Sunday, November 6, 2011

Infill Plane

Yes, I waited a few years before getting such a kind of plane, believed to be among the best ones. The famous Norris, Spiers etc. have dangerous prices, so I contented myself with a probably auto-built plane.

This specimen is almost 8 inches long (20 cm); the plane body has the typical form (coffin) of smoothing British planes, with mahogany infill wood and a mahogany handle. Its weight is 1.8 kg, 400 grams more than a Stanley 3 wich has more or less a comparable length.
It has a brass lever  cap, as well as the clamping screw. A little brass plate is screwed on the front wood insert, probably for giving an aesthetic additional touch (debatable). The blade (2 1 / 8 "/ 54mm) is marked HEARNSHAW BROS (1881-1960).

The tools was in good condition, despite some age signs and some old repairs. In particular it seems the handle has been repaired or replaced. However it has been reinforced by screws, hidden by caps. It is very solid. That is why I decided to leave the plane in its original condition, worrying only of blade and sole that required the attention necessary to re-put the tool at work.
Unlike traditional metal planes (like Bailey), the sole lapping tends to open the mouth, so we must act only when absolutely necessary and with great caution.

In my case, the sole was almost perfectly flat and the work on 180 Grit abrasive paper  had virtually no impact on the mouth width (only 0.25 mm). The blade is bedded to 45 °. The blade bevel was about 30 degrees and  so I reground it, without microbevel. The chipbreaker took a little leveling job on the side in contact with the blade.

I rounded the cutting edge at both ends to avoid the plane can leave marks onto work pieces. Even the sole edges were rounded crawling the plane and keeping it inclined in respect to abrasive surface. The mouth  requested filing assistance to adapt the opening to the cutting edge.

About four hour job and........................


  1. Giuliano,

    I just discovered this blog via one of the woodworking forums. I live in the US (Kentucky) and also enjoy working with traditional hand tools.

    I very much like your workbench. It is very functional, but in typical Italian fashion, it is also quite beautiful. I like the drawers for storing tools, especially for those of us that have limited space. I also like the contrasting colors of wood.

    I would love to see some of the furniture that you have built.

    Also, it is very interesting to me that you have primarily English, American, and Japanese tools. Was there ever a tool making tradition in Italy?



  2. Ciao Jeff,
    Thank you for your comments.
    You are right regarding tools I have. We have, in Italy, few examples of good hand tool makers, today, as in the past. Moreover, woodworking machines supplanted hand tools very soon, so we have a poor tradition of using them in cabinet making.