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Thread: Rehabbing Woodies

  1. #1

    Rehabbing Woodies



    In previous articles, I described rehabbing older Bailey-pattern planes acquired from Ebay to replace all the family’s ancient wood planes…the ones I’m getting tired of inlaying mouths in every decade or so as they wear. I’ll rehab these oldies one more time and pass them on to my oldest boy who’s interested in luthier work…he’ll be the 5th generation of craftsman for some of these.



    From left to right is a Stanley transitional jack, a Stanley 36 razee smoother, and an old Ohio Tool coffin smoother. The jack and the coffin smoother have new soles, and I’ll do the Stanley 36 today. Wood planes are a joy to use….they have a warm feel to them and for a boatbuilder or shipwright working overhead, are lighter and handier than cast iron planes. They wear faster, but are much easier to tune. As the sole wears unevenly from planing edges and odd shapes, a simple pass through or over a fine-set hand or power jointer flattens them back into true. Do that three or four times over the course of a decade, however, and the mouth widens to the point where fine shavings are no longer possible. If you look at the Stanley 36, you can see the mouth is a bit wider than the one on your favorite cast-iron smoother.

    The front of the plane wears the fastest, and repeated jointings on a plane used for coarse work makes them wedge-shaped, eventually. I could inlay a patch or throat piece into the front section of the mouth, but that does nothing to correct the wedge shape, the mortises are time-consuming to cut, and a throat piece doesn’t support the critical area at the front edge of the mouth as does the original sole and throat. So instead, I prefer to attach new soles and recut the throat to the original specifications or even a bit narrower in the mouth, depending on how I intend to use the plane.

    Any straight-grained hardwood will do…these original plane bodies are beech, and I’m using hard Bigleaf Maple for the new soles today. I also use holly and Madrone, more hard local woods. How thick should the new sole be? Thicker than the furthest downward the iron can be adjusted. Because I’m using the power jointer for this, I mill the new sole stock almost twice as thick as needed. For the Stanley 36 in relatively good condition, no taper is needed to correct wedge-shaped wear, so I plane my sole stock flat.



    I power joint the beech plane body to expose fresh wood uncontaminated by oil and wax, and glue the sole stock on with 5:1 West System epoxy dyed brown. Get the free Gougeon Brother’s epoxy pamphlet from West Marine and follow the instructions…including the use of a high-strength thickener. A good boatbuilder’s epoxy is moisture proof, is almost twice as strong and flexible as other glues and is the best choice. Clamping isn’t required….I merely place the glued assembly on a wax-papered flat surface and set a cast-iron plane atop for weight over night.



    Then I simply trim the oversize sole flush using card scrapers. Notice I also filled the worn corners on the plane body with thickened epoxy to make a smooth surface that won’t catch on something during use.



    I clamp the plane to a flat, smooth surface and recut the throat from the throat side of the plane. The rear of the throat is a 45-degree angle and the front bevel of the throat needed to clear shavings is about 20 degrees in the opposite direction. I merely index the chisels against the plane body and tap and pare.



    I continue to remove wedge-shaped waste until the back of the throat and the front of the throat meet…



    …in a nice, clean “V” at the bottom of my over-thick sole stock.



    Then cutting the mouth is simply a matter of jointing the new sole-plane body on a sharp, well-tuned jointer set to remove a 64th or so until the mouth appears and develops into the width desired.
    “Perhaps then, you will say, ‘But where can one have a boat like that built today?’ And I will tell you that there are still some honest men who can sharpen a saw, plane, or adze...men (who) live and work in out of the way places, but that is lucky, for they can acquire materials for one third of city prices. Best, some of these gentlemen’s boatshops are in places where nothing but the occasional honk of a wild goose will distract them from their work.” -- L Francis Herreshoff

  2. #2


    The mouth and throat are cleaned with fine mill files…



    …and the plane assembled. Insure the frog is aligned accurately with the throat in the plane body using a straight edge…



    …and make that cap lever screw is tight…a source of chatter as the blade dulls in use. To adjust the blade, I merely set the plane on a flat board and adjust the iron to drop until it barely touches the board…then I lock everything in and lightly tap my final set with a brass hammer just like I do any other wood plane. Just don’t exceed the limits of the adjuster’s slop and you’ll not damage the plane.



    Then I tweak the adjustments while planing a flat piece of hardwood like this figured Bigleaf Maple until I consistently get fine shavings that are near the full width of the blade. That’s about as good as it gets. Now I can dismantle the plane if I desire and finish the wood with stain, oil and wax.

