Ramped Shooting Board

II created a new type of shooting board called “A Ramp Shooting Board,” which isn’t a new concept at all, but one that I felt was needed in my daily work. The idea behind this ramped board is that it will use 90% of the blade as opposed to 1/4″ or 10%. As I previously stated, this is not a new thing, and don’t let people convince you otherwise. The concept was first proposed in the 18th century, although few were built. In the late nineteenth century, craftsmen asked the same question as they did in the 18th century: how to use more of the blade while shooting and took an already existing design “the ramp” version.  However, not many were constructed. It is entirely up to you how many degrees it should be ramped. The greater the angle, the thinner the board you can shoot, and the lower the angle, the thicker the board you can shoot. I chose a happy medium of about 3 or 4°, but I can’t remember which one. I can’t shoot more than an inch and a quarter.

I was filming a video about it, but because it was taking so long, I had to turn the camera off. Now I’m working on another new shooting board, this time a flat one for materials up to 2″ thick. Anything thicker than that must be done by hand. When it’s finished, I’ll upload pictures.

While the edge glue on my new shooting board was drying, I decided to clean and polish some of my planes. After removing some of the rust and patina from the bronze, I lightly covered it with some blonde shellac. I’m hoping that this will keep the metal from rusting and the bronze from fading. Some people want patina, whereas I favour gloss. I know I could have done a better job, and I plan to perform a show room restoration one of these days or months.

The last six pictures are when I did do a proper restoration.

Another new news is I printed a new T-Shirt with my new final designed logo. I’m finally happy with it and I’m sticking with the new design.

That’s for now folks.

The Numbering System of H&R’s

The numbering system starts from 1 through to 18, this gives a us 36 moulding planes. Thanks to the 60° of a circle cut by these planes, the width of the iron is the radius of the circle the plane cuts.
There are two forms of numbering systems – Even and Odd.
Robert Demers a tool historian and blogger suggests that the even and odd numbering system has nothing to do with the profiles radius, but rather to denote that it’s part of a full set, an even set or an odd set.
Al Sellens in his book Woodworking Planes says; “The size numbering refers to iron width but the numbering schemes appear to have been established to confound the scholar and to confuse the collector.”
Hollows and rounds before 1750 were unmarked as to their size or number. There is an 18th century JENION plane in Larry’s Williams collection that is marked. It is however unknown whether the mark was placed at a later date or it’s an original, Larry believes it seems to be an original.
A standard in the numbering system developed at the start of the 19th century.
The numbering and sizing varied between manufacturers. For example, (and
I hope you’re ready to be confused as all buggery). There are plane numbers that end at 15 with an iron’s width of 2”, then there are planes that begin with no.2 and end at 30 that increase by 2. For example: 2,4,6,8,10 etc. But each plane’s iron width differs from manufacturer to manufacturer even though they may be the same number. For example, one manufacturer will stamp a No.12 representing its iron’s width to be ¾”, but another manufacturer will say our No.12 is 7/8” and a third manufacturer will say our No.12 represents 1 5/8”. Larry Williams gives a good clarification of this numbering system and I quote;
“The major British makers seem to have followed this emerging standard relatively closely. Under this system, numbers correspond to the number of 16ths of an inch in cutting width; except on those planes wider than ¾” the increment of change switches to 1/8”. For example, a number 11 would be 11/16” wide; number 12 would be ¾” wide, and a number 13 would be 7/8” wide rather than the expected 13/16ths. This change, I believe, was an attempt to offer planes which allowed for visual weight of the profiles cut. Visually, there’s little difference between a 1 ½” diameter cylinder and a 1 5/8” diameter circle.
The width of hollows and rounds directly relates to the radius of the arc they cut. Most planes cut 1/6th of a circle, or 60º of arc. This means the cutting width of these planes is equal to the radius of the arc — a number 8 plane will have a ½” cutting width and cut an arc with a radius of ½”. It is convenient to judge the size of a circle by the width of the sole of the plane. My observation is that this too has some exceptions. Larger hollows and rounds tend to cut less than 60º and often cut a radius larger than the sole of the plane would indicate. For instance, a #18 from an unused set of GRIFFITHS, Norwich (c.1860) planes we have cuts a cylinder with a 2” radius rather than the expected 1 ½”. This matches the #18 profile of a little used set of MOSELEY (c. 1810).”

