making your own tools

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  • #8455
    constable415
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    Since we are all trying to learn hand-tools, I would love to see us making our own hollows & rounds. That would be a great project for Paul to teach. Some manufactures want approx $ 4000.00 for a half set and years of wait time. That’s ridiculous. I’ve seen where you can buy blank blades for these but how do you make the right arc on the blade & the wood? Any thoughts anyone?

    #8460
    Gary Hodgin
    Participant

    I’m not sure about books, but Larry Williams and Don McConnell have dvd’s on making molding planes. Lie-Nielsen sells them. If you scan down to near the bottom of this link you’ll find them. There may be others but I’m not aware.
    http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?grp=1320

    LN also sells blanks and floats.

    P.S. You can also get these from Williams and McConnell’s website. I’m think the prices are about the same as LN’s. They do have some other stuff at the site.
    http://www.planemaker.com/products_other.html

    #8466
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hey Rodney. I’m in the process of making my first pair. I bought the DVD and should have the floats and blades in next week. Three floats and a pair of blades were $230 US. Wood (beech, cherry, pear, hard maple are suggested) was $85 which is enough for about 12 pairs. The only somewhat difficult part to me looks like bedding the blade and wedge properly. The wedge and blade don’t stand vertical as one would think, they have a slight lean as viewed from the front or back.

    Then you have to grind, heat treat and then temper the blades. But it all looks very doable.

    The biggest difficulty is finding wood quarter sawn so that the growth rings are nearly horizontal as the plane is standing upright. I was not able to find any as they don’t typically quarter saw wood. However, it seems to me that you should still be able to find at least one or two planks that fit the bill from a panel cut tree because it has to cross the center at some point. The reason for this is apparently for vertical stability and so that the plane doesn’t twist.

    #8474
    constable415
    Participant

    Thanks Gary & Jeff,

    I’ll probably wind up getting both videos, as I like obtaining more than just one source of making things.  Not to say one is right or wrong but there’s always something one shows a little differently that you might like better.

    I’m a little concerned about the grinding, heat treating and tempering the blades.

    Jeff, let me know how yours turns out. I would really like to make my own half set.

    Thanks for both of your help.  p.s. I think this website and forums are Great!

    #8476
    Ed
    Participant

    Tod Herrli also has a video on making hollows and rounds. He used to give hands-on classes at his shop in Indiana making many kinds of planes. I took his class for making a hollow. His video covers everything, including making a set of floats (which is not hard, although I need to learn how to mount tangs into handles).

    One trick I learned from Todd- It is hard to find quartersawn beech, but you can make your own. When moisture changes, the rings of grain you see on the ends of wood try to become straighter. So, you want the growth rings running parallel to the sole of your plane. That makes the plane stable when moisture changes. You can take a piece of non-quarter sawn wood, e.g., riff sawn, rip narrow strips, and then laminate them into a blank for the plane in a way that approximates the grain pattern in quartersawn. It won’t be perfect, but it will be good enough. As long as you orient the growth rings appropriately, the wood won’t know it isn’t quartersawn. This is also a change to be fancy and laminate in some contrasting wood if you want.

    Another trick from Todd, although maybe this is standard practice: Shape your blade so that it feathers into the sole at the left and right edges. That means your shaving comes from the central section and becomes thinner towards the edges, disappearing to nothing. This way, you don’t leave tracks. It’s like dubbing the edges of a bench plane iron. The plane will only cut so far now before it bottoms out. Just lean the hollow or round a little and that will start the cutting again.

    #8477
    Ed
    Participant

    By the way, I have questions about hollows and rounds that I did not ask when I was with Todd. For example, you can find H&R’s with skewed irons and with irons square. Is the skew worth it or is it just an unending pain because you have to sharpen a skewed iron? Does the skew make the plane harder to steer? Does the bed angle matter?   In short- people make all sorts of fussy discussions about these details but, in the end, does it really matter? Todd just taught how to make H&Rs with a given bed angle, not skewed, and we never discussed all these details that seem to trouble others.

