A No. 4 in snakewood
#11
  Re: (...)

I finished work just yesterday on this No. 4 in snakewood, without question the most challenging wood I ever laid tool on. The stuff is gorgeous - but it splinters, cracks, explodes, and otherwise gives you headaches once you start asking it to do what it doesn't want to do.

The tote you see is the second one I made for this plane. The first cracked wide open after I had shaped and fitted it to the body of the plane and was drilling the first of two holes sideways through plane body and infill to contain 1/8 inch steel rods which, when peened, would secure the tote to the body of the plane.

My bad. I used an ordinary drill bit with shallow spirals for removing waste and didn't back it out to clear the waste often enough. I heard the snakewood pop, and my heart sank.

I used a good brad-point bit this time around and, going slowly, got the job done.

Rest assured that given my experience with the first tote, I was cautious throughout in making the infill for this plane. I established the radii for the big curve on the front of the tote, as well as the radii for the hand hole and under what I call the crown of the tote, using Forstner bits on my mill.

I established the basic curves for everything else on my band saw, but after that it was all hand work. What joy it is to seek beauty in wood with simple hand tools!

The iron is A-2 tool steel, 1/4 inch thick, pitched at 45 degrees. The base of the body is 0-1 tool steel, the sides mild steel; they are pinned and dovetailed together.

There's a half-inch steel frog positioned far enough behind the mouth to enable me to bevel almost all the way through the base of the plane, the result being that the iron is bedded all the way from the top of the big radius in front of the tote almost down to the point where edge meets wood.

This baby, in other words, ain't gonna chatter - ever.

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#12
  Re: A No. 4 in snakewood by JuanVergara ([br]I finished work ...)
Wow, that is to good to get dusty.
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#13
  Re: A No. 4 in snakewood by JuanVergara ([br]I finished work ...)
I've got a big ole piece of snake wood in my basement.
Good to know it's hard to work with.
The tool turned out nicely though.
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#14
  Re: A No. 4 in snakewood by JuanVergara ([br]I finished work ...)
I'd say you're right. That iron ain't gonna chatter.
Snake wood is cool!
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#15
  Re: A No. 4 in snakewood by JuanVergara ([br]I finished work ...)
I really like it and the Tote is one I would love to use. Did you make everything from scratch?

I would like to know all the details of how it is made and where you got the template for the tote.

Arlin
It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

Hi, I'm Arlin's proud wife! His brain trma & meds-give memory probs and has pain from injuries, but all is well materially & financially.  
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#16
  Re: Re: A No. 4 in snakewood by Arlin Eastman (I really like it and...)
Arlin - Thanks for your note. I do make everything you see on my planes from scratch using a small mill, a lathe, and the usual woodworking tools - table saw, band saw, etc.

It takes me a week or so to do the basic metal work, a second week to do the woodwork, and two or three weeks after that to get a finish on the wood, fit tote and bun to the body of the plane, and last but not least lap the sole and tune and test the plane.

My goal is to produce a plane both useful and beautiful. I want it to cut a shaving of 0.001 inch or less, but I've taken shavings measuring considerably less - 23 microns on one occasion.

I have the basic lines of the steel body cut on a waterjet and finesse the dovetails and pins on my mill and with careful filing. I mill the steel frog behind the mouth to the proper pitch and secure it to the plane with quarter-inch mild steel rivets peened inside and out.

I shape the chamfers on the sides of the plane using a jig I made patterned after the jigs knife makers use to bevel their blades; in essence it's a swinging arm set at a specific height enabling me to use various files to bevel the upper edges of the sides of the planes. I think the sharp knife-edge lines where the chamfer from one section of the side meets the next add a fine detail to the look of the plane as a whole.

Once sides and base have been prepped, they go onto a peening buck of solid steel shaped so that the body fits snuggly down onto the buck. I peen and file, peen and file twice, sometimes three times, then smooth the sides out with more filing. I flatten sides and lap the sole on sandpaper attached to a heavy marble slab.

The totes and buns on my planes are of my own design. I don't know where the ideas for these shapes came to me, though I can tell you that the first planes I made were not that different; crude as those early efforts were, when I look at them now I can see the elements of the designs I still use.

Here again I establish the basic lines by machine - Forstner bits on my mill to create the radii for the big cyma curve leading from the tip of the crown down to the bed for the iron, Forstner bits for the radii top and bottom in the hand hole and under the crown.

After that it's all handwork with rasps, sandpaper, and whatnot. I lie awake at night seeing with the mind's eye what I know I will find in the wood come daylight. Sometimes, wholly unwilling to go back to sleep, I throw on yesterday's shirt and pants and head out to my shop to work - to seek in the wood what I know is there: what I have seen in the darkness of the night with the mind's eye: the marriage of substance and idea - a tote and bun to delight the eye.

Incidentally, I write in more detail about specific aspects of my work in a blog available on my website. Check it out at www.juanvergara.net.
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#17
  Re: A No. 4 in snakewood by JuanVergara ([br]I finished work ...)
I was privileged to see several of Juan's planes at a Lie-Nielson Handtool Event at Palomar College. I was even allowed to touch one. Quite concession as he was in the business of packing up when I stepped by.

Each of those planes were gorgeous - far more in person than in these pics. If you ever aspire to an infill - check him out. BTW, Juan is a consummate gentleman - one with whom you would enjoy doing business.
Thanks,  Curt
-----------------
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
      -- Soren Kierkegaard
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#18
  Re: A No. 4 in snakewood by JuanVergara ([br]I finished work ...)


Gorgeous work!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful lines!!!!

I agree that snakewood is tricky stuff to work with and it's unpredictable!! That's why I worry about how thin the tote is behind the iron...I have had snakewood crack for no apparent reason and it is as maddening as it is beautiful!!
"If you don't read newspapers you're uninformed...If you do read newspapers, you're misinformed.....Mark Twain

Jack Edgar, Sgt. USMC Korean War 51/52
Get off my lawn ! Upset





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#19
  Re: A No. 4 in snakewood by JuanVergara ([br]I finished work ...)
Beautiful work - thanks for the explanation and sharing the photo! Would love to take a few swipes with that baby!



Doug
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#20
  Re: A No. 4 in snakewood by JuanVergara ([br]I finished work ...)
Bump for a beautiful plane.

Arlin
It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

Hi, I'm Arlin's proud wife! His brain trma & meds-give memory probs and has pain from injuries, but all is well materially & financially.  
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