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The Inimitable Ibex

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jimi43

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Those luthiers amongst us will probably be familiar with the little series of planes by IBEX.....



These tiny little masterpieces are made of silicon bronze and command high prices for such little beasties.

Most plane fanatics out there know how to tune the standard No.4 and other normal size planes but these engineering midgets need greater care to perform correctly.

Some time back when I made guitars I bought a few of these....this one...



....the with a little 36mm body and 12mm iron proved to be the most useful and was the one that I kept.

Today, I thought I would see if I could tune it up with the experience gained since then from other plane tuning.

The flat soled model has, like all other flat soled planes...to be reasonably flat so the first job was to sort that out...



...it doesn't need to be polished to a mirror...just flattened on a synthetic stone.

Next comes the lever cap...which must meet the iron with no gap whatever. The IBEXs that I have had are pretty rough in this area...so a bit of careful filing sorted that out...



Next, the front of the lever cap is polished to allow the shavings to slide over the cap and exit out of the top of the plane...



I have done this to some extent but later will polish with 3M Micromesh to ensure the smoothest surface.

Next...the bed needs lapping in. The easiest way to do this is to use the iron itself...some double-sided tape and some 1500M Micromesh...



...this laps the bed with the iron precisely...you can see shallows which still need a little more work...



The iron was ground by hand on the Tormek to ensure a straight bevel with slight curved ends....and we are done:



So after this careful little tuning tweak...how does it perform...well...exactly the way it was designed to....with coarse cuts being a dream...on the flat....



...and when creating bevels and round-overs.....



These planes are a joy to use and well worth the money but often they don't work straight out of the box so if you have any jobs that need that miniature touch....



....this little baby might just be worth consideration....



Cheers

Jimi
 

rileytoolworks

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Excellent write up Jimi. I've long admired those luthiers planes.
When are we going to see a KT Tools version of the thumb plane? Silicon Bronze is 'liquid' at about 1150degrees celsius, so easily castable..... :wink: :wink: :wink:

All the best mate.

Adam.
 

Scouse

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Great feature Jim, but Adam beat me to the big question...

Aces and Eights":q6ifrq70 said:
When are we going to see a KT Tools version of the thumb plane?
Ibex are the staple of the instrument makers miniature world but I find that, as I advance in years, they become a bit of a pain in the thumb to use. With this in mind, I'm considering these
http://www.veritastools.com/Products/Page.aspx?p=544
They lack the variation in sizes, but the knob makes them look a bit more comfortable for larger areas of violin and cello backs.
Richard Kell does a lovely luthiers plane, and having experienced his work before I'm sure they are worth the money, but I can't justify it to myself
http://richardkell.co.uk/luthiersPlane.html

El.
 

bugbear

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I met a luthier (violins) who trained in France and all her tools were self-made. Talking to her, a significant part of her course was tool making. The ultimate in self reliance, I guess. I picked up some good insights on scraper sharpening and use.

BugBear
 
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