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Spiers number 1...blinged

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richarddownunder

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Yes very nice plane Ian. I might have a go....when I find the time - I have always wanted to make a bigger dovetailed plane - the problem is if I invest so many hours, I'm reluctant to use it (well that is the case with the last block plane I made LOL). Those links ...blimey ... my Norris would fetch $1000 at that rate! A bit out of my price range probably although I'm happy to pay a reasonable amount for a good panel plane (D_W keep me in mind if you do want to part with that one ;).

Cheers
Richard
 

IWW

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Beautiful plane! You should be doing this commercially!
Nah, I'm primarily a tool user, not maker. I have sold a few 'spares' but it's hardly what you'd call a profitable business at the pace I work! :)

I often wonder what the rate of production was at Spiers or Norris in their heyday. 'Tis often written that infills cost more than a journeyman earned in a week, but even so, they probably needed a production rate of at least 3 planes per person employed per week to cover costs & make a profit. That's blindingly fast by my standards! 😲

Cheers,
IW
 

IWW

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..... I might have a go....when I find the time - I have always wanted to make a bigger dovetailed plane - the problem is if I invest so many hours, I'm reluctant to use it.....
Can't say I suffer that problem, Richard. I make tools to use and (as long as they're usable), I use them! My first-ever infill has had a trip to the floor (clumsy oaf I am!), but sustained nothing more than a graze on its nose, and remained gratifyingly rock-solid, so I feel little stress in putting it to work whenever its needed.

It took me a few planes before I reached the standard I was hoping for, but didn't quite achieve with number 1, and it's only since retirement from the paid workforce that I've had the time to indulge myself to the extent I have these last few years. Making several planes in a short enough space of time speeds up the learning process far more than tinkering around for a few hours on a Sunday, trying to remember where I was at last week. But now I find myself reaching for a couple of my own planes in preference to any of the others I have to choose from, so I guess I can start to feel like I'm getting there.... 🙂

Cheers,
Ian
 

D_W

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Yes very nice plane Ian. I might have a go....when I find the time - I have always wanted to make a bigger dovetailed plane - the problem is if I invest so many hours, I'm reluctant to use it (well that is the case with the last block plane I made LOL). Those links ...blimey ... my Norris would fetch $1000 at that rate! A bit out of my price range probably although I'm happy to pay a reasonable amount for a good panel plane (D_W keep me in mind if you do want to part with that one ;).

Cheers
Richard
I'm sure it will go eventually (the spiers), but I'm a little determined to make either it or a norris 13 in a 15 1/2" plane at some point. The "less desirable plane", I'll be buried with!! The first I posted (it may have been here) to find out what Anderson was (there is a brand stamped on the lever cap), I was informed that it was a kind of worthless toolmonger kit. There is a chance that's the case, but the woodwork is done well, and things that a planemaker and user of the planes would obsess about (handle aspects, angle, weight of the plane, balance) - they are all dead on. A luthier was using it according to the dealer, and it was OK (the cap iron wasn't quite right, and it suffered from mediocre sharpening, but it would've done coarse work). It took little to get in shape.

At any rate, if I ever do intend to unload the spiers, I'll give you a heads up.

As for the making, they do take a while to make, but it's enjoyable making, and it's impossible to resist using them if you make one with good balance. my wooden planes can outwork them in anything but the thinnest of shavings, but there is still a draw to them. For anyone who does all of their preliminary work machine planers, the significance of the wooden plane efficiency would probably be lost and the panel planes can take off the chatter and final smooth all in a row.
 

D_W

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Can't say I suffer that problem, Richard. I make tools to use and (as long as they're usable), I use them! My first-ever infill has had a trip to the floor (clumsy oaf I am!), but sustained nothing more than a graze on its nose, and remained gratifyingly rock-solid, so I feel little stress in putting it to work whenever its needed.
I've not dropped any infills, but my wife has. A couple of years ago, I built a skew infill miter plane and had done it very accurately. My wife doesn't like the disorganized state of my shop and was in a huff cleaning dust off of the giant rolling tool box that the skew infill lives on and I found it on the floor. WE have scuffles about cleaning my spaces - I could tell where it landed, and it caused a couple of the dovetails to telegraph but the amount of damage required nothing more than filing off a burr on the edge of the steel and putting the plane back to work. Luckily, it had no handle other than a short screw-in handle along its side - the handles suffer the worst based on what I see of used planes, and in my 20 planes or so that I bought, I received several with undisclosed tight repairs of fully broken off handles.