A No.8 Moseley has a radius of ¾” whereas the Mathieson of the same number that follows the British standard would be ½”.
He continues to say; “Another exception is that number 1 planes were listed as being 1/8” bare or less than 1/8” but larger than 1/16”.
Many American plane making firms closely followed the British system. Some didn’t and used a variety of systems. Greenfield avoided the increment change found in the British system. Sargent offered only planes that represented the even numbers of the British system but numbered them sequentially. Those American makers who didn’t follow the British system appear to have had their own different systems and no alternative American system is apparent.”
Larry Williams chose to follow this later British system except to stay with planes cutting 60° of arc. This ensured that the plane’s width will be the radius of the arc cut.

The list below is the numbering system that Larry follows. These sizes incrementally increase by 1/16” except for the No.13, 14 and 15 which increase by 1/8”.

NumberWidthRadius
11/161/16
21/81/8
33/163/16
41/41/4
55/165/16
63/83/8
77/167/16
81/21/2
99/169/16
105/85/8
1111/1611/16
123/43/4
137/87/8
1411
151 1/81 1/8
161 1/41 1/4
171 3/81 3/8
181 1/21 1/2

Here is a list of numbering systems from other plane manufacturers including but not limited to Chapin Stephens, Moseley and Greenfield.

Plane NumberRadius of Profile
11/8
21/4
33/8
41/2
55/8
63/4
77/8
81
91 1/8
101 1/4
111 3/8
121 1/2
131 3/4
142
152 1/4
162 1/2
172 3/4
183
Plane NumberRadius
11/4
23/8
31/2
45/8
53/4
67/8
71
81 1/8
91 1/4
101 3/8
111 1/2
121 5/8
131 3/4
141 7/8
152
NumberIron Width
21/4
43/8
61/2
85/8
103/4
127/8
141
161 1/8
181 1/4
201 3/8
221 1/2
241 5/8
261 3/4
281 7/8
302
NumberIron Width
21/8
41/4
63/8
81/2
105/8
123/4
147/8
161
181 1/4
201 3/8
221 1/2
241 3/4

As we have seen not all followed a particular standard and since plane manufac-turing is no longer practiced on a large scale as it once was, we as small-scale manufacturers for the lack of a better word, can set new precedence to follow one standard.
Did you know that each plane manufacturer in the 1800’s produced about 70,000 planes a year?

Making a Japanese Dai

by Brian Holcombe

This is an extract from ISSUE II of “The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK” magazine

I will detail the process of making a Japanese plane body, known as a dai, to compete in the annual NYC Kez, hosted by Mokuchi in Brooklyn, NY.   Kez is short for Kezurou-Kai, which translates to ‘Let’s plane’, a competition in which participants compete to create the thinnest wood shaving.

In competition, the shaving must not only be thin but completely intact, it must also be the full width of the board (usually around 2″) and the full length of the competition board which is typically 8′.  World record holders have pulled shavings as thin as 2 microns, which is almost impossibly thin, being far thinner than a human blood cell at 8 microns.

In Japan, it’s my understanding that competitors use Hinoki cypress, while in the US we will be competing by using yellow cedar, which is actually a cypress and very similar in quality to good Hinoki cypress.  The yellow cedar we use is very old and tightly grained.

Competitors often cut their own dai, some choosing exotic materials or laminating their dai in hopes of creating a dai that will wear well, hold their tune for a good length of time and hold the blade with good support.  I’ve chosen to use beech, which is not entirely ideal, especially by comparison to Japanese white oak, but shares some commonalities.  Beech is the traditional western plane making wood, it can grip and release the blade repeatedly without losing its ability to do so.  Beech is fairly stable and very much available.  In my case I’ve chosen beech because of those positive traits and the fact that I can access it locally.

The cut-out process starts by prepping dai blanks, choosing material that is rift sawn and with grain running straight on all faces to reduce or eliminate runout.  I resaw the blanks to the required thickness of 35mm and down to a width of 80mm and 85mm.   I’ve cut multiple blanks, some I will set aside to age and two I will cut out.  One will be used, the other discarded.

