahead with it. So as you can see from the picture above the iron does not simply go all the way into the body of the tool and it just looks darn wrong and stupid.
Veritas, Lie Nielson and others either the screw the blade on or weld it to make the iron a 90° angle. Bending it like I did either by hand or by hammering it will not upset the angle to 90°. It took me about 15 mins to figure it out on what to do next. Take a look at the picture below.
Left is the mistake, the middle was a trial and success, the far right is how I achieved it and it’s pretty darn simple. I filed an inset on both sides of the iron, by relieving metal, I’m initially thicknessing it and that’s the key answer. Now I can simply chuck it in the vice and bend it by hand or hammer. I have a puny chinese crap vice and if I were making tools for a living I would buy a good quality vice like Dawn. I will end up buying one soon enough as they do come in handy more times than not. Anyway as you can in the next picture the test iron goes all the way up, well not entirely but a few tweaks would fix these small anomalies.
I’ve been working by hand for so long now that machines have become alien to me and here is the irony. I tried to use my 6″ grinder to grind a bevel and somewhat flatten the bottom of the iron. I’m so unaccustomed to machinery that I made a complete mess of it and almost lost my fingers in the process, another words I had no control of the tool. Many people would cringe at the thought of hacksawing metal or filing it into shape but for me that’s the only way I know how. I have complete control over the tool, I enjoy it but I have control and the key to precision work you must have control and confidence in the tools that you use. I guess if I spent as much time behind a machine as I do with my hand tools I would gain mastery over them, but so far I haven’t seen the need to implement machinery in my life.
I don’t know how long it took me to file the recesses all I know I didn’t break a sweat nor grew tired of it. The process seemed to end all so quickly without a hint of frustration or the risk of personal injury. I didn’t need a special jig and definitely not a machine to do it.
I can definitely understand why people do rely on machines and it’s not just speed of work but to avoid frustrations of poor work like I experienced using machines. They are machinists because that’s what they’ve trained themselves to use and so they’re comfortable using them, while I’m a hand tool user because that’s what I’m trained to use and am comfortable using them. All I’m trying to say is stick with what you know and what you’re comfortable with and your woodworking experience will continue to give you the thrill and pleasure it always has.