Scrub plane: finished

I decided to rub out the finish on the scrub plane last night, and call it “finished” for now.

I had remarked to my friend how much rubbing out a finish changes it. In this case, there are a lot of minor finishing screw-ups that somehow got less bogus in the process.

Looks aren’t everything, though, and in this tool’s case, maybe it isn’t even ugly enough for its intended task of hogging off wood. In any case, I have a new toy, and I want to try it out tonight.

Scrub plane: Starting the finish

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.

Scrub plane: Fitting the tote

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…

Scrub plane body

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.

Scrub plane design

It’s taken forever, but I finally got around to drawing the scrub plane, or at least the side view.

I’m still a little unsure of these dimensions. Most wooden scrub planes have the blade set a little further back. But since I want a tote on this thing, I had to shift a few things around. The basic tote shape comes from the small Lee Valley tote that I got for my low-angle block plane. It’s likely that even if it works out for me, it will not be comfortable for those with larger hands. In any case, the tote is not meant to be grabbed with four fingers; the index finger should go along the side.

I’m not sure what to do about the front. I suppose that it’s possible to put a knob or something on there, but I’m not going to bother with it until I try it out.

Scrub Plane Preparation

It’s been a busy few weeks with practically no time for woodwork. However, there has been a little progress. Today, I finally got around to milling the two faces of the board that will eventually become the scrub plane. As with the mallet, the plane will be made of European beech. What a pain–gave myself a blister doing it, too. The only thing left to do on the board is hit it with a smoothing plane, but that’s easy.

I still need to draw the thing. I think I’m going to go with at least a 10-inch length so that I have enough room for a tote in the back, but I don’t know how tall it should be, nor do I know how far forward the blade will be, and I don’t even know what design I’ll use for the handle.

Other minor activity is that I’ve finally gotten around to finishing the Winchester saw handle that’s been sitting around for at least a half a year. There are lots of nicks in the handle. I used a smoothing plane to knock out the most superficial of those. A washcoat and a coat of stain (a pigment-colored varnish) is now on. I’ll do another coat of that tomorrow, and probably follow up with a some polyurethane. One of these days, someone tell me why it’s so impossible to pour anything out of a paint can. There has got to be a better way.

Another fix for the junkie arrived from Lee Valley today. This shipment included the high carbon blade for the scrub plane. I don’t know why the HCS blade costs $18 and the A2 blade $38. It’s surprisingly heavy.

Also in the package were a small tote and front knob add-on for my low-angle block plane (a sort of silly extragavance, but that plane is really nifty), and two 4″ 2x slim taper handsaw files.

My waterstones had started to dish a little, so I flattened them with my diamond stone. That was delightfully easy.