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Sep 17, 2004, 10:55 PM
Zen Flying Master
AUBrian's Avatar
Bruce I agree, I'd love to see how a razor plane is made, just because I'd love to give it a try!
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Sep 18, 2004, 02:00 AM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
I'd forgotten about this offer until Ron PM'ed me. Pics of completed planes and the parts tomorrow.
Sep 18, 2004, 07:57 AM
Closed Account
Hey! Terrific!

ronw
Sep 18, 2004, 02:44 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
OK, here we go. Pics and a drawing.

For Material use a nice tight grained wood like Cherry or Maple. Avoid stuff like Oak or Mahogany that has open grain pores. If you want to get REALLY fancy the exotics like Cocobolo, Purpleheart or a few others are super nice. Needless to say woods that we modellers CALL hardwoods like spruce, bass or pine should be avoided. They are just way too soft.

Nothing here is cast in stone. The dimensions and angles are all OK if they are close. For the blade angle I'd stay close to the 28 to 30 degrees. This had shown itself to work well with even soft balsa.

The only critical dimensions are the width between the side cheeks and the mouth opening. Cut the center block stock so it is just a paper thickness over the width of the blade spines The extra width of the spines will allow you some angle allowance for setting the blade later. The mouth width is set by gluing up the sides and center blocks with the mouth deliberately closer than it needs to be. I then belt sand the sole whild looking down into the throat until the mouth is an even .045 to .050 wide. 1/16 is too much. Then chamfer the rear edge as shown in the drawing.

The blade adjusters are made from 6-32 x 1/4 long binder head machine screws. File the heads into a snail shell shape so they act like cams to force the blade ahead. If you can't find these screws then some 1/4 to 3/8 long 4-40's with flat washers soldered on under the heads can serve as the raw form. Get them screwed down close to the blade but with a 1/2 turn left to work with. To use the adjustment loosen the cap and tap the plane's back side onto a table to get the blade to move back against the adjusters. Pinch the clamp screw lightly and then turn the adjusters to force the blade forward until you get the thickness and eveness of cut you wish. Once set tighten the pinch bolt another 1/4 turn to lock it. When adjusted nicely with a new blade these things will cut soft balsa shavings the thickness of tissue paper.

The cap shoe has a couple of tricks up it's sleeve too. Cut the raw form and sand smooth on top, under the lower arc as well as the heel. Now two things are very important here. The toe's sharp edge must sit firmly and evenly on the blade or the blade will move and shavings will get stuck under the toe. To ensure that both these criteria are met you're going to sand the toe using some sandpaper shimmed up off your bench with a scrap of 1/16 ply. Move the shoe back and forth with the toe up on the 240 grit paper and the heel down on the bench surface. This ensures that the heel and toe are parallel and that the toe has a slight angle to it and puts it's pressure right on the last edge to both hold the blade and form a tight fit so shavings can't go under it. Leave it knife edged sharp.

Power tools will certainly help when making a couple of these but if you're familiar and careful with the layout and can saw a straight line and can dimension wood to size using layout techniques and a small wood plane I'm sure it can be done with hand tools as well.

The mouth dimensions mentioned are for light planing. If you plan on hogging stuff out at business card cuts at a time then a second plane with a wider mouth would be a good idea.

If you're in a club I'm sure there are folks in there with a table saw. A group project would be a great idea. If you get something like that going I'll take pics of the jigs I have here for when I was producing these.

And no, please don't ask. I HATE production work. I did a couple of batches for my free flight buddies here in the Northwest and sold them for $20 a pop. I think that let me make a whole $8 to $10 an hour on the deal. It was nice to put something like that back into the community and guys are still tellling me out of the blue how much they like using these planes.

Well, actually I noticed that I have 4 or 5 ready to sand and assemble like the "raw" one in the pic here. IIRC I ran out of the adjuster cam screws on the last batch. For a few of you that don't have the time or place to do any woodworking I could finish these off and mail them out at $20US postage included. BUT NO MORE AFTER THAT! PM me if you really MUST have one.

I think that's it. Any questions?
Sep 18, 2004, 08:53 PM
Closed Account
Hi Bruce -

Thanks. Well done and quite ingenious.

How did you accommodate the adjusting screws? Did you tap the cherry?

I'll probably think of another question soon. BTW, I find Mahogany and White Oak to be quite good for similar Japanese style planes. Red Oak is a disaster - porous and moves a lot.

ronw
Sep 19, 2004, 12:24 AM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Yes the cam screws are just threaded into holes drilled at points slightly above the edge of the spine on the blade. When the sole is sanded to get the right gap then position the blade and mark for the holes so there is abou 1/32 between the spine and the threading on the screw. Just a tight'ish hole is good enough. No need to tap it. The 6-32 clamp screw is also threaded into a snug hole rather than bothing to cut a thread with a tap. snug is about 1/64 under the size of the outer screw diameter.
May 14, 2014, 12:58 PM
Registered User
Great idea on how to make a quality razor plane! Just what I was looking for!
May 14, 2014, 03:26 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
You'll be something like the 12 to 15 person I've heard from that has made one or two of them. So far everyone has found that they work as well as I've promised.
May 14, 2014, 03:35 PM
Registered User
Would Birch be an ok material?
I don't really have access to too many hard materials
May 14, 2014, 08:22 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Birch is a lovely close grain hardwood. It'll work fantastically for this use.

For something this small we often don't need to go farther than the local fire wood pile. Anything that qualifies as a hardwood and doesn't dent easily with a fingernail will work just great. This simply means no spruce, fir, poplar, cedar, pine or similar. But birch, maple, cherry, walnut, ironwood, locust, etc all would be fine.

Mind you ironwood and locust likely need metal working tools to work with it....

The only hardwood I'd avoid is oak. And simply because in small pieces like this it's prone to splitting easily due to being quite brittle.
May 15, 2014, 12:24 AM
Registered User
You read my thoughts I was planning to use or birch firewood
May 15, 2014, 02:41 AM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Nothing wrong with FREE ! ! ! ! !

Keep in mind that for the wood to be as stable as possible you want to start with a piece that comes from the trunk for sure and hopefully a larger part of the trunk. I'd split out the wood and work it down so that the body of the plane uses the quarter grain wood with the growth rings running near as possible to vertically through the wedges and side slabs. And stay out towards the bark without actually using the outer 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick sap wood. That way there's not a lot of curve in the rings.

The most stable wood for tools has the most boring grain. So pick the most basic looking slab to mill down for the planes.

While you're at it you might as well make two or three. That way you can have one set for onion skin like shavings and a second with a wider throat and more aggressive cut for hogging off waste in a hurry.


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