One other side comment - in all of the planes i've bought, the casted infills sometimes move a lot in terms of needing much attention to the sole to become fine users. I've never seen a dovetail plane that suffered the same - very little filing and lapping and they are within LN's spec. They also have less sole wear if they're used heavily.
 

richarddownunder

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Right, well, you have done it. What grade brass do you guys use to get the best peining result...?

If I can't buy one, I'll make one. After the coffee table, but probably before finishing the latest guitar which I have somewhat lost motivation to finish for some reason! It can't be any more difficult than a shoulder plane! Yes, tinkering in the weekend is a problem with all of this. I have a 2 1/2 acre garden as well which tends to soak up valuable shed time LOL!!

Cheers
Richard
 

AJB Temple

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I've not dropped any infills, but my wife has. A couple of years ago, I built a skew infill miter plane and had done it very accurately. My wife doesn't like the disorganized state of my shop and was in a huff cleaning dust off of the giant rolling tool box that the skew infill lives on and I found it on the floor. WE have scuffles about cleaning my spaces - I could tell where it landed,
I sympathise. Yesterday I had cause to say to my wife, who is perfect in some respects that matter, "you are not allowed to borrow my tools, touch my tools, in fact please don't even look at my tools".

Sadly this is not the first time we have had a little chat about such things, and inexplicably she seems to forget repeatedly.
 

bowmaster

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Hi there
thought I'd share my latest toy which I bought off a local auction site - obtained for a reasonable price I'll add. A Spiers #1 panel plane. It is generally in great condition...iron, infills (particularly the back)...but, oh dear, how it has been blinged. I guess it must have had some rust and a previous owner has buffed and polished (maybe used a linisher?) so the dovetails and pins have gaps...It has really spoiled what would have a been a beauty.

I was wondering how much metal would have needed to have been removed from the sides to cause these gaps in the dovetails and pins (and how much it has devalued it). Has anyone who has brought a very rusty plane back from the brink seen this? I measured the wall thickness at the gap between infills and one side was~2.8 mm, the other ~3.2 so I guess it was originally 1/8" ...of course, they may not have ben the same thickness originally. At least it remains pretty square between sides and sole.

As a user it works well, the iron is huge and the sole is fairly flat. The mouth isn't especially tight but it takes nice wispy shavings.

The Spiers is upside down on the lever cap. Does that help date it?

Interested in views.

Cheers
Richard
Maybe send an email to Ollie Sparks or Phil Holtey to see how that plane maybe 'repaired'.
 

richarddownunder

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I think 'repair' would be to replace the sides, which I think is probably impossible. As mentioned, it looks like it has been held on a belt sander to remove about 1.5 mm thickness at the heal. I think it is a user and I'll copy the shape if I make one - as someone said, having a reference to copy is better than using pictures, so all is not lost. That seems the best approach at this stage.

Cheers
Richard
 

IWW

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....... I'll copy the shape if I make one - as someone said, having a reference to copy is better than using pictures, so all is not lost. That seems the best approach at this stage. ....
Go for it, Richard, but do your arm & elbow exercises diligently for a month before you start. I've done two panel planes now, both with 300mm sides & soles about 335mm long. The amount of cutting & filing can't be 10 times what it takes for a small smoother, but it sure feels that way, and lapping seems more work again. But if it turns out to be a good 'un, the pain quickly subsides and is replaced by a warm glow of satisfaction (some might say smugness) every time it glides over a board.

I'm usually not one to get all mystical about a working tool, but as D.W. says, there is something about a good panel plane that gets you looking for excuses to use it... :giggle:

Cheers,
Ian
 

richarddownunder

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Just had a rummage - I have a bit of flat ground O1 steel exactly the right size and thickness ...Its a sign! :)

Just have to find some brass now - what specification brass is best to pien?

Cheers
Richard
 

Ttrees

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Is the rolling of the edge of the rear of the mouth, perhaps more noticeable on
a lower angle bed, the only reason not to opt for regular mild steel as a suitable candidate for plane making?
I had to do this recently for my shoulder plane, but its sound now.
Might be better if my plane were O1 if it got dropped I suppose, but for a plane
which the bed wasn't exposed, like a panel plane, has anyone came across any "never again" scenarios using mild steel for a plane?

Keen to know why folks use O1, but will use bronze aswell.
Thanks
Tom
 

Tony Zaffuto

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Go for it, Richard, but do your arm & elbow exercises diligently for a month before you start. I've done two panel planes now, both with 300mm sides & soles about 335mm long. The amount of cutting & filing can't be 10 times what it takes for a small smoother, but it sure feels that way, and lapping seems more work again. But if it turns out to be a good 'un, the pain quickly subsides and is replaced by a warm glow of satisfaction (some might say smugness) every time it glides over a board.

