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Built a Jointer

This could very well be called the LA plane that wasn’t.  I started out with the best of intentions, wanting to join in the plane-building fun on the Porch. Ron (Hock) was damned nice in trying to find a blade for me after he had run out of stock.  In the end me sent me (at my request) a 2” wide blade as I had set my sights on building a jointer. I know everyone was meant to build a bevel up smoother, but I had already done that, hadn’t I?  And not so long ago.

I had this plan to build a jointer. Not just any jointer, but a 30” jointer! And so I started to do this – but the blade was too short to use in a bevel up configuration for a plane this length.  I was concerned that if I lowered the height of the body, then the plane would lose important rigidity.  I re-cut the body and began building a bevel down plane.

Well it has taken about 2 1/2 weekends to build this 30" jointer, but it is finally complete and I am very happy with it.  I cannot believe that a plane this length can be so comfortable to use (note that a HNT Gordon Trying Plane is 17", a Stanley #7 is 22" and a Stanley #8 is 24" long). It turned out to be relatively light for laminated/solid Jarrah, just 2.25Kg (a tad under 5 lbs).

The iron, as anticipated, is a 3/16" Hock that I infilled the slot with brass so that I could use it as a single iron.  The bed is 60 degrees.  The lever cap is brass, nearly the last of the unusually pink stock I have.  This is extremely hard metal. It is polished to direct shavings out of the mouth.  The lever cap screw is capped with brass to match. I shaped the side screws out of brass bar.

The razee construction was inspired by some of Steve Knight's work, but overall I see the dominant influence of Terry Gordon

I often wondered what Terry's (HNT Gordon) planes would be like with a tote, so I added one.

The mouth has a brass wear plate.  It (the mouth) is very tight at present.  I thought I would play with it like this first before opening it wider (as it is, I see this jointer taking fine shavings when truing edges of boards).

And, yes, it can make proper shavings.  I only had a board of Karri Pine to hand, but it made light work with (in my impatience) a semi-sharp blade.

I plan to write up a few "how-tos" (would that make it "how three"?) on areas such as constructing a lever cap and cap screws without fancy shmancy equipment. 

Hoping you enjoyed this as much as I ...

Derek Cohen
Perth, Australia
March 2007

Post Script …

Initially I was very pleased with the way the plane came out. However, Mike Wenzloff disagreed with the placement of the handle, saying it was too far back.  I decided that I would try out the arrangement for a month, then report.  So, to Mike I say ‘Damn, you were right!!”.  With the handle far back the plane was balanced - but it lacked control.

There is nothing I dislike more than redoing perfectly good work.  How often do you accept that a part is just not good enough, and pull it apart? 

So off came the handle. It was replaced with one in Beech off a Stanley bench plane. I completed some significant reshaping, and then dyed it black.

The body was reduced to 27”. This added to the control and enabled the plane to feel lighter and more manageable. Just 1.25 Kg.

Here are photos of the plane for inspection:

All screws, bolts, etc were shop made.

Sole of plane: very flat. Tight mouth. Brass insert to keep it that way.

The only apology is that the original handle needed to be moved forward, and a patch inserted ...

In use, the plane feels very light. It has a low centre of gravity. It feels like using a very long block plane in the way you get close to the workpiece (similar to a BU Jointer). The blade has a 30 degree hollow grind, and takes effortless shavings into the grain on a piece of Jarrah here

Kind regards