Friday, July 27, 2012

Dovetail Plane

Some time ago I purchased a German old plane set, all in good conditions, except one clearly lacking of some pieces. It had two holes on the upper side as well as two others on the lateral face. 

Someone added a self-made metal fence; a nicker for cutting cross grain and the angled sole indicated it as a dovetail plane

It remained for some time on the shelf, until I decided for its functional as well as aesthetic recovery. On the upper side was the mark "Paul Kuhn-Leipzig" on the heel the number "106".

So I wrote to Wolfgang Jordan, author of the excellent website 
here is possible to find a lot of info about European continental old woodworking tools.

Magically I received the info I needed: just a dovetail plane and unlike most dovetail planes it had an adjustable depth stop (very useful however). Wolfgang sent a picture from a 1911 catalog he has.
 Grathobel is the German translation of dovetail plane; the n° 106 (on the bottom left in the draft) is indicated as dovetail plane with double wooden fence and nicker.
More usefully, Wolfgang sent me some pics of another fully equipped n° 106  coming from a private collection.

Bingo! Now I had all info for restoring the plane.The business sole side showed a substantial wear and I replaced it with a Wild Olive wood insert, cut so that the end grain was exposed.

For the purpose I chamfered the sole edge and created a groove at table saw for the wood insert tongue and groove joint. 

Of course were very few chances to find the original plane hardware, so I had to adapt that I found. I used brass knobs for reproducing similar original nuts: I had to bore and  thread them. From window hardware scraps I created brass slotted plates for holding the bolt heads.
I utilized Ash wood for the fences; the sole fence defines the dovetail height, while the lateral fence acts as a depth stop and determines the width (see draws)

The final result satisfied me, from aesthetic point of view as well as the functional one.

The plane cuts without hesitation and with a clean result along the grain as well as across the grain.  A workhorse which immediately impressed me and, I am sure, will be one of my best tools.  Pics of the plane restored follow:

Here a shot of dovetail cut in a beech piece and a short video of the plane at work.