Sinking mortises in moulding planes

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

steve355

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2020
Messages
537
Reaction score
572
Location
Herts
Hi

I‘m back on my project trying to make a set of hollow and rounds. A while ago I made about 6 planes up to the point of shaping the soles - I’ve finished a couple. Now I’m trying to finish some more.

I’m finding that my mortises weren’t very good. I’ve made 2 sets of floats and watched the Larry Williams DVD etc. I’ve also watched Stavros Gakos videos (which are pretty sick tbh). I’ve followed all the advice I can find but I find the bed really difficult to get absolutely straight and the corners really clean.

if anyone experienced at this has any tips or advice it would be very welcome.

thanks
Steve
 
Not traditional but you can make it with 4 pieces and glue it together. Use a table saw or mitre saw to cut the front and back to get the right bed angle and mouth. Glue the cheeks on. The wedge can bear on notches in the cheeks or a cross pin.

Pete
 
Not traditional but you can make it with 4 pieces and glue it together. Use a table saw or mitre saw to cut the front and back to get the right bed angle and mouth. Glue the cheeks on. The wedge can bear on notches in the cheeks or a cross pin.

Pete
That would be cheating! It’s not like I‘ve had no success with the traditional method. It’s just not yet good enough, and takes a very long time.

And I suppose for me it’s about learning how to make planes, that’s the fun part.
 
I made some miniature boxwood planes for my vault project and found that I needed a whole host of floats to get the mortice cheeks and bed flat and clean.

I didn't make any floats and ended buying the whole selt of LN ones when they were affordable years ago.




Compass and radiused boxwood planes 23:11:20.jpeg



IMG_5002.JPG
 
Last edited:
I made some miniature boxwood planes for my vault project and found that I needed a whole host of floats to get the mortice cheeks and bed flat and clean.

I didn't make any floats and ended buying the whole selt of LN ones when they were affordable years ago.

Great job, looks like they worked well. Interesting project too - that’s the same kind of reason I would like to be able to make planes.

Looking on the LN website it looks like they’ve stopped selling them altogether now.

My issue is I’ve gone too far. In this exaggerated example Ive taken too much off the top section of the mortise, leaving a bump, so the wedge won’t fit snugly. This leads to clogging and chatter, and it can’t be fixed as “floating” it out would leave a trough in the breast. Basically, these mortises need to be pretty much perfectly straight and parallel with the bed and breast. It’s a really hard operation to accomplish (for me anyway). With this plane I may as well start from scratch.

Oh well, never mind.

0D2E81FF-65EF-45CC-8379-E379420D7324.jpeg
 
I made some miniature boxwood planes for my vault project and found that I needed a whole host of floats to get the mortice cheeks and bed flat and clean.

I didn't make any floats and ended buying the whole selt of LN ones when they were affordable years ago.




View attachment 153455


View attachment 153456
They look adorable, as my grandson would say...
 
That's a shame about the mortice, but I guess it's a part of the learning experience with this kind of stuff, especially when the information on how to go about it is relatively scarce.

Looks like you've got a capacity crowd, float wise. What did you make them from ?
 
That's a shame about the mortice, but I guess it's a part of the learning experience with this kind of stuff, especially when the information on how to go about it is relatively scarce.

Looks like you've got a capacity crowd, float wise. What did you make them from ?
Information on planemaking is very scarce. I don’t know why it’s not far more popular, those old planes are fascinating and work so well (except mine)

I think the dark floats are just some mild steel I had lying about, which obviously I hardened. I made these first but they were too thick for the smaller mortises so I needed more. The lighter ones are O1 tool steel. It’s a mixture of push/pull/side/cheek etc.

I have a little Dore Westbury milling machine, with a dovetail cutter it’s possible to run them off pretty quickly and clean up the burrs with a saw file. If I’d had to file them from scratch I wouldn’t have many!
 

Attachments

  • FullSizeRender.MOV
    32.3 MB
Steve- I assume you've seen this video but for any others who haven't it's worth a watch
Moulding Plane Maker-Norman Bayliss 1962- Ken Hawley Collection Trust on You Tube


 
from what I'm seeing you'd have to re-make the plane bed which would probably mean starting again.
 
from what I'm seeing you'd have to re-make the plane bed which would probably mean starting again.
Unfortunately I think you’re correct.

I think there are actually several problems, which come down to me not really knowing what I’m doing. It’s a process of trial, error and thinking.

There just isn’t any text or video which really explains the process of plane making. The wedge needs to fit perfectly, else all manner of chatter and clogging problems result. For the wedge to fit perfectly, the mortise, bed, breast etc all needs to be very accurate.

I don’t think it’s hard, it’s technique, and I’ve realised that my floats aren’t quite right. Better make some more :-(
 
mistakes are all part of learning, keep trying and you'll get there, check your floats are all dead straight with a good ruler/straight edge, they look good to me, it's not easy to got a dead flat surface by hand so don't beat yourself up too much!
 
Back on this project …. 3 new floats and a new line in tapered plane irons.

IMG_4043.jpeg
 
There ought to be some way to jig a paring chisel for the last few passes needed to flatten and bring surfaces to truth. Same principle as using a brass miter templet. A chisel and a float suffer from the same tendency to remove more material at the end of a freehand stroke resulting in a dip and a hump in the middle. Jigging might help.
 
Last edited:
There ought to be some way to jig a paring chisel for the last few passes needed to flatten and bring surfaces to truth. Same principle as using a brass miter templet.
Actually, the problem I was having was that I simply hadn’t cut the bed exactly perpendicular to the plane body. It was very slightly out of square. So the iron cannot bed properly. I realised that there’s little that can be done other than start again.

Ive made some new jigs now, for drilling the mortises, and cutting a dead square bed. That, plus new, bigger floats, and the ability to make decent tapered irons, and I should be getting much closer to making decent planes consistently. I hope so anyway!
 

Latest posts

Back
Top