I'm usually not one to get all mystical about a working tool, but as D.W. says, there is something about a good panel plane that gets you looking for excuses to use it... :giggle:

Cheers,
Ian
About how much time did you have in producing the plane sole? Did you resort to any power tools for any parts of the process?

Thanks in advance!

T.
 

D_W

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Is the rolling of the edge of the rear of the mouth, perhaps more noticeable on
a lower angle bed, the only reason not to opt for regular mild steel as a suitable candidate for plane making?
I had to do this recently for my shoulder plane, but its sound now.
Might be better if my plane were O1 if it got dropped I suppose, but for a plane
which the bed wasn't exposed, like a panel plane, has anyone came across any "never again" scenarios using mild steel for a plane?

Keen to know why folks use O1, but will use bronze aswell.
Thanks
Tom
O1 is a little harder to cut, but it pins files less and it comb cuts well. Mild steel for hand work is generally more of a cut most and file some, but it peins better than O1 (it moves more easily, which is why you can comb cut O1 better - as in cut the metal in a section so that it looks like the teeth of a comb and then hammer the teeth and break them off).

O1 is more often received straight and ground, too, whereas mild steel may not be as flat (not a huge deal, you're going to pin it together flat or close and then file it.

O1 probably laps a little better (no steel laps that easily, though) and mild steel needs really to be filed to flat to get a reasonable amount of flatness quickly. If one buys mild steel with mill finish, the oxide is a file killer and needs to be run off on the idler of a belt sander or something similar (again, emphasis that O1 usually comes precision ground already and doesn't have any of that.

If metal work is accurate, the ability to pein mild steel a little more easily isn't that big of a deal.

A portable metal bandsaw is a decent idea for wasting metal out of pins, but they don't have a throat deep enough to cut some of the long straight lines for a panel plane - since making the first five infills, I've bought a portable metal bandsaw and if and when I get back to making more infills, it'll prove useful as a metal waster. I'd imagine a die filing machine would also be useful, but there's the issue of finding files that they use.

This is all talk for people who are resistant to the idea of getting and learning to use a milling machine and surface grinder.

Mild steel and O1 annealed both waste off nicely with a body work float and can be filed to almost finish then after that (draw filing) with a decent file as long as one learns to avoid pinning files by using their length progressively and then combing them out (as in, work your way down the file draw filing so that the file doesn't pin in a spot and then gash a big ugly mark in the surface you're trying to finish.

I'm not sure that it's much faster to make a single plane with a mill than it is with a portable bandsaw and hand tools, and I notice that folks who start making planes with mills often suffer some issues of proportion. I don't know why that is (some people who make planes by hand suffer the same thing).

The rule that George Wilson told me long ago applies -one is better off copying design with good aesthetics and then learning why they're good aesthetics than attempting to design something from their own mind before knowing what's good and what's not. I hate to say it, but I semi copied (but took some liberties) my first plane from a norris A13 and it would look far better if I'd just copied karl holtey's version of the A13 (sans adjuster - I don't think any infill plane is improved with an adjuster, but I guess they had to have them because stanley planes did.

All infills with O1 or mild steel are sticky on wood (cast has slightly less friction) and any made with a bronze or brass bottom are super sticky. I heavier wooden planes is much more productive than a panel infill plane in anything except very fine work, and I'd guess that the larger infill planes were never common until power tools did the roughing work. I thicknessed a board yesterday with the no-name infill above, and within about 20 minutes, I'd put it aside in favor of wooden planes - as much as the infill is nice for small work and finish truing, it's just a duck out of water trying to do any middle or coarse work.
 

richarddownunder

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...and I had some O1 in the cupboard wrapped nicely, so not rusty, nice and flat and just the right size... :). So it begs to be used up.

Cheers
Richard
 

IWW

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260 brass alloy.
While 260 has excellent cold-working properites, it's awful hard to come by 260 sheet or flat bar down in this corner of the world. Most merchants in Aus. only carry C3800 in the sorts of sizes a planemaker wants - don't know if that's the case in NZ, but I suspect it may be similar to here. It is a harder, 'machinable' grade, and if you get too enthusiastic with your peening & don't anneal, it will start to split & flake.