I’ve chosen a blade by Shoichiro Tanaka of VAR white 1, Tanaka is one of few makers using VAR white 1.  This would be an ideal blade for competition with exception that it is 65mm and so less ideal than the typical 70mm, but it was made available and so I have chosen to put it to the test.

Next in prepping the dai block, I plane all four sides square, starting first with the sole which I adjust using winding sticks.  The sole of a plane is the ‘bark side’ of the wood block, this is done so that any tendency for the board to cup results in two ‘skates’ on the outside edges of the sole, which are easy to flatten down without enlarging the plane’s mouth and so that blade is not clenched by that same cupping effect.

Once the block is squared I can begin my layout, starting first by marking the mouth line with a knife, then transferring that mark to the side of the dai where I can layout my blade, wear, escapement and bedding angles.

This dai is specifically made for a single blade, meaning it will be used without a cap iron, chip breaker, sub blade, or secondary blade (however you like to call it).  When cutting shavings this thin and on such fine stock, a single blade is ideal.  Few competitors will want to complicate matters by adding a chip breaker, if they do it will be simply so that their normal planes can be used to compete with.

If you inspect closely you’ll note that the wear angle, which refers to angle between the top blade and the mouth opening, is extremely tight.  I’ve shown it being a single line in fact.  The reason for this is that my goal in cutting the dai will be to set the wear angle so tightly that only a fine shaving can pass through.

The escapement angle is transferred back to the sole and used to set the width of the mouth opening.  This is not to be confused with the distance between the blade and mouth which will be next to nothing.

The lines are next transferred to the top of the dai and knife marks are then applied.

I begin chopping out the dai, first cutting the mouth area, then flipping the dai onto its top side to begin cutting the bed and escapement.

The mortise is now formed in its rough shape, and it looks just that.  I’ve remained inside the lines and have nearly come through the bottom of the plane to meet the work I’ve done at the mouth.

Finally, I break through, then close in on my final fit by chopping the bed until it is fairly thin.  Next, I true up the escapement and the wear until a clean surface is achieved and finally I pare the sides cleanly.

Now I can cut the side grooves, this is a fairly critical bit of work.  I use a flush cut saw to form the top of the groove, which is the critical cut, then again on the lower part of the groove.

After which I clear the grooves with an 3mm chisel.

Now I have something to work with, but still much effort remains.  At this point I finish trimming the bed down to my knife lines, leaving the area nearest the mouth quite heavy.

Finally, I can bed the blade, I do so carefully to ensure that I can create a nice fit between the bed and blade nearest the mouth.  If done correctly a ‘smile’ is formed.

At last I detail the dai, rounding over the back, chamfering all corners (except of the front and back of the sole) and finish planing the exterior faces.  I’m ready to begin tuning.

I’ve carefully tuned the sole, as detailed in my previous posts on the subject.  Happily, I was able to keep the mouth exceptionally tight, in this case from the sole it appears to be closed.

However, when we sight down the blade we can see that a shaving will be able to fit through.

The proof is in the pudding as they say, however this pudding would suggest I have a great deal of tuning ahead of me.  The shaving is thin and full length, but not nearly thin enough, a real winner would be revealing a cheese cloth appearance, suggesting that it can barely hold itself together.

My new Roubo Frame saw

As you all know, I had to modify the frame to make it easier on me to saw with it. After shortening the one arm and bringing the stretchers closer together, I didn’t know what to expect to be honest. I just didn’t know whether this would work. I impatiently started putting it together and because I was rushing, I couldn’t set it correctly. So, I left it and just started working on the finish. I applied a beautiful rosewood mahogany stain with several coats of 1 pound cut shellac and left it to dry overnight.

This morning I said to myself it’s only a saw so get a grip on yourself. I started putting it together and everything fit snugly. Pretty amazing stuff when you’re not overly excited.

