Ramping Up for New Action, 2

The follow up from yesterday’s (er, this morning’s) post. I’ve received emails from people over the past 10 hours wondering about a few points in the sequence that I showed in the previous post depicting the steps to cut a dai to receive a plane blade. Frankly, I wasn’t really thinking too much about trying to document every step in the process, and occasionally I simply forget about the camera for a while. So, my apologies if there were a few gaps in the sequence.

At the end of yesterday’s post, I had the blade fitted to the dai, nestled in there at a 60˚ angle, sans chip-breaker:

The next steps were to condition the sole of the plane. No pictures, but if readers are interested in a detailed post on how to do that, I’d be happy to oblige at some point in the near future.

Anyway, with the sole conditioned, and the blade sharp, I tried taking a few swipes on some curly bubinga. The result:

No doubt about it, a 60˚ bedding angle means no tear-out in this otherwise recalcitrant material. I could plane in pretty much whatever direction I wanted with no tear out.

Another view:

I then tried to capture a low angle view in flat light to give an idea of the surface quality, but once again my photography skills were not up to the task. I snapped picture after picture and the results were all kinda lame. But what the heck, here’s a picture anyhow:

The surface, given the Type 2 shavings produced, is not quite as glassy as can be achieved in some more cooperative plane-friendly woods, but it was nice to have no tear-out and the surface was better, I felt than what I would have produced with a card scraper.

I then grabbed a piece of Canarywood, the material I made that Mazerolle sawhorse from a few months back. I had problems with tear-out at the time. The piece I grabbed had nice straight grain with a slight slope, and seemed about as ideal as possible for regular old planing. So I grabbed my Ichihiro finishing plane, bedded at 37.5˚ or so, and took a pass down one face – it planed perfectly! what could be easier? Then I flipped it over 180˚ and took a pass down the opposite side face, and it tore out – that’s Canarywood for you. It’s very unpredicatable.

So, I grabbed the new 60˚ plane and cleaned up the tear-out with no issues:

Then I decided to set up a planing beam. I grabbed a chunk of 8/4 Canarywood, and ran it over the jointer and then planed it, finishing out close to 1.8″. I set up one end on a window-sill, and then needed to make a stand for the other end. I found a piece of 8″ x 8″ pine out in the yard, then cleaned it up, jointed it, and then cut the end square. A few swipes with the plane to dress it more tidily:

And it was ready:

Not a perfect surface, but as it rested on the oily floor, I wasn’t too bothered.

It was nice to run the plane over some pine after all these pit viper woods the past while, let me tell you!

Here’s where I am marking the top of the chunk of pine for the slope of the planing beam:

Time for a little Sawing for Teens:

And that is where I forgot to take more pictures, however I’ll be sure to throw in a picture in the next post or so showing the planing beam set up. It works well and the Canarywood is pretty rigid and flat. Nice looking wood too!

Thanks for your visit today!

10 Replies to “Ramping Up for New Action, 2”

  1. Dale,

    it's a little harder to pull for sure. I haven't enough time with it yet to give a thorough-going review. we'll see how it goes. i suspect a 54 mm would be a more ideal width.

    One of the woodworkers upstairs in the building lent me his new Lie Neilsen scraper plane, so I'm playing around with that at the same time as this new 60˚ plane, and the LN appears to work well too. One way or another, a lot of planing and scraping lies ahead with this bubinga!


  2. Hi Chris,

    Impressive results! Do you know if historically Japanese planes (not counting scraper planes) were made with angles this high? Clearly you can make a dai with whatever bed angle you want, but I have never seen one with a 60º bed angle, and even Japanese planes with a bed angle much above 40º seem to be pretty rare.

  3. Hi Wilbur,

    sure, historically Japanese planes were made with high angles if the material necessitated it. Any cabinetmaker, for instance, who worked much in S.E. Asian exotics, what the Japanese call kara-ki, 唐木, lit. “Chinese wood”, would have employed, and still employ, a lot of files, scrapers and high angle planes.

    For example, take a look at the video on u-tube showing one such shashimono-shi working with a difficult dense kara-ki, and at 7:57 in the video you will see a glimpse of one such high angle plane:

    That plane appears to have a bedding angle around 70˚!

    Since working with such difficult exotic wood species is a somewhat minor slice of the woodworking picture in Japan, what we've been exposed to for the most part over in the west have been daiku working softwoods with the typical 35˚~40˚ bedded planes. And those are the typical tools that have been sold over here as well.

    As an example at the opposite end of the plane set-up spectrum, those sashimono-shi who work kiri (Paulownia tomentosa) a lot use planes bedded around 22˚~24˚, and due to the perversely abrasive nature of the otherwise soft material, have to sharpen a great deal.


  4. Great Blog Chris! What angle did you use for the opening opposite the bedding surface? Is there a relationship with what angle the blade is set at? I am making a 45 degree dai with air dried white ash which has been difficult to cut due to the combination of hardness and elasticity of the wood. This may also be a good species to cut a dai from.

  5. Steve,

    the opening opposite the blade, at least the upper section of it, is not a particularly important part of the plane set up as the shaving is not produced in contact with that part of the dai. Generally, the angle of that slope is a mirror image of the angle of the blade. Around 45˚ is fine otherwise.

    Give the ash a try and let me know how it works out.


  6. Hi Chris,

    Super-informative posts on setting up a plane body! I wonder, has anyone you know of tried back-beveling the blade to achieve the same hi angle effect?

    Thanks, Aaron

  7. Aaron,

    sorry for the delay in getting to your comment. The problem with back beveling the blade, as I see it, is the added bevel complicates the sharpening process. I will be using that blade in two different dai, so I don't want to reconfigure it.

    Glad you enjoyed the posts!


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