That said, I use 380 a lot for plane sides. If you fit your tails neatly, the vast majority of metal-moving consists of peening the 'pins' over the tails. If you are using mild steel or even gauge plate, you can peen these to your heart's content without fear of splitting or flaking. The ends of the tail should only need relatively light peening to make sure they fill the voids on the sole side, and 380 copes with that easily, I've not had any problems with a brass-to- steel join. Having to anneal a large body halfway through peening would be a major pita & something to avoid at all costs, imo.

For the panel plane shown above, I used some 4mm H62 (Chinese) brass I got off ebay. It has excellent peening properties, but supply in the quantities I need is erratic and limited to a few sizes. Plenty available if I want to buy a tonne or two, but not exactly practical....
 
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IWW

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Richard, I like O1 for soles for the reason DW stated, it comes flat & clean. Cleaning up mild steel is a pain in the arms. I've used both hot- & cold-rolled, and while the latter is a bit less work to clean, it's only marginally less.

I also find O1 no harder to saw, or cut with a cutoff disc, & marginally better to file than mild steel. The latter crumbs & clogs files like crazy, and the problem is worse if you use dull files, which I sometimes do, trying to get the longest possible life out of the darn things. I often don't realise how dull my file has become until I break out a new one. 'Chalking' the file does help, but certainly doesn't prevent clogging entirely. Be especially careful when filing the pins with a coarse, double-cut file (which is the sensible way to rip off the excess quickly). Stop & clean regularly or you can end up with nasty scores across your brass sides (damhik!). Switching to a fine file (prefereably fresh & sharp) & draw-filing when you are close is a good move, less likely to cause scores and leaves a cleaner, straighter surface.

Cutting the plate to size for a straight sided sole is easy & very accurate with a 1mm cutoff disc in your angle grinder. Clamp a straight edge to the blank & whack it off in a minute. For my panel plane, the 75mm wide piece of O1 I got didn't need cutting to width, it just happened to be exactly the required size (blade width +2mm side clearance, +thickness of sides x2, +1.5mm extra each side for peening).

The easiest way I've found to remove waste from sockets if you are stuck with manual methods is with a jewellers saw. Use #5 to #8 blades, these are the coarsest. (Note there are no "0s" in those numbers, any size preceded by a 0 is on the fine side). A #7 or #8 "premium" blade like Grobet or Pike will cut 5mm steel at a very satisfying rate. Cheap blades will simply drive you bonkers, they go about 5 or 10mm before the set wears off, at which point they start to bind and will jam & break if you persist in trying to force them to cut. The 'good' blades cut on & on before eventually slowing down, and cost only marginally more, so they are a far better bang for buck. I did break quite a few blades when I first started, not having used a fretsaw since my teen years, but I soon got the hang of it & now wear out more than I break.

I started out using the oft-recommended method of sawing fine fillets of metal, knocking those out & filing to the lines. Now I use a hacksaw to make the two cuts at each end of the socket, after which it's easy to slip the jewellers saw blade in & just saw along the line. It's quicker overall, & you get a neater result that takes only a little filing to bring you spot-on to the scribe lines. There is also far less danger of over-cutting than when making endless, boring cuts down to the inner line - there are a lot of tails & sockets on a panel plane and it's hard for me to stay attentive for that long! Depending on the reach of your saw frame, you may still need to cut the sockets in the middle of the sides the clumsy way though.

Cheers,
 

richarddownunder

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Great advice guys. Thanks for the tips. These guys seem to have 260


I'll contact them and see if they can supply a small bit. 380 is easy to find I think.

The jewellers saw just on the brass I take it. As it happens, I have a friend with a mill so I might approach him for a favour for the brass tails as I have a dovetail mill bit somewhere. Will still have to do the sole by hand though.

Cheers
Richard
 

D_W

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Hopefully, I didn't get the numbers wrong. I remember naval brass being 220 or something, 260 being referred to as cartridge brass, and 360 as free machining or something of the sort.

When I asked about it in the past, I got a lot of conflicting advice. 360 has lead in it and is much less tolerant of being moved around a lot - it works fine if it only needs to be moved a little bit, but when it cracks, it just kind of lets go.

I was originally told only to use naval brass, and since then have been told also that it's too soft. Who knows. 260 has worked fine, too. I could get by with 360 brass if I knew it from the outset -just extra care in making sure that there won't be too much to do in terms of filling gaps.

I have cut brass with a coping saw without too much issue (it will ruin a coping saw blade, but they're cheap. I cut both sides of a plane I haven't ever picked back up ( a panel plane) with a single coping saw blade and a lot of paraffin.

If you have a friend doing the milling for you, then the file pinning nature of brass and mild steel will never bother you.
 
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