Instead of starting to shape tonight, I decided to clean up the rough saw marks made by cutting out the handle.
That’ll be it for tonight. Somehow I came up lacking in the energy department.
There was some question about “purity” somewhere or other, or in other words, “would I have used a scrollsaw or bandsaw to make this if I had one?” Well, yeah, probably. Remember that Disston wasn’t shy about using machinery to make all of those beautiful early 1900s saws. They weren’t stupid, and they sure had room for some bandsaws.
The handle on my old beat-up Jackson backsaw looks really sad and has a lot of nasty rot and gunk in it. In preparation for the handles on my other backsaws, I thought it might be a good idea to start with the old one, just so I can continue to mess around with a saw that isn’t worth very much.
I finally got my stupid scanner working and scanned the old handle. Then I used Inkscape to trace the outline, and finally, today, I cleaned it up a little. I got this thing:
This seems reasonable, and the dimensions also appear to be correct. I didn’t try to make it pretty or add extra flair. The “holes” are almost certainly inaccurate, but I don’t care, since I’ll be transferring them from the blade and not the drawing.
It’s a somewhat “urgent” project now. I put new teeth on another one of those cheap Craftsman dovetail saws this weekend, so I have the “urge” to put a real handle on the ones I have. This time I went for 14tpi rip, and I used a worn 5″ x-slim taper to cut the initial teeth. That went a lot faster this time.
The saw works perfectly… as a dovetail saw, that is. This is or is not unfortunate, depending on how you look at it. I wasn’t intending to make a saw that cut as well as this one, I just wanted something that was faster than my current 20tpi dovetail saw. This cuts so well that I might just try it for stuff that I used the dovetail saw on before.
So I’ll probably be getting yet another one of those cheapie saws. This time, I’ll file it to something like 10 or 11tpi rip. That ought to do what I want it to. Except that maybe I wanted to make a panel saw? Eh, I guess it doesn’t hurt to have a few.
Every now and then, I’ve been making a mortise and tenon joint for practice. I usually manage to screw up in some subtle way, but have generally not made the same mistake twice. Then last night, I made one that seems actually halfway passable.
The chip on the bottom of the mortise piece was there before. These pieces of wood have been sitting around for months, so where I used a block plane to even up the edges, you can see how much the wood has darkened in that time. I glued it up just to see how well it would work. Not bad.
Interestingly, I made this joint faster than any I’ve made in the past. So practice does help. I’ve gotta stop sawing so close to the knife line on the shoulder, though. It makes it hard to chisel down from the line.
I did the final shaping and glue-up of the scrub plane’s tote a while back. That, along with the edge chamfering, left me with this:
I tested it, and found it much to my liking.
Because the tote will likely see heavy use, I decided to varnish it, and before doing that, I decided to stain it. I had a can of “golden pecan” (a pigment stain) in the cabinet, so I tried it out on a test piece of beech. It didn’t seem horrible, so here is the plane after two coats (with sanding between):
There is a little blotching. I believe that I should have probably done a washcoat. It seemed to have avoided a lot of problems on that old saw handle.
Though passable now, I feel that I should sand and do another coat of stain. The second coat evened things out a lot, so a third should do it most of the rest of the way?
After that step, I would like to even it out with clear varnish. Satin polyurethane again? It’s worked well for me so far.
I decided to attack the long, wide groove to fit the tote today. I wasn’t too sure how to approach this, so I decided to see if a router plane would do what I needed it to. Having never used this tool (a Millers Falls #67 with a Lee Valley blade), I sharpened the blade and tested it on a piece of Douglas fir that usually sees test victim service. It seemed to work, so I set out clamping the plane body to the bench, marked the sides, and sawed down as much as I could:
Then I attacked it with the router plane until I got to the bottom. I had to remove the last part by chisel. (Next time, I will try to design the tote so that I can do the whole thing with the router plane. This was a severe pain in the butt.)
Finally, I shaved the edges of the groove so that the tote would fit snugly:
This could have turned out a little better, I guess. I was a little paranoid about trusting my lines when I sawed down, and it turns out that I shouldn’t have–they were dead on. In the end, there’s sort of a small gap on one side of the groove between the tote and the body. All in all, though, this went a lot better than the complete disaster that I expected…
Faced with a dearth of time to work, I’ve been flailing around at shaping the tote/handle for the past several days. I’ll get home, take a few whacks at it with the rasp, file a little down, and so on.
Today, I decided to cut the “razee” part of the body. Seems to have gone okay. Here’s the body, along with the current tote:
The tote isn’t exactly the prettiest thing in the world right now, but it is at least comfortable. I haven’t gone far beyond this level of finish because I haven’t decided which tools to use now (can’t use the rasp any longer because the finish is too rough). Files? Sandpaper wrapped around a dowel? A scratch stock? Anything I can find?
I think I used too much glue when laminating the plane body, creating a slightly larger gap than I was expecting, but that’s life. It does seem solid, and that’s the important part.
Yesterday, I cut a triangle out of a board for the handle, and today, I traced out the rest of the handle from the printed drawing. Then I knocked out the inside and back with a coping saw. Coping saws are a pain, but a having a solid workbench is a godsend, and nowhere was this more evident when I roughed out the outline with a rasp. I’ve never had much success at using a rasp before, and I realize now that it was due to having a bench shake all over the place.
That’s a somewhat-maligned cabinet rasp there. It seemed to work fine, and it also didn’t cost me anything (woot). Of course, the real test will come when I use it to shape the oval profile of the grip, but it doesn’t seem like it will be a problem.
Truth be told, cutting out the handle was a lot more fun than I expected. If the rest of the shaping goes even half as well as this, I’ll really have no excuse for not getting to work on those saw handles.
I had time to work on the scrub plane today. I already had two milled pieces of wood ready to go, and the drawing was done. So I set out on the somewhat complicated task of cutting the various tapered slots. I made the wedge first. Then I marked out the blade’s bed (at 45 degrees), traced the wedge shape onto both body pieces, and cut out the housing for the blade and wedge:
That’s all fine and good, but you sort of need a path for the shavings to come out. This is the tricky part. You have to maintain a significant portion of the wedge/blade housing, but still open up the area in front of the blade. In addition, you have to open this area to the full width at the mouth. Here’s what I’m working with now:
The area for the shavings is a bit narrow, and the tapered path for the shavings is a rather high angle, but this is probably okay, because the shavings on a scrub plane are not really supposed to be as wide as the mouth anyway.
When assembled, the body is supposed to look like this:
With the blade and wedge inserted, it looks like this:
From below, we have this:
Fine. So I was happy with all of that and decided that it was time to glue up the sides. It was not terribly easy, and looked kind of ridiculous when clamped up:
At least I got it aligned. I’m starting to think that it might have been easier if I had glued it up first, then cut out the various parts. Then again, I wouldn’t have been able to use my saws. Oh well, the price you pay when you don’t have any thick pieces of wood lying around.
Then I sharpened the blade. First time sharpening a cambered blade. Hmm. Well, it could have been worse, I guess.