Checking for twist

After putting the frame saw together, I made sure the saw blade is dead centred between the two stretchers by measuring from both sides on both ends of the saw between the saw blade and the stretchers. This is important to help you saw in a straight line. Then I tightened the saw blade by hand pressure only by turning the eye bolt. There is a high probability once you tighten the saw blade that it will place the frame in twist and therefore the saw will also be in twist. This is why you need to check for twist before you use the saw. If you use a screwdriver to lever the tightening of the saw blade, you risk snapping the frame or really putting a lot of twist in it. I found the saw works perfectly fine with the saw being tightened by hand pressure only. You don’t need to hear that ping like you would on a scroll saw blade.

If the blade is in twist, I can only parrot from what I have seen on video the people at the Hay’s cabinet shop did to take their frame saw out of twist. They tapped on the blade with a hammer. That’s what appeared to me but I cannot say for sure and I will send them an email and ask them if they can make a demonstration. The way I fixed the previous saw out of twist was by twisting the frame in the opposite direction. It worked but it wasn’t perfect. On this frame it is absolutely spot on which makes me less inclined to build another frame.

I gave it a test drive finally, and I immediately felt the difference. It was lighter and a lot easier to use. What surprised me the most was that the lightness didn’t make a difference in the cut’s speed. There you have it, folks. I think this saw is kick arse and more pleasure to use than a bandsaw.

Here is something else a little off the topic that I found interesting. I flattened my bench today, and I found that the side closest to me was out of flat as this is the side I use. Whilst the other side that isn’t used was dead flat. Go figure I can’t explain it. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

Looks good.

Issue III release date notice

handwork_issue3_Page_01

Finally it’s finished, all the articles completed, edited over and over again. This was a big project for me as the moulding planes article was a toughie to write about.  I needed to provide enough description without putting you to sleep and make it easy enough to follow.  I think I have accomplished both and I believe you will be able to make any h&r using a simpler method than the traditional British and American approach.  I have covered many aspects of the build and the reasoning behind the numbering system.

I’m sorry it took so long, but I think you will agree it was worth the wait.

As you can see I’ve also made some minor changes. Hope you like it.

As always I would like to thank Matt McGrane our magazine’s contributing editor. I would be lost without him.

Issue III release date is on Saturday 4th November 2017.

Yes, it is free

HANDWORK A work in Progress

This is a quick update to let you know where we’re at.   The announcement of this magazine has sparked a lot of excitement amongst our craftsman worldwide, we have gained several contributing authors, among them are Brian Holcombe, Joshua Stevens aka Mr.Chickadee, Bob Rozaieski from the Logan Cabinet Shoppe, Bob has written several articles for various woodworking magazines, one of them being finewoodworking.  Unfortunately Paul Sellers has declined to become a contributor at this time, but the door is always open should he reconsider time permitting.

I’m in talks with Colonial Williamsburg, they’re very positive about this magazine.  I know I could do alot more had work not be in the way, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.   So far there’s about 23 solid pages of great articles completed including projects.

So it’s all coming together slowly but surely, I didn’t realise just how much work goes into producing a quality magazine.  Also in addition, an ePub version will become available in the near future for iPad’s.  ePubs are an interactive eBook mag with video’s and so forth.  So I’m hoping to have two versions, the standard PDF for those without an iPad and an ePub version for iPads.  I’ll see if it’s possible to cover the android users.

Articles are being written up by our authors as we speak, mine are already done I just have a few other additions I would like to add.  I’m not entirely sure just how many pages there will be in total, I’m doing this on the fly.  Comparing to other magazines I’ve counted about 30 pages of advertising and about four actual pure woodworking articles. So I think I’m doing a pretty good job so far, no ads just pure woodworking.

Please help spread the word, help by contributing if you can, send your articles, projects pics, tips, ideas, discoveries, everyone is welcomed to contribute.

Send to handworkmagazine@gmail.com

This magazine is not about me but all about you, it’s for all of us combined.  Articles are not reserved for the privileged, like you find with other magazines.  I want the world to see craftsmen and women from all over the world, let the world see you and what you make and have to offer.  This magazine again is not reserved for celebrity woodworkers, even though they are more than welcome to contribute, but I’m more interested in the unknown woodworker, the silent achiever.  Not matter who you are, what part of the world you live in, you all have something valuable to offer.  If language is a barrier, I will help you along as best I can.  This is a community based magazine and therefore a community based effort.  Let’s make this the best and most sought out hand tool woodworking magazine together.