A question for planemakers - Secondary bevels on dovetailed plane

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richarddownunder

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Hi All

I'm in the process of making a copy (more-or less) of a Spiers panel plane. I've got the dovetails cut on one side of the sole (with a few gaps :( which I hope will fill when I start peining) ...see pics...and am contemplating the secondary bevels that enable the locking of the sides and sole.

There seems to be a range of options, either filing the (brass) tails (on the sides) on the outside edge whereby peining the side of the sole will lock the tails in place. Or, the pins on the sole can be filed so that peining the brass locks the side and sole. Man, it's hard to describe this process without being very wordy but I prefer the former approach as it involved peining the steel more, rather than the brass!

Anyway, the question is, assuming I file the sides of the brass tails as shown in this link Dovetailing Infill Planes (Part I) - Handplane Central he says "you can taper them from a wide bevel at the outside edge to an almost non existent bevel at the corners then filling them in is much easier. You don’t need to push the metal into the corners as much. " So, rather than filing the secondary bevel equally from the inner edge of the tail to the outer edge, he suggests tapering them, which sounds like a good idea. I thought a small jig might enable this to be done.

So, what is the most fool-proof way of doing this. Is tapering them a good idea and what angle should the secondary bevel be? Is a jig/guide a good idea (a piece of wood with an angle cut on it) ? I have quite an angle on the tails so don't mind losing some of that if I file a tapered bevel.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks
Richard
 

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CoolNik

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If no answers may I suggest that you post on the Australian woodworkers site as there are server also very experienced “home” planemakers who provide much free assistance to folks.
 

paulrbarnard

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When I did mine (both parts steel) I filed a very shallow secondary angle on the tails and only took it half way across the thickness of the metal. Basically just one or two passes with a file. That seemed to be more than enough to provide the locking and they filled very easily. I’ve made seven in this way and they finished up nicely.
 

D_W

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I have filed a secondary bevel, though very small. Keep in mind that whatever you file (and the taper should be halfway through the thickness of the sides or bottom if you're going to file a secondary bevel/taper) will determine the appearance of pins and tails.

I've done five plans, and one with just pins and secondary bevels (all steel). On the latter, I made the secondary bevels much bigger and found moving that much metal to be a pain, but the result was fine and plenty strong.

So, my vote would be for very "not drastic" carefully filed secondary bevels that go to nothing where the apexes will meet after the pins and tails are ground or filed off (after peining).

The less you have to do driving the brass and steel together, the cleaner and more even the lines will be, but at the same time, be sure that you get things locked with some depth or you'll find gaps as you're lapping/draw filing/machining to get the final result. I can give you a tip later on peining them successively very shallow to get a good cosmetic result without having to solder, etc.
 

richarddownunder

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Hi

thanks for the comments. So, essentially, I'm filing a relatively shallow bevel as shaded on the picture. By the sound of it, that needs to be, say, 5 degrees or less at the bottom, and to get the aesthetics of the double dovetail, it needs to be across the width of the tail (after I have filed them to a better length) but could be less, but would then look more like a pin on the bottom. Have I got that about right? I have done this before but I think I filed them too acutely so as you say D_W there was a lot of hammering needed and I ended up with a few small gaps. I'd like to avoid that this time. The plane in the link in Handplane Central which I have pasted below had a big secondary bevel and would require a huge amount of piening to get a nice result. I guess that's why I'm asking. I'm basically lazy and want the best result for the least effort :).
1626554273658.png


Cheers
Richard
 

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TRITON

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I watched a YT vid on making on and the secondary bevel is hammered into shape. If thats what you mean.
I'll take a look and see if i can find the vid again
 

D_W

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Hi

thanks for the comments. So, essentially, I'm filing a relatively shallow bevel as shaded on the picture. By the sound of it, that needs to be, say, 5 degrees or less at the bottom, and to get the aesthetics of the double dovetail, it needs to be across the width of the tail (after I have filed them to a better length) but could be less, but would then look more like a pin on the bottom. Have I got that about right? I have done this before but I think I filed them too acutely so as you say D_W there was a lot of hammering needed and I ended up with a few small gaps. I'd like to avoid that this time. The plane in the link in Handplane Central which I have pasted below had a big secondary bevel and would require a huge amount of piening to get a nice result. I guess that's why I'm asking. I'm basically lazy and want the best result for the least effort :).View attachment 114199

Cheers
Richard

Yes - it's possible to get a good result with what's shown there, but it's more likely there would be deformation around the joint lines leading to wavy lines where brass and steel meet, and more effect where metal meets metal that would look like a mushroomed burr if that makes sense. It would be very strong if it was squashed together, though!

about a third that much would be nicer - enough to move metal over, but not quite so much bashing as that.
 

