Toolmaking
September 1, 2007
Entry Details
 

# 600
Kyle Barrett
Barrie, ON
Dimensions (inches):  
  Width:   10.5"
  Height:   7"
  Depth:   8"
Materials:   Quartersawn European steamed beech
Ebony
Boxwood
A2 toolsteel
Mild steel
Brass
Threaded rod
Boiled linseed oil and Minwax paste wax
I am an 18 year old Grade 12 student who has always enjoyed working with my hands.  I love the sense of pride that I get from seeing my ideas take shape and that is what inspired me to make this tool.  This is my second plane.  The first was a beading plane.  I used it to shape the beads on the Ogee bracket feet for my final project in wood shop class - a solid black walnut Pennsylvania Tall Clock.

I had so much fun making the plane and the clock that I decided to look for a new challenge.  I had originally planned on making a Cooper's plane mounted on a stand, however, when I was flipping through my dad’s Lee Valley flyer from January, I saw an ad for a tool making contest hosted by Wood Central.  I had at the time recently been looking through one of my dad’s books that was specifically about plow planes and remembered one that had really caught my eye -  a Hermon Chapin bridal plow plane.  When I referred back to the page, the information on the plane made mention that the plane was very similar to the Mathieson bridal plows.  I looked up Mathieson bridal plow planes on the internet and found that it was made out of beech for the body and ebony for the arms.

Through more research I found the common dimensions and layout specs of both planes.   I also found out that the bridal plow was the first major breakthrough that allowed the fence to stay parallel to the body.  Then using the information from both plane maker designs, I came up with a plane similar to both styles by adding features that were most appealing to me.  A couple of examples would be the crisp chamfers on the Mathieson and the brass seating inlays on the fence from the Chapin.  I used boxwood instead of brass on the fence seating inlay and on the arm furls.  The boxwood boxing was not used on either of the planes that I researched, but I found that the dovetails and the subtle contrast against the beech added a stunning visual as well as functional detail to the plane because of the boxwood’s resistance to wear.
 
I made everything on this plane excluding the brass screws, the threaded rod and the borrowed blade.  The blade is a prototype currently being worked on by my dad and a friend.

I was fortunate enough to have full access to my dad’s shop at home and all of the tools in it.  These include a metal lathe and a small milling machine. This gave me the resources needed to roughly machine all of the brass and steel parts and then finish them by hand filing and sanding.

This project took me about 120 hours to complete, but I was extremely pleased when I finally got to use my plane for the first time and was able to experience firsthand what it must have felt like to use these amazing hand planes from two centuries ago.
 
This picture is one of my favourites because it shows the two aspects of this plane that were the most enjoyable and satisfying for me.  The two part skate assemblies and the handle.  The skate was my first attempt at peening.  I drilled a 3/16" hole into both the brass and steel simultaneously, then countersunk both sides of the hole to give the brass rod a place to spread out and seat in the metal.  I finished by filing and sanding.

The handle was roughed out by router using a router jig.  Then I used a specially bent rasp (that I badgered my dad into buying from Larry Williams of Clark&Williams) to shape the final profile.  Thanks Larry, the file works beautifully.
 
A front view which nicely displays the grain on the front arm.  The depth stop underneath the body is to control the depth of cut.  The depth stop lock seen on the skate side of the plane is to lock the depth stop in the desired place.  The shoe on the depth stop is attached to the main body of the part with machine screws that have been inserted into two drilled and tapped holes and then peened over and filed to give it a clean finish.
 
This is a close up of the fence and bridal assembly to show off the dovetailed boxing.
 

Judges Comments
CS : No photo does this tool justice. Perfect in the hand. Perfect in use. And it combines many many skills to produce. Plow planes are the king of tools. And this is first among equals.
Clarence : Top tool of the show. Workmanship is perfect, the design has been the standard of 100s of years and this baby cuts like a chainsaw but leaves the finish of a Norris.

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