    #8490
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Rodney, the heat treating consists of a about 8 fire bricks, a 20 pound propane cylinder wirh a fairly wide flame nozzle, and a large pot of oil to quench. Larry shows it all on the video. It doesn’t look difficult, but somewhat scary. The grinding is done on a standard grinder and sanding belt. I’m of course not recommending this as an expert to anyone, as it looks like it can be very dangerous if you don’t get expert advice and take all safety precautions. A low flash point oil will ignite, then you’ve got a huge, dangerous pot of burning oil.

    Thanks for the info Ed. Larry Williams says in his video that laminations aren’t recommended, because moisture gets trapped between the glue lines, making it unstable. However, laminating in thin strips just makes sense to me as being VERY stable. Thanks for that one.

    I don’t know what the skew will do. I have heard the skewed planes without a fence or guide are difficult to steer. Larry states the bed angle should be from 45 degrees to 60. Apparently the higher bed angles are for harder woods. He uses 55 degrees in the video. I’m with you in that I don’t know if that makes a huge difference. Thanks for your input Ed.

    #8491
    Ed
    Participant

    Todd’s laminations are built up from pieces from one to a few inches thick. It all depends upon the grain and whatever was around. I’m dubious about Larry’s claim because moisture moves through wood and I’d think it would eventually equilibrate. You just need to give it time. But, he’s made a million planes, so I won’t argue and I’m sure Todd prefers non-laminated if possible.

    Regarding firing the iron, see Todd’s video for a much simpler approach. If you are just doing a narrow H&R iron, the oven isn’t needed. But, I agree, there is danger and realize the oil quench can flash, can splatter, etc.

    #8492
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I’m going to agree with you on that Ed. I just can’t see laminations being unstable, choosing the grain orientation properly of course. Perhaps Larry meant splitting the plane vertically into two pieces or something. Chris Schwarz says most of the moisture leaves thru the end grain, so what you’ve said makes sense. I’ve got two blanks cut from beech that aren’t grain oriented properly. I’ll hold those two and then make two from laminations, then compare warp, twist. Who knows, maybe they’ll both be fine. I’ll check out Todd’s video. Good discussion.

    Revision: I believe what Larry actually said was that moisture doesn’t cross glue lines, instead of what I said before.

     

    #8500
    constable415
    Participant

    Wow Guys,

    They seem to be a whole lot harder to make than I previously thought. I’m going to see what the availability of beech is around here. This is going to take a lot of planing. Thanks for your thoughts.

    #8509
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Question for @Paul-Sellers : If you had to choose three sizes of hollows & rounds pair, which three have you found you use the most?

    #8510
    Dave
    Participant

    Did I read that correctly Rodney? 4000 Four thousand dollars for a half set? Looks like I’ll be making projects without moldings. lol

    -Canada

    #8513
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Yeah Dave, $3750 for a half-set. A quarter set is $2100. Now you know why I’m making my own.

    #8514
    ejpotter
    Participant

    I’m definitely interested in somehow acquiring some hollows & rounds as well.  I haven’t figured out how that’s going to happen yet.  I’ve occasionally seen old ones for $600-800 from certain tool dealers, but not recently.  I personally don’t think Matt Bickford’s prices are all that unreasonable.  I priced out the components (blades, wood, floats: ~$1000, and TIME) for making a something like his Connoisseur’s Set and my opportunity cost would be roughly double his price.  On the other hand, with a bunch of growing kids, I simply don’t have thousands to spend on WW tools.  Guess I’ll just have to keep looking and waiting.

    Very interested in Paul’s answer to Jeff’s question.  Jeff, I also hope that you’ll post updates on your build as you go along.

    Just moved to NE Ohio

    #8516
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I don’t think they’re that unreasonable either Eric. I think what’s happened is simply capitalism, and I salute Matt and Larry for keeping something hundreds of years old alive. Huge demand, low supply equals premium prices. Once the ranks of plane makers grow, the prices will come down with competition. It simply astounds me that Old Street tools has a two year backlog. That’s a great sign that hand tool wood working is being reborn. 

    I will start a new thread and keep you posted. Thanks for the interest.

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