IWW

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Richard, that pic you posted made my peening arm ache! Those are huge gaps & the amount steel allowed for peening doesn't look enough to fill them. I sure wouldn't like to have to work on that lot! I'm certainly not in the league of a Konrad Sauer or Karl Holtey, but I've made about 40 infills now & starting to think I've made most of the mistakes one can make (I'm sure I'll regret saying that before the year is out!) :)

First up, your intuition to do most of the necessary peening on the steel is spot-on, imo. The hard brass (380 & equivalents) we seem to be lumped with down here will only tolerate the bare minimum of cold-working, and by having a neat fit in the sockets, I can reduce that to a bare minimum. If your fit between tails & pins is good, with no gaps, or at least very small ones, the tails will only need to be hammered to fill the corners from the sole side. I do this after closing the pins so it doesn't push the sides away from the sole.

When preparing the sole, I scribe the side tails to the sole & cut as close as I dare, leaving as little as possible to file off for a nice fit. It's pretty easy to get a near-perfect fit with straight sides, more of a challenge if they're curved, and I always seem to end up with one or two pin/tail edges with a .5mm gap, which takes a lot of filling!. Normally, I leave about 1.5mm extra on the steel & brass for peening. This is adequate if you have a good fit, but might leave you a bit short if you have large gaps. And it is those darned corners that need careful attention, if you get gaps after clean-up, that's where they are most likely to occur!

If using steel over brass, you can get away without pre-bevelling the tails, the steel will deform the brass plenty enough as it's hammered down & lock the tails very firmly. Softer brasses like 260 deform easily, but even 380 will squash down sufficiently to form a distinct bevel when viewed from the sole side. I "discovered" this on a small smoother I was making some years ago. In my enthusiasm, I forgot to file any bevels & started peening up the body. I'd only barely begun to move the pins over when I remembered but there was no way I could get the side off without risk of bending the tails in the process. So I lightly bevelled the other side, which hadn't been touched, & just continued on the un-bevelled side as it was. At the end, after all was filed flush I couldn't tell which side was which, the bevels formed by hammering the pins over looked the same!

However, as someone else has pointed out above, my feeling too is that a small, neat bevel does help create straight sides to the joint. A couple of file strokes is all I use. I agree with you that keeping the amount of peening required to a minimum is a good idea, not just to save RSI, but to minimise the risk of mis-hits!

I recently finished this small rear-bun smoother.
Bull oak 170mm.jpg
It has a 5mm thick stainless steel sole of unknown alloy (a friend gave me several pieces he'd rescued from a skip), which I thought I'd try). Whatever the particular alloy is, it isn't the common old 304 which I've used before & found almost as easy to peen as mild steel. This stuff took twice the effort to move, & so my arm started to tire & lose accuracy which resulted in several mis-hits and two dings that are too deep to file/sand out. I eventually got them closed & the plane turned out a great little "user", which will no doubt acquire a few more dings in its lifetime, so I can live with my little indiscretions......
Cheers,
Ian
 

richarddownunder

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Thanks all for your help. OK, I think I have it This brass is actually supposed to be cold working brass I was lucky to get so would pein OK, but I think locking the brass with the steel is the way to go. I'll just make those secondary bevels small as suggested. I've yet to cut the other side of the sole so still a bit to go before I start peining. The sole is 01 so a bit harder than mild steel, but should be fine. It's what I have used before.

I'll keep you posted on progress!
 

IWW

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I've seen the video above before, but confess I skim-watched it, so I just watched it again, paying more attention. I do admire the bloke's ingenuity & the way he gets things done with minimal gear, but there were a couple of things that I found odd. The first was filing out the waste for the tails on the sides. Brass is easy enough to file, for sure, but man, that's the long way round! Get yerself a jewellers' saw & some #6 or coarser blades, it will speed up getting the bulk of the waste out by a factor of 10! You can saw out the sockets on the steel too, or use a hacksaw & the "filleting" technique as demonstrated by Bill Carter in his videos of making a mitre plane

Something else I found strange was taking the body off the peening block to peen the pins. That seems like a recipe for getting the sides badly out of square. They usually spring inwards slightly despite the block, due to pressure caused by closing the pins. You either live with that if it's very slight, or try to correct it before fitting the stuffing. That's a risky procedure, you can end up feathering the edges of your joints if you are too brutal.