    Sharpening the blade and tuning the cap iron are covered in my articles on rehabbing cast iron planes:

    http://www.cianperez.com/Wood/WoodDo...bingPlanes.htm

    http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultim...c;f=1;t=009153

    http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultim...c;f=1;t=008638

    PS…want to also hide all that ugly glueline so nobody will know you’ve been there? Read this:

    http://media5.hypernet.com/cgi-bin/U...=1&t=009010&p=
    “Perhaps then, you will say, ‘But where can one have a boat like that built today?’ And I will tell you that there are still some honest men who can sharpen a saw, plane, or adze...men (who) live and work in out of the way places, but that is lucky, for they can acquire materials for one third of city prices. Best, some of these gentlemen’s boatshops are in places where nothing but the occasional honk of a wild goose will distract them from their work.” -- L Francis Herreshoff

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Just outside of Spring Green, Wisconsin
    Posts
    9,442
    Hey Bob, that *almost* wants me want to go to the Neander side. Hey, I said *almost*! Besides lacking the skills, a couple small physical limitations preclude that arena for me as a mainstay. Still, looks as though it would have its own flavor of fun and you've presented a very well-done tutorial! Don't think I'll look at another wood plane quite the same way again!
    Cheers,
    John K. Miliunas

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by John Miliunas
    Hey Bob, that *almost* wants me want to go to the Neander side. Hey, I said *almost*! Besides lacking the skills, a couple small physical limitations preclude that arena for me as a mainstay.
    I'm a joiner with 4+ decades experience, not a "Neanderthal"....I use the tools that make the most sense for the task...and think a lotta this Neander stuff...and labels in general....are silly and counterproductive.

    Just like I use a Lucas 26' sawmill instead of a pit saw, I make good use of the power jointer and thickness planer and tablesaw. But I generally fit and finish my joints with hand tools. And having grown up in a traditional 1950's oak and cedar commercial boatyard, I can do it all from scratch if I have to.

    The converse is also true. Much as I love Norm...hand him an adze, slick and razee to cut that stem miter in place on a piece way too big to move to a machine....or a drawknife and spiling block to cut a changing bevel...and he would be likely a lost puppy.

    I'm trying to strike some balance....the bottom line is the workpiece, not how you got there. After working overseas for a decade+ and coming home to (new for me) forums a couple years ago I'm truly shocked by the antique tool collectors on one side of the aisle...who wax long and loud about their tools and how to use them (complete with a whole new set of misinformation) but rarely show any work...and the power tool and gizmo junkies on the other side of the aisle raving over their drywall-screw "joinery"....both sides fueled by the tool companies and their magazine and TV shills....rampant and shameful consumerism spoiling what used to be a pleasant, inexpensive hobby done with a few saws, planes, marking and measuring tools and brace and bits.

    I ain't ranting at you...just trying to explain that you are not being well served by older, experienced guys like me...some of whom should be ashamed of themselves. Look at my articles showing how simple these "legendary" skills are....certainly you have the skills...and you don't need a pile of fancy new tools of any flavor. Learn the skills it takes to rehab older, high-quality tools and do traditional joinery building your benches and shop and you'll be doing first-rate furniture work in no time. Disabilities? That's what machines are good at....get good with both and you'll need very few strokes with shoulder and smoother planes to make the piece traditionally. Just like I can teach any 10-year-old out there to sharpen handsaws just as well as the big names I hear touted (and smile at...because it's such a dead simple skill), I can teach you to handcut dovetails and drawbore mortises in a couple hours. It's really simple stuff once you learn which side of the line to cut on and how to cut square...you just aren't getting the right guidance...

    ...and that's my generation's fault.
    “Perhaps then, you will say, ‘But where can one have a boat like that built today?’ And I will tell you that there are still some honest men who can sharpen a saw, plane, or adze...men (who) live and work in out of the way places, but that is lucky, for they can acquire materials for one third of city prices. Best, some of these gentlemen’s boatshops are in places where nothing but the occasional honk of a wild goose will distract them from their work.” -- L Francis Herreshoff

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Simmesport, LA
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Smalser
    I can teach you to handcut dovetails and drawbore mortises in a couple hours. It's really simple stuff once you learn which side of the line to cut on and how to cut square...you just aren't getting the right guidance...

