Baltic birch for lapping?
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- This topic has 5 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 6 months ago by Gareth Martin.
I’ve got some 3/4 in Baltic birch plywood I intend to turn into a new bench hook and shoot board. I will have a piece 4 inches wide by about 2 foot long after I cut my pieces, will this serve as good lapping surface for plane bottoms and the like? Getting a piece of glass or granite this size is proving to be a bit of a challenge without having to spend money.
I don’t know what the tolerances needed for a plane bottom are, but I just bought some thick plate glass for lapping microscope slides (part of my day job), and I was able to get a good deal on the smaller “off cuts”. Most of the window glass they had was rather thin, but they did have some fairly thick mirror glass as well. I bet a piece of glass on the plywood would be fairly flat. Just an idea. Just an idea.26 November 2014 at 12:09 pm #121472
Atleast 3/8″ float glass is your best/least expensive alternative. I don’t think using any wood as a lapping board is a good idea as it is too unstable. You may be able to get away using 3/4″ MDF as that tends to be flatter and more stable.
Located in Honeoye Falls NY USA. The Finger Lakes region of Western NY.
"If you give me 6 hours to fell a tree, I will take the first 4 to sharpen my axe" Abe Lincoln26 November 2014 at 2:43 pm #121477
Hello Dave, I used to use exactly this – 3/4in birch ply – and the problem is it flexes too much. If it’s not on a perfectly flat surface it will fill whatever voids it’s sitting on and your plane sole won’t end up flat; I banana’d a cheap jack plane that then had to become my scrub.
I think a granite surface really is a good investment, when you consider how much money and time could be wasted in inferior options. A reliable reference surface can be used for checking everything, including straight edges and squares, as well as lapping plane soles consistently flat. Granite just doesn’t distort.
Mr Sellers put up a link somewhere to a cheap granite surface plate, shorter than a no.5 but good for smoothers, let me try and find it…
Southampton, UK26 November 2014 at 2:59 pm #121480
Here we are:
Here is one from Tilgear for £39. Well worth the investment.
Of course this is a UK link, perhaps you could search for the same brand and see if it’s available in Canada. I bought this one on Paul’s recommendation and have been very satisfied. A larger one would be handy, however this one is about as heavy as I can lug onto and off of the bench easily. A larger one would probably need its own permanent stand.
Southampton, UK26 November 2014 at 5:21 pm #121498
I went to a kitchen fitter, he fits marble kitchen tops and sold me the cut-out from a kitchen sink. It’s polished, 35mm thick and as flat as I need it, all for the price of a few beers.
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