The one thing Pask did that I strongly disagree with was filing out a secondary bevel on the pins. I think that's quuite unnecessary and creates huge internal gaps, that would be very difficult, if not impossible, to fill. You're likely to end up with just the outer surfaces of the dovetails firmly crimped, and voids deeper down - not the strongest of results. It would probably hold fine on a small plane like the one he made, but I would certainly not follow that method on a large plane myself.

The angle of the secondary dovetail formed by peening doesn't have to be very great to form a very strong joint. Just a couple of degrees would be adequate, anything more is for appearance rather than structural soundness. Having the tails sit firmly at the bottom of the socket & peening the pins over a small bevel gives you the best chance of an even, tight joint with no internal voids.

I was actually working on a small plane yesterday & it occurred to me that banging up the chassis is really the easy part. It's a bit tedious for sure, but you have to try hard to make a complete mess of it. It's the fitting-out which follows that requires the most care. Getting a really flat blade bed matched to sole (or sole + blade block if including that feature), and a well-fitted lever cap bearing on the cap-iron or blade in just the right spot makes all the difference between a plane that'll be usable and one that is a really sweet machine!

Cheers,
Ian
 

C.R. Miller

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The plane in the link in Handplane Central which I have pasted below had a big secondary bevel and would require a huge amount of piening to get a nice result.View attachment 114199

Cheers
Richard

Not as much as you would think, actually. Though I guess it's all a bit subjective. Let me add a little backstory to this that only a couple of people know about.

Firstly, the thumb plane sides and sole were not actually made by me, but by a guy named Gil Rogers who lives in Melbourne, Australia (as I did at the time. Now I'm in country Victoria). I had met Gil through one of the tool groups (HTPAA) that I would sometimes give infill planemaking demonstrations with at various tool and trade exhibitions. Gil wanted to try his hand at making dovetailed planes so he got some sections of gunmetal cast, machined to thickness and then the profiles laser cut, along with the steel soles. However, he felt that the laser cutting had somehow case hardened the material so he didn't feel comfortable - at the time - to actually complete any of the planes. He lent me two gunmetal sides and a steel sole to have a go at peining and to see what I thought.

Fast forward a few days or so and I'm sitting at home in the workshop. I get the plates out and start peining away to get a feel for the metal and there's really no drama with it at all. It starts to pein quite nicely. The problem is that my girlfriend walks in and starts a conversation with me - and I forget to stop peining! When I'm in the zone it's somewhat automatic. I then realise what I'm doing and look down and one or two of the dovetails are already peined. Now the problem here is that I never prepared anything properly. No internal block (I made my own special formers for the range of planes I did), just freehand peining - which is not good - so there's nothing to hold the plates hard together or square. I then had to spend time filing down the plates to free them up again, then re-file the dovetails deeper to re-do that side of the plane body. In other words I created quite a bit of work for myself.

Gil came over to the house and I told him what had happened and we had a bit of a laugh about it. Gil has since gone on to make many infill planes over the years since. Quite artistic and beautiful, and very well done. I still have those original plates as they are a great way to show people how the dovetails mesh together.
 

IWW

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Good to read that even someone of your ability & experience can make bloopers, C.R., I can boast I'm in the best company, now... :)

I just finished making a couple of scaled-down planes using a softer brass than the C380 which is the only alloy easily obtained in convenient sizes here. This is the panel plane beside its grown-up sibling:
PPs cf.jpg

Because the sides were thin (2.5mm) & the brass soft I didn't bother with secondary bevels at all on the tails, past experience indicating they would deform & lock quite satisfactorily without it. I expected the pins to look a little curved from underneath when cleaned up, but they look quite straight:
D-Ts.jpg
They're actualy more consistent than they look in the pic too, the camera lens wasn't perpendicular & has distorted the angles a bit.

Anyway, I think it reinforces the notion that you don't need much bevel when peening steel over brass. My experience of peening steel over steel is very limited, but I don't think I'd try not using a secondary bevel or notches with all-steel joints....
Cheers,
Ian
 
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