    ...and that's my generation's fault.
    Drawbore mortises - now that's a tutorial that I would love to see in the near future, Bob, if you are taking requests. I just don't know much about that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA.
    Posts
    491

    Thumbs up

    Bob, this has got to be one of the finest, informative articles I have read concerning woodworking in months. Thank you for including the pictures. Now I will go on to read, study and put to use your other articles. I know you are a gifted woodworker, I feel you are gifted with a great teaching ability to. I am not new to woodworking, but thanks to guys like you I learn each day

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Davy Barr
    Drawbore mortises - now that's a tutorial that I would love to see in the near future, Bob...
    Next time I cut one....in the meantime:


    Drawbore M/T

    By all means pin your tenons...especially on a bed that'll get bounced on....those cross grain glue joints will eventually fail in a generation of so and a good drawbore M/T will allow that piece continued use to your grandchildren or great grandchildren without damage.

    The "modern glues" logic applies well to short-lived kitchen cabinets but not heirlooms....all cross grain glue joints will eventually fail....flexible epoxied joints may not, but just try to repair them one day without total destruction of the joint. Less-flexible PVA's and polys certainly will fail eventually in a cross grain application.

    Drawbore the tenons.

    Dry assemble the joint....drill through the cheek until the drill bit just puts a mark on the tenon....disassemble....drill thru the tenon a 32nd-16th or so inboard of the mark toward the tenon shoulder....then drill thru the other mortise cheek without the tenon installed.

    Use a speed square to line up your drill instead of the drill press. How far into the joint do you drill? Depends on the size of the tenon and the thickness of the mortise cheeks that'll take the pressure of the drawbore. Try one first on similar-sized scraps if you are unsure. 2" thick maple legs like on my hunt table below allow the pinhole to be as close as 3/16" from the tenon shoulder. When in doubt, give yourself a quarter inch or more...it isn’t critical if you can drill a plumb hole.

    Then point some dowels...glue and assemble the joint...use glue as lube for your pointed dowel and drive it through. Use small size dowels, allowing room for a descendant to make a repair one day using a dowel of slightly larger size.

    Simple, fast, and pulls the joint up so tight you may not even need to clamp it.

    Disassembly for repair one day? Steam the dickens out of the joint and drive the pin through with steel punches. Use a matching size punch to break the hot dowel free, then switch to a smaller punch to drive it through the offset drawbore holes.

    Few joints are stronger....note the untrimmed pointed dowels on the inside of the legs about a quarter inch inboard of the tenon shoulder....each leg-rail joint has two drawbored M/T:



    You can also see the drawbore pins in this maple pedestal buffer stand that have withstood almost 3 decades of serious vibration successfully with casein resin glue.






    Originally posted by....:
    Thanks for the advice and vote of confidence. Good example given!

    One other concern I have is having the pins break, crack, splinter, or mushroom while hammering them into the drawnbore tenon. Any tricks I can use; especially if I go with a small diameter pin (1/4" or 3.8" dowel)?
    Don't use anything larger than a quarter inch in your dowels or a 16th in your offset and the pointed dowels lubed with your glue will drive in without splintering. Let them soak in the glue for a while to soften them if you are concerned about it. If one breaks, then drive it back out before the glue cures as I describe above.

    I allow a 3-4 inch pin for a 2" joint to allow for pointing and any mushrooming...simply cut it flush when cured.

    Also notice in my hunt table pic...I left those dowels untrimmed on the inside for a reason...so there's no doubt in the restorer's mind how the joint was made and they can be broken free easily one day for a repair.

    Simple but practically bulletproof joints.



    Originally posted by....:
    Ok, so I am also in the middle of a bed project. I have read and learned lots in this post about pinning tenons. Very informative, what I also want to ask is it ok to just put in a screw and the plug it? Will this do the same thing?
    I wouldn't bother with screws:

    1) They can't cleanly serve the function of drawing the joint tight....the main reason for pins in hard-used furniture, IMO.

    2) A bunged one may confuse a restorer some day and the joint will be wrecked trying to dismantle it.

    3) They make my teeth itch

    I like drawbores even better than sliding dovetails in bed joints because when 2-4 children vault over the footboard, hopping on to bounce, every joint works in conjunction with the rest to resist the racking stresses.

    Picture how the joints break down from that over time....one glue joint fails and the racking stress becomes proportionally more severe on the other joints...which fail in turn. If the failures go unnoticed or ignored for a few years, the bed may be used until it literally falls apart, by which time there may be such major damage to the joints that it will be discarded rather than restored.

