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plane irons

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  • plane irons

    Hello, I am an avid woodworker and toolmaker (in wood). I am interested in making my own specialty hand planer and molder irons and know probably just enough to get myself in trouble about hardening high carbon and A2 steel. Can any of you suggest any books or sites of reference on this subject? I am also wanting to start making many of my plane bodies and soles from steel and bronze but don't really know where to start looking for info on retooling, etc. Every response is appreciated. Completely new to metalworking. Thanks!

  • #2
    There have been numerous massive books written on the subject of heat treating steel. It can be incredibly involved. A good introduction though, might be the Argus Workshop Practice book, "Hardening and Tempering Engineer's Tools," if you can find it. It's a home-shop-scale overview of the basics.
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    • #3
      Yer,introuble now mate.You realise that you are goin gto build a whole new shop and fill it up with metal working stuff.

      So how many planes are you going to make?half a dozen for your self or are you going to build them to sell.

      if you are going to build the for your self only, and if I am correct in surmising that you want to build a steel soled brass sided plane with wooden in fill,and the "double" dovetail (for lack of a better descriptionor knowledge by myself of the correct terminology), i would suggest that you could go ahead and build a plane using simple hand tools as they were originly.
      dont go over board in making everything "flat" like some wood workers do, woods abrasive and will wear the solein a bit, and hey you put brass sides on,isnt that abit like a bimetalic strip?

      If you want to make lots - how much money do you have?\
      a vertical mill,a horizontal mill ,a cnc mill, lots of fixtures ,vices tooling ect ect 3 phase ect
      $$$$$$$$$$$$ and time

      re irons , make them thicker than normal, get aspecial stamp made,whackit in the blade and send it all out to get heat treated professionally.


      • #4

        Check out the woodworkers catalogs for plane kits. Try a few and see what you want/need and after gaining experience move on to building the complete unit to your own design. There are plenty of small tricks that have been determined over the years.



        • #5
          Originally posted by SGW
          There have been numerous massive books written on the subject of heat treating steel. It can be incredibly involved. A good introduction though, might be the Argus Workshop Practice book, "Hardening and Tempering Engineer's Tools,"
          Another good introductory text is the Tee Publishing "Hardening, Tempering and Heat Treatment" by Tubal Cain. Tee Publishing is a British Company, but you can order it through several UK sellers through Amazon for ~ $11:

          For a more technical book, the Carpenter "Tool Steel Simplified" book is fantastic. It hasn't been in print for years, but I picked up one of the last printings (1964) for a song on Alibre.
          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


          • #6
            Dunno if this is what you had in mind, but I usta make small "scratch-stock" or draw moulder irons by grinding the profile on broken bits of machine-hacksaw blade. Even had some success making moulding plane irons by gluing the hacksaw blade (using metal filled epoxy) to heavy, low carbon steel, and grinding the profile on the "sandwich". Even tried it on a spindle moulder. Did the job but it's not an experience I'd care to repeat. Western Australian hardwoods are HARD! The heavy steel stops any tendency to chatter. Just go easy when grinding. The epoxy bond doesn't take kindly to heat. May be a little difficult these days to get donkey-saw blades tho

            Rgds, Lin
            Just got my head together
            now my body's falling apart


            • #7
              I make the occasional specialty molding plane for small jobs. My blade is usually just an old file, carefully ground so as not to draw the temper. I use a very steep cutting angle, up to 90 degrees, because I'm usually wanting more of a scraping action, to avoid tear-out of figured hardwoods. With that steep an angle I don't needmuch of a clearance angle so I have to worry about chipping the cutting edge.

              Here's the full story on that little molder:


              Frank Ford