11) Cutting Away the Back of a Mitre Plane

10) Using Ground off Chisels.

9) Bending the Body of a Mitre Plane.

8) Forming the Cupid Bow Dovetails.

7) Adjusting a Carter Plane Using Hide Mallets.

6) Marking and Cutting Dovetails on the Sole

5) Sharpening an iron.

4) Cutting the Bevel for the Bottom of the Bed.

3) Forming the Double Dovetail.

2) Tongue & Groove Joint.

1) Colouring.

No 11 Cutting Away the Back of a Mitre Plane

 I am starting to cut the brass body in order to form the cupid bow decoration. Bit nervous at this stage don't want the hacksaw to slip.

Looks as if it has been cut by a butcher! Should look better after filing.

Much better now I have filed and shaped the cupid bows.


No 10 Using Ground off Chisels.

For quite a few years now I have been telling people how I use ground flat chisels and other shapes.  This year I have been to various big shows and still lots of fine cabinet makers, tutors etc still haven't got the message which I find quite remarkable.

For finishing off hard woods, I turn a wood chisel or similar tools, upside down and grind the ends square, as shown.  This produces the finest of finishing and I find it much easier than the equivilent sharpe tools.  This to some people sounds strange, but I can assure you it does work and I use it on all my plane making.

Everyone who has tried it gets back to me and agrees that it works.  Some of my friends don't stop talking about it.

After you have ground it upside down the burr is at the bottom which is the top of the chisel, you ignore this, just turn the chisel the right way up and it is now ready for use, what could be more simple?  After use it will go blunt just turn it upside down, run it across the face of the grinding wheel and it is now shahpe again. (Simples)

Here I am using this technique on a piece of Boxwood, exactly like you would use a sharp chisel.  You can actually go across the grain with ease or even up the grain.  You can not do this with a sharp chisel.

Here I am using other ground flat tools for different jobs.  A 3 cornered file to get in very tight corners, ground off gouges for doing concave work.

 Because you are taking very small shavings off you can go right the way across the grain without breaking the harrises off.



This picture shows me using a piece of gauge plate ground off again to take out the finishing the touches of a Boxwood mitre plane.  I could have used 1/8" blunt paring chisel to do this job, but at this time I didn't own one.  This was the only method to complete this task as Boxwood, with it's interlocked grain would not accept a sharp chisel so readily.

Sometimes it is helpfull to clear a pad saw cut in progress by grinding the end as in with the previous tools, turning it upside down and clearing the cut with shavings.

No 9 Bending the Body of a Mitre Plane.

You can use a wooden former or a metal rod to bend the body.

After dovetailing the Brass, I cramped the strip in the jaws of the vice, you can use a piece of wood or steel to give you extra leverage.  Small planes and thin Brass you can easily bend with your hands.

Using a sash cramp to finalize the bending.


Correct as shown.

Opening up the Brass and inserting the bridge.

The body cramped in the vice with the aid of 2 large washers, this gives clearence for the protuding tenons.


No 8 Forming the Cupid Bow Dovetails.

I've put a 45 degrees line on the soft jaws of the vice so that I can line up the sole and file the cupid bow dovetail's horizontally.  In the past I have always done this by guess work, but I thought I would look professional on screen.

My set of needle files for the job.

The sole is ready to file.  I do the cupid bows by eye, without measuring.

I use a 1/8" round for both ends of the cupid bow and a little 3 cornered file for the middle.

I forgot to do the second dovetail filing, so I have done it now.

Once I've got 3 little saw cuts I round the edges with a 1/2" round file forming the cupid bow shape.

The arrow in the middle is where I sometimes round this corner as well, but not this time.

I have decided to cupid bow the dovetails on the sides as well, this is giong to prove very difficult to peen, the sole is guage plate.

You can see the bottom and the side cupid bows ready for peening.

The bottom peened and filed.  It took me a day to do this.


No 7 Adjusting a Carter Plane Using Hide Mallets.

I only use hide mallets when knocking the wedge in and out of my planes.  These come in all sizes, I use the two smaller ones in this picture.  One is about 1" diameter and the other about 1 3/4".  I use a small hammer to adjust the iron, with very gentle taps.  Under no circumstances should you strike any part of my planes or any metal plane with a steel hammer.  Many a fine plane has been spoilt by hitting it with a hammer, especially at the heel, the front infill and elsewhere.

Also a point worth mentioning never tap a wooden wedge side to side as this can also break the walls of a wooden plane.

Adjusting the wedge in and out  with light blows, with a hide mallet.

Adjusting the iron after sharpening, this time using a hammer with very light taps.

The iron should have movement, left and right without hitting the inside walls of the plane.  The wedge wants to be a snug fit, no movement side to side.


No 6 Marking and Cutting the Dovetails on the Sole.

I put a sash cramp in my vice, then cramp the sole of the plane in the sash cramp, placing the body on the sole and mark round the dovetails, using the scribe.

The sole is marked and ready for cutting.

Put the sole in the vice so that the saw cuts are vertical.

To remove the waste, I do vertical cuts with the sole horizontal and knocked out with a blunt chisel, left and right blows to bend the waste.

Filing everything level to the lines.


The sole is finished.

No 5 Sharpening an Iron. 

I use 2 stones, a "India" carborundrum, mine is brick colour and a black "Arkansas" finishing stone.   Any 2 similar stones will do.

The one in the foreground when found, must have been over 200 years old looking at the case it was in.  Which I have now renewed, it is khaki coloured and 8" long x 2" wide and very thick in it's depth, perhaps 2".

I use a 50/50 mix of paraffin and thin oil on the stones.

I use one bevel on my irons, not two, this way you have a larger area of metal resting on your stones, better control when sharpening and you never have to regrind.