    Most of what my traditional joinery originally designed for weaker glues does is better the odds that a restorer will save the piece one day after decades of abuse....both because the joints will stand the stress without glue and that they are of such quality that the piece will be worthy of saving in the first place.
    Last edited by Bob Smalser; 04-04-2004 at 11:12 AM.
    “Perhaps then, you will say, ‘But where can one have a boat like that built today?’ And I will tell you that there are still some honest men who can sharpen a saw, plane, or adze...men (who) live and work in out of the way places, but that is lucky, for they can acquire materials for one third of city prices. Best, some of these gentlemen’s boatshops are in places where nothing but the occasional honk of a wild goose will distract them from their work.” -- L Francis Herreshoff

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    SW of Madison, WI
    Posts
    437
    bob,
    That was so well said, especially the "gizmo junkies".
    Dan

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Smalser View Post
    I'm a joiner with 4+ decades experience, not a "Neanderthal"....I use the tools that make the most sense for the task...and think a lotta this Neander stuff...and labels in general....are silly and counterproductive.

    Just like I use a Lucas 26' sawmill instead of a pit saw, I make good use of the power jointer and thickness planer and tablesaw. But I generally fit and finish my joints with hand tools. And having grown up in a traditional 1950's oak and cedar commercial boatyard, I can do it all from scratch if I have to.

    The converse is also true. Much as I love Norm...hand him an adze, slick and razee to cut that stem miter in place on a piece way too big to move to a machine....or a drawknife and spiling block to cut a changing bevel...and he would be likely a lost puppy.

    I'm trying to strike some balance....the bottom line is the workpiece, not how you got there. After working overseas for a decade+ and coming home to (new for me) forums a couple years ago I'm truly shocked by the antique tool collectors on one side of the aisle...who wax long and loud about their tools and how to use them (complete with a whole new set of misinformation) but rarely show any work...and the power tool and gizmo junkies on the other side of the aisle raving over their drywall-screw "joinery"....both sides fueled by the tool companies and their magazine and TV shills....rampant and shameful consumerism spoiling what used to be a pleasant, inexpensive hobby done with a few saws, planes, marking and measuring tools and brace and bits.

    I ain't ranting at you...just trying to explain that you are not being well served by older, experienced guys like me...some of whom should be ashamed of themselves. Look at my articles showing how simple these "legendary" skills are....certainly you have the skills...and you don't need a pile of fancy new tools of any flavor. Learn the skills it takes to rehab older, high-quality tools and do traditional joinery building your benches and shop and you'll be doing first-rate furniture work in no time. Disabilities? That's what machines are good at....get good with both and you'll need very few strokes with shoulder and smoother planes to make the piece traditionally. Just like I can teach any 10-year-old out there to sharpen handsaws just as well as the big names I hear touted (and smile at...because it's such a dead simple skill), I can teach you to handcut dovetails and drawbore mortises in a couple hours. It's really simple stuff once you learn which side of the line to cut on and how to cut square...you just aren't getting the right guidance...

    ...and that's my generation's fault.
    Sharpening skills, the plane truth.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Central Vermont
    Posts
    1,081

    Thumbs up

    With Articles like this who needs books

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Spring, Texas
    Posts
    578
    Bob,

    I don't think you know how much your input, and others that are also freely sharing, is appreciated by those of us trying to develop our skills. Like you, I think we all have a responsiblity to pass our knowledge to upcoming generations. So far though, I haven't found anyone that really wants to learn. I've had a few say they do, but they never take me up on my invitations. I really wish my kids would get interested. It seems that if there's not instant money for the work, they're just not willing to make any effort. Even when they see some fine pieces sell for good money, they know it would take time to develop that type of skill, and they turn away.

    Woodworking is something I've been doing, at least in some form or another, for over 30 years. I'm just now getting to the point of being able to spend the time to do some good work, and find it as enjoyable as I ever have. I hate to see so many younger folks missing out on such a great hobby/occupation.

    Thanks Again,

    Greg

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Smalser View Post

    Sharpening the blade and tuning the cap iron are covered in my articles on rehabbing cast iron planes:

    http://www.cianperez.com/Wood/WoodDo...bingPlanes.htm

    http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultim...c;f=1;t=009153

    http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultim...c;f=1;t=008638

    PS…want to also hide all that ugly glueline so nobody will know you’ve been there? Read this:

    http://media5.hypernet.com/cgi-bin/U...=1&t=009010&p=

    Hi Bob,
    I can't seem to get any of your links to connect.
    Have they been moved?
    Are they still current?
    Can you re-post them if they have disappeared.
    Your articles are worth reading and I'd like to read these.
    Regards
    MC

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Cash View Post
    Hi Bob,
    I can't seem to get any of your links to connect.
    WBF changed servers since that was published. Look up Woodenboat magazine's forum and my and other articles are kepr in the Building and Repair FAQ. All those articles are also in the Woodcentral articles section and right here at this website. Ellis Wallentine at WoodCentral generously provides me all the space I need and I use his site as a home page:

    http://www.woodcentral.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl#smalser



