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Thread: Putting Boxing on/in Moulding Planes

  1. #1
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    Putting Boxing on/in Moulding Planes

    Question for people who have made moulding planes with boxing, and I know this doesn't leave a large group...

    .. what is the traditional grain orientation for the boxing in a moulding plane? "Straws" in the wood facing forward, or are they facing backward?

    For anyone not initiated, I know that the boxwood was cut askew (i.e., the grain doesn't flow with the cut or perpendicular), but I don't know that I'd trust any of my boxed planes (too modern) to know if they're correct or even if I'll be able to see the direction of the boxing (I don't have the planes handy right now).

    Also, woods to use - cocobolo OK? It's not like you can get large sheets of boxwood, and I think i read somewhere that boxwood dust comes with an NPG (cancer) warning, anyway. Any other alternatives, particularly if there's anything with interlocked grain that works well? I have macassar ebony and cocobolo on hand and dry. Both may be a bit splintery for boxing.

    Wife wants something that's going to require me to make a beading plane. I have a decent beader to copy, the bead is just too big on it. Be nice to make my own plane, anyway, and get away from trying to find tools for a decent price when I have a need.

    Where historical accuracy isn't important (which is the case here), anyone have any qualms about making a sole of the beading plane out of cocobolo glued to QS cherry, QS birch or QS maple? They all have different shrinkage rates, but all are dry. I don't have the tooling to set the bead deep like most planes do (no TS now, but that's not the kind of cut i'd like to make on a TS, anyway), and that would avoid the issue of how to make (the deep narrow dado for) the boxing. The cocobolo could also be set in to the base of the plane via a dado to keep it from moving laterally too much.
    Last edited by David Weaver; 12-06-2010 at 9:03 AM.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

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    I have made the grain in boxing vertical to the sole of the plane. These days,that means you will have to put the boxing in in several pieces. Boxing is usually narrow strips about 1/8" wide where there is a thin,pointed part(like the peak of the bead). I know there are exceptions. You aren't going to be using the plane extensively,like putting the beading on clapboards on your house,are you? I made beading planes that were used to do that in Williamsburg. Whole houses. But,I did put in boxwood boxing.

    I suppose lots of hard woods would do for boxing if they are installed vertically.
    I never tried it for wear. Brazilian rosewood doesn't wear well at all for closing the mouths in planes. Actually,white oak might wear better than cocobolo. I'd think that locust would be great. Maybe others will have suggestions for hard woods.

    I have said that boxwood is carcinogenic,but then so are many tropical woods(most likely). Certainly cocobolo is bad. I know of 1 guy who went blind for 2 weeks after turning it on a lathe.

    Ebony might wear well,but do put any boxing in with the grain vertical.
    Last edited by george wilson; 12-06-2010 at 9:40 AM.

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    I think I read the NPC (it looks like It's NPC and not NPG) remark on one of the lists that describes toxicity of different woods, but maybe it was from you?

    Cocobolo is listed as an extreme sensitizer (the worst I get from it is sneezing), but not for NPC. You never know, though, it could show up a couple of years from now as as a risk for NPC or other cancers, so I don't want to breathe more of it than I have to. I don't really enjoy the sneezing, anyway.

    Maybe the reason the boxing was cut on the skew had nothing to do with durability and everything to do with getting a piece long enough?

    It's hard to tell how much of the data is important for hobbyists, anyway, like just how toxic occasional exposure might be. Some of the pages say the data is based on a 1920-1960 data set, and the NPC incidence is only 40% higher than the general population. If that's the case, it's probably not that bad. I don't want to get over the top about anything like the hobbyists upstairs buying 1/2 micron dust measuring devices for several hundred dollars and then working in the shop 10 times a year.
    Last edited by David Weaver; 12-06-2010 at 9:42 AM.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

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    Read my post again. I edited it. No,I thing durability is the issue. Skew? Not sure what that means. I put the boxwood in vertical. Can you get any locust?

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    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    Read my post again. I edited it. No,I thing durability is the issue. Skew? Not sure what that means. I put the boxwood in vertical. Can you get any locust?
    I have a locust log in my garage about 15 inches long and 8 inches in diameter. The wife of a deceased turner gave it to me. I was hoping to never work with it, and am not sure why I kept it
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  6. #6
    I spoke with Matt Bickford, his boxed planes are done with persimon skewed at 45 degrees and trailing like this

    (Toe)\\\\\\\\Mouth\\\\\\\\\(Heel). Make sense?

    The only real advantage I can see here is that, in the 90 degree grain orientation you would need to either glue up endgrain slices or find really wide stock. With the skew you can use smaller stock without the need to glue up pieces, or have different pieces for the toe and heel sections.
    Last edited by Trevor Walsh; 12-06-2010 at 9:55 AM. Reason: added
    Trevor Walsh
    TWDesignShop

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    No clapboard, just the beaded panel in the back of some casework.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor Walsh View Post
    I spoke with Matt Bickford, his boxed planes are done with persimon skewed at 45 degrees and trailing like this (Toe)\\\\\\\\Mouth\\\\\\\\\(Heel). Make sense?
    Yeah, askew backwards. Persimmon is also what Larry williams said they use at C&W. Thanks.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

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    I had thought about persimmon. The old planes had their boxing vertical as far as I can recall,but I haven't made a study of it. Skewing the boxing might make it easier for the first corner to break off at an angle,though it does allow the use of smaller stock.

    I made only a few boxed planes as toolmaker,when special needs arose for them,like when the housewrights were building a hand built 2 story kitchen. A rather large structure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    Skewing the boxing might make it easier for the first corner to break off at an angle
    That's exactly the reason I asked, in case one end broke off more commonly than another if it was oriented the wrong way. Some of my older planes have the boxing snapped off at the back or front, but it was done so long ago and there is wear on it, that I can't tell what caused it. For all I know, they may have been dropped.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  11. #11
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    I actually have the grain orientation going in the opposite direction. If the grain were oriented in the fashion illustrated above, the point directly behind the mouth would probably chip off in the process of being made.

    This is representative of how I make them.

    heel\\\\\\mouth\\\\\\toe.

    I use persimmon.

  12. #12
    Ah, woops. Sorry Matt for misrepresenting your work. I thought they went the other way, but that does make much more sense with the mouth area. Thanks for the correction.
    Trevor Walsh
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    Here are two pictures. The first picture shows a repair that looks like it may be along the grain lines. It's nearly vertical. The second has the boxing partially removed. I drew pencil lines on the piece that are representative of the angle. It is oriented at approx. 50 degrees with the iron at 55.




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    I'm far from an expert, but I'd swear that Larry Williams states that the grain of the boxing is angled down into the cut on his plane making video. I'd have to double check, but it's at home. I think you lay out roughly 45 degree cuts across a wide, thin piece and apply them end-to-end to the wear areas of the plane sole.

    By down into the cut, I mean like Matt Bickford says in his post. Seems that this orientation would provide the hardest-wearing surface to the sole.

    ETA: Looks like I'm arguing with myself. Everyone seems to agree that it's either vertical or angled down toward the toe.
    Last edited by Jason Chestnut; 12-06-2010 at 1:30 PM. Reason: Oops.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bickford View Post
    Here are two pictures. The first picture shows a repair that looks like it may be along the grain lines. It's nearly vertical. The second has the boxing partially removed. I drew pencil lines on the piece that are representative of the angle. It is oriented at approx. 50 degrees with the iron at 55.



    Matt, thank you for dropping in and clearing that up. That would explain why I have more planes with it snapped off at the back.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

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