I instinctively know what angle to sharpen at, whether it be a smoother type plane iron, a chisel or a mitre plane iron, this comes with practice, it is about 30 degrees.

When you acquire a new or second hand iron, level the back of it using your India stone, or similar.  The two stones must be kept flat.

Once you have achieved this levelling process, transfer to the finishing stone and repeat.

At this stage all the hard work is done and you will never have to repeat it. From now on if your iron is in good condition it only takes about 1 or 2 minutes to sharpen. 

Rub the bevel side up and down the India stone until you can feel a burr with your thumb the full width of what you are sharpening.

Here I am feeling the burr.

At this stage transfer to the finishing stone, laying your iron flat on it and rub up and down 3 or 4 strokes.  This removes the burr.

Now on the bevel side repeat until you get another burr full width of what ever you are sharpening.

Turn over again, 3 or 4 strokes removing the burr for the second time. 

Finish with one stroke up the stone on the bevel side.

Job done.

The perfect finish is done with a strop like a Barber would use, but I just use the palm of my hand.  I do this without thinking but if you try it for the first time, use extreme caution.

You should now be able to shave the hairs on your arm.

Shapes of cutting edges on irons.

A smoothing plane iron and a mitre plane iron should be straight, across the cutting edge, with the corners rounded off a little, this will stop tram lining up the piece of wood you are planing.  Tram lining is caused by the edges of a cutter digging into the wood.  For a panel plane and jointer most people slightly curve the iron when sharpening, but I don't. 


No 4 Cutting the Bevel for the Bottom of the Bed.

 This is a picture of a Bronze sole. Before I cut it into 2, I do the setting out.  I allow a small amount wider than the hacksaw blade for the mouth, the left and right vertical lines, front and back are the overall length of the dovetails.  Don't go past these 2 lines when scribing these 2 horizontal lines, if you do it will show on the finished plane.  Again these 2 lines are the inside width of the plane.  The smaller 2 horizontal lines near the mouth are the width of the cutting iron to be used.  When you have got to this stage file the 2 cut lines until they fit perfectly.  The rear of the mouth line is now finished, the front line has to be altered for the width of the mouth.

After you have achieved a perfect fit of the two 2 pieces above, I now set out the shoulder lines for the tongue and groove joint, 1/16" back.  The depth of the groove for the tongue, same distance, 1/16".  This I mark on the 2 edges of the sole behind the mouth.

Having scribed the bed angle on the large rear piece of the sole, again on the edges.  I now scribe across the width of the plane, as shown in the vice below, this forms the bottom of the bed infill.

Keeping the bed angle level with the top of the vice, saw down multiple cuts and remove the metal nearly to a feather edge.

Viewed from the other end you can see I have not gone down to a feather edge.

This picture shows numerous saw cuts which I then break off with a chisel, or in this instance, I'm using a hacksaw.

Ready for filing to a near feather edge.

This triangular needle file is just to clean up in the corners and the file would approach the work piece the other way round to the photo, right to left not left to right.

Here it is all cleaned up and finished.


No 3  Forming the Double Dovetail.

When making a dovetailed plane, 1/16" surplus metal is needed over the finished size to form the dovetails.  This just shows 2 pieces of metal that Bill carries around to show people how to form the dovetails on a plane.

This shows a straight foward dovetail joint as in wood, the bottom socket shows the arrises filed away for the next stage.

This shows the next stage ready for peening to form the second dovetail.

This shows arrises filed away on the left and straight sides on the right.

When put together like this, the right hand side as in wood, the left hand side as in plane making to form the second dovetail.  You can just see on the left hand side joint the amount you have got to peen to form the second dovetail.( the impossible joint )


 No 2 The Tongue and Groove Joint.

I have divided the sole into 3.

I then place the work piece quite low down in the vice as shown.

I start the hacksaw cut on the back edge and work down to the 1/16" depth at an angle, when I have reached the 1/16" depth, I start to lower the cut until the hacksaw blade is just short of cutting into the rear side.  Then I turn the sole 180 degrees and do the same on the other side.

Now I finish the 2 cuts together with the hacksaw horizontal, working down to the depth I have marked, 1/16".  I use this 12" 24 TPI blade which hasn't got too much set on the teeth, as shown.

A small hacksaw and a thin file just to clean out the grooves.

Now for the shoulders. 

Lining the shoulder line exactly with the top of the hardened steel jaws, ready to saw.

Resting the hacksaw on the top face of the jaws, horizontal again, I saw the shoulder cut.  When this is reached I transfer to a flat file with one safe edge and remove the rest of the metal, again resting on the hardened jaws working sideways.  To finish off I now lift the file onto it's safe edge, resting on the jaws, the file is now vertical and I finish off to the line of the tongue.

This shows the file for the first cut.

This shows the file on it's edge to finish off.

This picture shows one side finished.

I then turn it 180 degrees and do the other side the same.

This picture shows all 4 shoulders cut.


No 1 Colouring Metal.

These 2 recently made planes, the one in the background I coloured yesterday, the one in the foreground I am going to colour today.

These are the colouring agents that I use, Perma Blue first, then Potassium Sulphate crystals on the right in the dish.  The amount shown is plenty.

I have applied the Purma Blue with a brush over the bronze and steel in this picture.

Minutes later with a damp cloth, I vigorously rub most of the black off, as shown.

Using the same damp cloth, I dip it in these crystals, these have been crushed with the handle of a chisel.

I then rub with the damp cloth all over the bronze and steel.  After about a minute or two, using a dry cloth I rub over again, removing the film that has formed when dry.  This picture shows the damp cloth with the crystals that I used and the result after a few minutes.

A friend has given me some Gun Blue Cream this also can be used for colouring metal, I now use it frequently.