    Courtesy of Bob Smalser

    Woodworking Tool Articles

    Block Plane Selection and Rehabilitation
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...election+rehab

    Basic Sharpening
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=12747

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    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=7415

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    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=8351

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    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=8198

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    Boatbuilding and Woodworking Articles

    The Haunched and Drawbored Mortise and Tenon Part I
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=13246

    The Haunched and Drawbored Mortise and Tenon Part II
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=13260

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    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=20605

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    Last edited by Bob Smalser; 08-06-2007 at 9:19 AM.
    “Perhaps then, you will say, ‘But where can one have a boat like that built today?’ And I will tell you that there are still some honest men who can sharpen a saw, plane, or adze...men (who) live and work in out of the way places, but that is lucky, for they can acquire materials for one third of city prices. Best, some of these gentlemen’s boatshops are in places where nothing but the occasional honk of a wild goose will distract them from their work.” -- L Francis Herreshoff

  13. #13

    Corrected link for wood chisel survey

    There's a typo in Bob's list above, "Wood Chisel Survey For Beginners" goes to the sweep brace.

    Here's the correct link:
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?p=116272
    Steve, mostly hand tools. Click on my name above and click on "Visit Homepage" to see my woodworking blog.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Crawford View Post
    Bob,

    I don't think you know how much your input, and others that are also freely sharing, is appreciated by those of us trying to develop our skills. Like you, I think we all have a responsiblity to pass our knowledge to upcoming generations. So far though, I haven't found anyone that really wants to learn. I've had a few say they do, but they never take me up on my invitations. I really wish my kids would get interested. It seems that if there's not instant money for the work, they're just not willing to make any effort. Even when they see some fine pieces sell for good money, they know it would take time to develop that type of skill, and they turn away.

    Woodworking is something I've been doing, at least in some form or another, for over 30 years. I'm just now getting to the point of being able to spend the time to do some good work, and find it as enjoyable as I ever have. I hate to see so many younger folks missing out on such a great hobby/occupation.

    Thanks Again,

    Greg
    The quote above is from 2007, so I hope some things have changed. If they haven't, please be encouraged.
    I live in Wichita, Kansas, and have shared the same... disappointment that I cannot find any of the wiser woodworkers to teach me basic skills like you generous folks have laid out here. But in the last year or so, perhaps the economy has spurred a movement, I'm not certain, I've noticed more of my generation (28yrs old) turning to repairing and making their own furniture more, and calling a guy with a business less. We are seeking the skills that were so common only a decade or two ago, and simply won't be satisfied by big box stores excuses for shoddy equipment, and can't afford the good stuff for every tool.
    I've posted some similar encouragement elsewhere, and I'll leave it at this: Thank you all for taking the time to share on this forum. Thank you for being open to us younger people who have to develop the patience to hone a keen edge, our Nintendo didn't teach us patience.
    If you let us in your shop, I'm sorry if we break something. Don't be afraid to yell a little bit, but show me how to do it right the first time, and let me practice a lot. Someday, I'll watch a neighborhood kid do the same, and feel compelled to return the favor. Thank you.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Eureka Springs, AR
    Posts
    788
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Peterson View Post
    The quote above is from 2007, so I hope some things have changed. If they haven't, please be encouraged.
    I live in Wichita, Kansas, and have shared the same... disappointment that I cannot find any of the wiser woodworkers to teach me basic skills like you generous folks have laid out here. But in the last year or so, perhaps the economy has spurred a movement, I'm not certain, I've noticed more of my generation (28yrs old) turning to repairing and making their own furniture more, and calling a guy with a business less. We are seeking the skills that were so common only a decade or two ago, and simply won't be satisfied by big box stores excuses for shoddy equipment, and can't afford the good stuff for every tool.
    I've posted some similar encouragement elsewhere, and I'll leave it at this: Thank you all for taking the time to share on this forum. Thank you for being open to us younger people who have to develop the patience to hone a keen edge, our Nintendo didn't teach us patience.
    If you let us in your shop, I'm sorry if we break something. Don't be afraid to yell a little bit, but show me how to do it right the first time, and let me practice a lot. Someday, I'll watch a neighborhood kid do the same, and feel compelled to return the favor. Thank you.
    Michael, nothing new here, every generation has to start somewhere, and that somewhere seldom can afford high quality goods. Or, same old same old in general. However, how you deal with this certainly will distinguish your cohort.

    One thing about this message really bothers me, though, your next to last two sentences. You ask us to slough off, or just yell about, tool destruction, and that we should continue to show you how to do things. It shows no appreciation of how hard we had to work to buy those so casually dismissed tools, nor your willingness to pay to replace those tools you break.

    Jack

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