Work Smoother infill Build begins - need advice!
As we're presently in the process of trying to sell our house, I figured it couldn't really start a full-fledged piece of furniture as a next project. So, I decided to pull out the casting from Sturnella and begin work in earnest on this plane. To be honest, I was hoping someone else would post an excellent start-to-finish build-along before me so I'd have something to go on because I have zero experience making planes and only very minimal experience making tools (and certainly nothing as exacting as this!). So, when this turns out a wreck, at least we'll know why!

Anyway, I wanted to begin by preparing the casting. James was nice enough to mill the mouth a bit on the blade side, but he didn't or couldn't go all the way to the sides, so there's some file work to be done in both corners.

I don't have an special files for plane-making, but I knew I needed something thin enough to fit in the mouth, and ideally with a safe edge. Turns out an auger bit file works great as long as you don't have much material to use as was the case here. Still, it took some time, which was probably good to prevent me from overdoing it. Once I had it filed even all the way across, I found that the mouth still needed to be opened up along it's length to accommodate the hock blade. Not a big deal - just a little more file work, which was made easier to be sure by having a safe edge.

I then attempted to remove some of the small jagged irregularities from the pour of the casting - mostly just little guys the size of a large speck of sand, but too big across their base to just sheer off with some blunt force. I didn't have any files that had cutting action all the way out to the edge, so I ground the end of one on my grinder at about 85 degrees and with a slight convexity to allow focused efforts at scraping. This pretty much did the trick and I went about taking down the very high spots on the inside of the casting. The side walls are the easiest to do because you can come in with a small and rigid 120 sanding block after the initial scraping. I didn't get crazy with it, just enough to that the infills could slide in an maintain consistent contact with the sides vs. getting bound up on little rough or high areas.

Then I started thinking about design. I want this to have the general look of this Sauer and Steiner plane:

Which means overstuffed. As it comes out of the form, the casting has a roughish rounded edge all the way around. If I were to overstuff it now, there would be unsightly gaps all around where the infill met the bronze on the side. So, more filing:

Fortunately, I was able to use the high quality of the pour to my advantage. Since it was nice and parallel to the sole, I could file both sides at once in a cross-ways motion to ensure that I was approaching a flat that would also be square to the side. Then I did the rest:

I looked around for suitable infill material and found some mystery exotic that I'd bought at an estate sale a couple of year ago. I think it's rosewood, but really I have no idea. It is very heavy I will tell you that!

I also found some curly probably maple that would also work, but I think I'll probably go with the mystery wood.

Now on to the big questions. What bed angle to shoot for? The angle machined into the bed is about 47.5 degrees. I'm all set with smoothers at 45 and 55 degrees. So should I go even higher? This template was drawn up for 58.5 but perhaps I should go for 60? Or maybe I should calm down and go for 50 (an intermediate angle I don't have)?

Also, do we think there's enough room down there for shavings to be pulled out? How do people feel about the prospective position of the pins for the lever cap? Do I need to worry about leaving more meat around (and especially above) it?

I appreciate everyone's thoughts - especially those of you who have and use infills or especially those who have built them!

Great post, I can't offer answers to the questions but I'll be paying close attention to your thread. Imho it seems you should lean towards a higher angle since this will probably be a specialized smoother for difficult woods but I see your point about throat clearance as you increase pitch. I'm also curious about having a different pitch than the angle he machined at the rear edge of the throat.
My ... That mystery wood is a big bite for that little old brass container....

Your mystery exotic looks a lot like what our local Woodcraft is selling as "Lignum". From what I can tell--it is being sold as 4-quarter lumber--it moves a lot. The cut wood (surfaced) has twisted, post processing.

You might want to cut what you intend to use, then keep an eye on it while you do other things.

OTT, I am in thrash-and-learn mode, too.
Souperchicken said:

I'm also curious about having a different pitch than the angle he machined at the rear edge of the throat.

