Thursday, October 31, 2019

#5 Planes

I normally just keep a couple of #5 planes in the tool cabinet behind the main workbench. A (I think) type 11 to 13 Stanley with a cutter sharpened as a Jack plane and a LN with Veritas O1 iron sharpened with less camber. The LN even with the thinner Veritas iron is still a heavy sucker. I also have a stack of #5 Japanese bi-metal replacement irons and a few Stanley #5 stuck in various cubbly holes in the shop, not many like I expect Bob has but a few. BTW I weighted the planes and all the Stanleys came in around 2100 g. while the LN is a hefty over 2500g. with the lighter Veritas iron. Four hundred grams doesn't sound like much but it feels like a lot.

The line up. The Stanleys run from a Type 9 to type 11 and 13 with one Bedrock in the mix. I expect to work through the bunch picking the best to replace the LN in the tool cabinet. While some have OEM cutters, the OEM cutters will be replaced with Japanese irons.

The Japanese irons come with very flat backs, are easy to sharpen, being high carbon steel get very sharp and hold the edge very well. Here is a photo of the back of one of the Japanese replacement irons after just a few swipes on a 600 grit diamond stone. It is ready to go to the finishing stones.

More as I work through the #5s.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Random Thoughts On Tools

Ralph over at his blog mentioned something that made me think about sharpening and tools in general. First, I have too damn many. I can get away with it because living in the desert Southwest almost eliminates the rust and corrosion problem.  That's the reason you see airports in the desert with hundreds of old aircraft parked. 

If I had to deal with rust on a daily bases I wouldn't have time to do any woodwork or I'd have to shed most of my tools. Of course that led to trying to figure out what tools I really need and that led back to Ralph's original post about sharpening.

In my experience there are two to four major divides in approaches to sharpening. The first is mostly freehand vs. those that use a jig when they are able. The second are the folks that seldom return a tool to the rack that is not working sharp and will sharpen mid job vs. the ones that if a tool dulls will just grab another and set the dull tool aside to be sharpened when the sharpening pile reaches critical mass or they run out of sharp tools.

There is no value judgement of the four camps, it's just different ways of working. Because I'm in the freehand/sharpen when dull camp I expect in reality I could function at about the same level I do now with no more than a dozen or so chisels. Would I do it? Ain't no way as long as I'm in the desert. With a move out of the desert I expect a few tools would go.

Photos of my chisel racks to show the extent of my sickness:

First the rack behind the main workbench that holds most of my day to day chisels. BTW, if you went through the racks, with the exception of the "why do I keep these chisels" rack and a few new to me chisels that are still being set up, every chisel is sharp and ready to use.

The rack above the main tool shelf also behind the main workbench.

The rack over the sharpening bench where I store most of the mortise chisels and gouges.

And the rack where the"Why do I keep these chisels" are stored.

There are even more "why do I keep these chisels" in chisel rolls stuck in different coroners of the shop. It is a sickness but for the most part harmless, better than Porsche's and blondes and a little safer and cheaper.


Friday, October 11, 2019

Spokeshave Sharpening Jig

Spokeshave irons are hard to hold for sharpening. Classic bevel up/tanged irons are really hard to sharpen.

This is not new, others have done the same but here s a jig I made to help hold spokeshave irons.

The thin end will be set up to hold short cutters. I wanted to see if it worked before investing the time to set up for short irons.

It works, the irons are still a PITA to sharpen but the jig makes it easier. I will add the cut out and holes for short irons and clean up the jig to finish it.


Shop Dog

Not much in life is better than a good shop dog.

Sweet Maggie Dog:

Sam the Wonder Dog is gone and missed but Maggie is filling in. You can't see it but she is next to the bag of Rawhide Bones. Smart dog.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

More On #4 Planes

Yesterday I posted about four of my #4 planes, two "posh" and two not so "posh". Of the four my least favorite was a Record #4 from sometime in the late 1970's to maybe as late as the 1980's. OF's memories sometimes are not too reliable. Anyway to cut to the chase, Sparks replied that Record kept its quality up much longer than Stanley from the same time period. Bottom line I thought I'd take another look at the Record and the Stanley. The Stanley #4 is smack dab in the middle of the best planes Stanley made. I haven't run a Type check on it in years but IIRC it is a Type 13. The Record is from well past the War and all hand tools lost quality in that period, some more than others. When I bought the Record it was because Record was considered to have retained better quality than the Stanley planes of the same time.

As I posted yesterday, the Record was my least favorite of the four planes, mostly because of the tote and just overall cheesiness. That judgement was probably unfair because I was comparing it to two modern boutique planes and a Stanley that was made when Stanley was at the top of its game. The Record is a capable plane, it and post War Stanley's are very similar with few differences.

I made a few photos this morning to show some of the difference between a pre-War Bailey type plane and a post-War Baily.

Profile view:

Head on view:

Frog Differences:

Tote Difference:

Small differences but they can make a big difference in feel when cutter meets wood.


Wednesday, October 09, 2019

More On #4 Planes

I sharpened 4 of my #4 planes and just for Mark I included my Record #4 (best I can recall it was bought in the late '70's early '80's). So the line up was the Record with a Hock iron, a Type 13 Stanley with a Japanese bi-metal cuter, a LN with a Veritas O1 iron, and The stock Clifton.

While the cutters were sharpened by hand so all things may not be equal the sharpness should be reasonably close, at least good enough to get a feel of each plane. Of course something like this is totally subjective.

Cut to the chase: the order of comfort/pleasure/ease of use was: Stanley, LN, Clifton, and sorry to say Record. The Record sucked hind tit mostly because of its tote, by the time this one was made both Record and Stanley were not producing well made planes. The tote is almost unfinished and rough, add in the bent metal adjuster and if it weren't for sentiment the Record would walk the plank.

The LN is just heavy, it brings a little to table because of quality of build but that is not enough to beat the Stanley. The Clifton I wanted to love but no joy. The quality of build is great, as good as the LN, but the screw head on the knob extends above the knob making it uncomfortable to hold and it really is too damn heavy.

The Stanley, while not as well made, fits my hand better. The sum is greater than the parts. I know everyone would have a different opinion but whatever the Stanley blows my skirt. Of course I kinda knew that going in 😇.


Sunday, October 06, 2019

Clifton Planes

The human mind is a wonderful thing, if you want it to, it can rationalize almost anything. Let's see if I can set up the story: I'm going through my annual or even shorter push to "clean the shop out" to get back to just the tools I need and use. Yep, Bubba, sure you will do that just like the last time. Only this time I mean it, really, pinky swear it will happen, mean it.

In looking at my tools and trying to decide which ones will end up on the Ark and which will go I realized there wasn't a Clifton plane in the lot of 'em. How could I make a decision as important as who stays and who gets thrown overboard without having tried one of the major players? Good question with only one answer. "Hello Tools For Working Wood could you send a #4 Clifton down Tucson way". BTW, I've already sent my Veritas planes down the plank. They are nice, beautifully made planes but I just can't develop any love for Norris adjusters and I have really tried.

It is a nice plane. Better than the other two, not really, just a little different and not much of that. Of the three it is the heaviest at a 2137 grams,   the LN with a Veritas O1 cutter weights 2001 grams, and of course the Stanley with a Japanese iron is the lightest at 1654 grams.

I like the "bun" knob on the Clifton and the plane feels good, if a little heavy. in hand. Its one advantage over LN is a OEM O1 cutter. For some of us that is a big advantage.