Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It's All Ralph's Fault

As I posted several days ago Ralph over at Accidental Woodworker posted about his Record 44 troubles and I mentioned wood stock plows in a comment. Anyway cut to the chase, I've been obsessed with wood plows since. That inter tool collector I defeated several years ago came back in spades.

Right now I have three new plows to go along with the old work horse Sandusky and three more in transit plus two with bids out that I expect will be mine in a couple of days. That is the bad news, the good is all but two cost about the same or less that the shipping to get 'em to Tucson.

Here are a couple of less that $25 USD + postage plow planes. Both are wedge arm, I guess that makes them cheaper but truth is for some uses I like the wedge arm plows more than screw arm plows. Wedge arms are a little easier and quicker to set but are also easier to knock out of adjustment.

The plow on the left will eventually need one of the arm wedges replaced and it came with an iron that is much thinner than my Marple irons. I adjusted the wedge and the skate to work with the thicker Marple irons and it works like a champ.

The plow on the right needed a little more work. Its wedge didn't fit. I'm sure there may be a plow with a wedge less than 5/8" wide but I haven't seen one. This one's wedge couldn't have been over 1/2" wide. Needless to say it would not secure the iron. It's arm wedges were also funky in one of the wedges wasn't wide enough to wedge and it had a stick to help it hold and the other was not the correct shape for an arm wedge. Bottom line to get the plane to work properly I had to make a new cutter wedge and two new arm wedges. All three wedges were made from some Cherry scraps.

Both planes are now good users.

BTW, one of the plows in transit has a full set of original irons and the other has four irons with it. They cost slightly more than postage to get 'em here :-).

I'm still beavering away on the kitchen cart. The major joinery work is finished except for that needed for the bottom shelf and a single drawer. Both will be reasonably easy. The bottom shelf will use shallow double M/T joints and the drawer a dovetail box with a front. Because the cart will be in the kitchen and who knows what kind of crap will be in the drawer I'll use full extension metal slides on it. 

From the side:

Now it is just finding time to finish.

One more thought: These are some of the best fitting large M/T joints I've made. I think some of it is I've slightly changed how I mark and chop mortises. Instead of trying to chop perfect walls I've started marking the mortise slightly wide and chopping in the middle of the marks. Then placing a wide paring chisel into the marks to finish the mortise walls. Works great, thanks to Joel at TFWW for the suggestion.



  1. No wonder I can't ever win an auction on plow many tool junkies to bid
    Be interesting to see your project when it's finished, it looks good so far.
    I think I'll hijack that tip you got from Joel, I have problems with my mortises to.

    1. Stephen,

      Go back in, I'm out for awhile :-). I've found the cheap ones work about as well as the expense ones. All need a little fiddling with.

      I'll need to do a few more M/T's to be sure but seems to work well.


  2. You're safe (for now) with me bidding against you Ken. My preference for a wooden plow would be screw threads or a center wheel with a handle. Once I'm satisfied the 044 is working, this may change.

    1. Ralph,

      Jim Bode has just the plow you are looking for, center wheel and all....only about $3,000 USD :-).


  3. Steve D4:43 AM

    Hi Ken
    Since you have many samples, I was wondering if the mortises for the irons are all the same width across your planes. I bought a set of irons and they are about 1/8" narrower than the mortise. Not sure if that is a problem or not.

  4. Steve,

    I expect it is a problem. Of course the only way to answer for sure is to try the irons in the plow. If you get chatter you most likely have a wedge that does not fit the iron. I would look for cutter shifting side to side in your case giving a grove that is not square.

    While my plows are not exhaustive there are a number and I have a good collection of irons in all sizes. I just measured both irons and mortises and in all cases irons and mortises were with in a few thousands of 5/8".

    Hope this helps, let me know what you find.


  5. Steve D5:46 PM

    I've been concentrating on helping my wife recover from a recent hip replacement. She's doing really well, amazingly so but that and the condition of my shop has kept me from checking up.

    I measured my irons, at least the ones outside the bundle and they were a fat 1/2" - maybe 9/16. The slot in my plow is a snug 3/4". Of course the original iron is a close fit.

    I didn't know if they ran different sized due to my experience with only one.

    Thanks for measuring.