This part I don't think matters. I could certainly be wrong, but the Hock iron is quite thick and the bevel is therefore substantial. Because the blade on a bevel down plane cannot be supported in lower than the point at which the bevel begins, the situation in this area should have nothing to do with the bedding of the plane. If it happens to match, that might look nice when the blade it out, but it shouldn't effect performance I don't think. I'll have to take a closer look and ideal get some measurements on it all, but I really don't think the blade will be bedded on anything except the infill.

More questions in the mean time for anyone who might know the answers:

What to use for the lever cap pivot? Some kind of steel? Would I drill the lever cap to tap for a machine screw and then use a screw? Assuming this is the case, would I need to order these two screws from McMaster Carr or Fastenal or something?

If anyone has answers, I'd love to hear 'em!

You don't need a parachute to go skydiving unless you want to do it more than once. . .
DallasStarter said:
What to use for the lever cap pivot? Some kind of steel? ....

I was just debating that question last night and was looking at rod at Jamestown Distributors. Steel rod? Bronze rod? Stainless? Some type of bolt? 3/16, 1/4, 5/16? Dunno yet, but watching with interest.

What to use for the lever cap pivot?
I use O1 drill rod because it is very consistent, O1 because I also use it for other things (Enco, MSC, etc carry it). The rod you get at the hardware store (which I've also used) kinda sorta maybe measures what it is marked at.
I like 3/16" or 1/4".
I've used brass welding rod and that worked (but it was on some smaller planes).
If you want to be able remove the cap (a good thing IMO), I used some kind of SS domed cheese head screw (I think #10) screwed into each side the cap (slide cap into place, insert screw through side and tighten. The head of the screw rides against the sides of the body).

What bed angle to shoot for?
I like 50-55° for smoothers on native NA woods (I have 45 - 60 at about 3° increments). My feeling is, with a single iron, you want at least 50° (lower and a chip breaker seems to really help). I'd also suggest a mouth opening of 0.006 - 0.009" for good all around performance.

Also, do we think there's enough room down there for shavings to be pulled out?
It looks tight to me but it also isn't a big deal - turn the plane over and smack it with your hand and the shaving fall out. I'll also poke a small screw driver down there if something is stuck. I usually put a curve on the back of the bun (after it enters the body) to give a bit more finger room but that is an style call.
Craig D Does sawing logs count as woodwork? My blog

As to your infill question. As I consider fitting the infill, it occurs to me that we need to consider wood movement. For example, would a very tight (precise) fitting infill be a problem with wood expansion possibly cracking the casting. With that in mind, I was considering a less precise infill fitting with some semi-flexible glue or filling (like epoxy or liquid nails) to allow for wood movement. The filling is not the point but the concern for wood movement and cracking. I’m sure the originators of this type of plane did not have flexible glues. Would a looser fit be better? Or, possibly, shaping the infill in a way to allow for movement and still fit snugly?

As to the lever cap pivot. We have used 3/16 brass rod, full cross width, bent slightly to stay in position in the lever cap. We have also threaded the lever cap and used “shoulder” screws to ride in matching holes in the brass casting. Both seem to work equally well and both allow for removal of the lever cap for repair, refitting or adjustment.

Thanks for starting this post.
The begin looks good...
The enterprise is ambitious though. An overstuffed infill plane is tricky to make. Your's is even more difficult since the plane body is closed at the front and at the rear and because that all isn't difficult enough, the body is coffin shaped additionally. I don't think that more hurdles are possible.

If I had to attack this task, I'd go with a fake out of cheap wood just to find out, where the main issues will be. It might be a good idea to make precise patterns of the bottom area of the body and of the sidelines as well.

I'm really curious about the progress, it will be more than interesting to follow this thread.

Good Luck
That scares me a little Klaus as I had planned a similar plan. Watching intently.

Ya - Klaus, you just frightened a bunch of us infill neophytes. The link that Derek provided here provides a bit of help, but unfortunately omits the very part of concern, fitting the infill, due to a technical snafu. He does, however, mention the use of templates which was a very worthwhile tip.


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