Adventure of the Low Angle Shoulder Plane #3: Finale

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Blog entry by Carl6108 posted 11-16-2018 04:21 AM 690 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Second Run Part 3 of Adventure of the Low Angle Shoulder Plane series Part 4: Addendum »

At this point I was thinking the only real way to solve this was to remove the wood infill from the blade side of the sole and replace it with an integrated sole and metal infill; call it a bastard frog, for want of a better term. My plan was to start with a piece of angle iron, since it had one good 90-degree angle (C-Channel might have been better, but I was using what I had on hand),

and build up a chunk of steel from the available flat stock I had on hand at the approximate 12 degree bed angle I wanted, braze it all together and then braze that (the bastard frog) onto a new sole piece. Welding would have been OK, but I don’t have a welder, having been mostly focused as I have been on woodworking until the last couple of years. But I do have an oxy-acetylene rig and occaisionally do a little brazing. I’m sure a real welder would probably snicker at what I call brazing, but hey, I’m completely self-taught. I’m actually kind of embarrased to even post a photo of it, it looks so horrid, but here it is.

Now, off to the milling machine to clean it up and get it to the correct dimensions. One advantage I thought brazing might have is that since I was dealing with much lower temperatures than would be required for welding, there might be less tendency to distort. I think that was probably true. At least, when I milled the bottom of the sole, which was flat before I started in with the torch, it was still pretty flat, so I didn’t have to take off much at all. With the bottom of the sole nicely flat, the bed angle could then be referenced from it.

Here’s the frog/sole mounted in the vise getting ready to mill the bed angle to a fairly precise 12 degrees.

I won’t describe the blow-by-blow. The short version is I milled the face angle, all the way out to the end of the sole, cleaned up the sides and mating surfaces so it would slip into the body as intended. I wasn’t too worried about how horrid my brazing looked as it was mostly going to be buried inside the body of the plane, hopefully never to be seen again.

The last bit of fitting on the frog/sole was to mill the edges to final width and cut the back end to length. So it’s maybe sort of like killing a fly with a sledge hammer: yeah, it gets the job done, but there’s not much finesse about it. Maybe if I’d actually had a solid chunk of steel to work with…

Since I had taken a few thousanths off the back part of the sole, now the front part, attached previously with epoxy, was a bit too thick and had to be corrected. I thought I might get away with mounting the plane body in the milling machine and milling the front part of the sole, if I took several very light passes. About three seconds into the first very light pass proved me wrong as the epoxy let me down yet again and the front part of the sole went flying across the shop. Clearly, once again, that was the wrong way. Fortunately I was standing away from the travel and there were no other pets or people present. Oh, well.

Now, with it free, once I found it I mounted just the front sole piece and milled it to the proper thickness easily. To reattach, I still thought epoxy should be OK, since that piece wasn’t going to have any particular stress placed on the glue bond. But I did drill some shallow holes and make some scratches in both faces to maybe provide a little better gripping surface. If worse comes to worse, I can always put a couple of screws through the sole into the wood and lap them down smooth.

Once the glue had cured, did a bit of preliminary shaping on the mouth prior to mounting the rear frog/sole permanently in place.

Finally everything is assembled and the wedge has been shaped. This time I can give the wedge a healthy whack and nothing breaks!

Nevertheless, I was seeing just a little bit of play at the front part of the sole that concerned me a bit. The gap is not really visible in this picture, but the arrow points to where it appeared. It might not have been enough to cause any problem, but I figured this would probably be the best time to correct it.

Looked like it needed one more pin to really hold it securely. The original design, based on a wood infill, was where I positioned the pins, and in that spot, there wasn’t going to be enough material to support a third pin, which is why I only had two along the bottom. But with more like an actual metal frog there, I could put another pin.

Once added, everything was quite snug.

And so, after a ridiculous amout of time and way more trouble than I bargained for, I at last have a completed, working shoulder plane. The mouth is still maybe a bit tight, but I figured it was better to err on the side of caution here and fine tune it as it proved necessary.

The Completed Shoulder Plane

  • 8-1/2”L
  • 1-1/4” blade width
  • Aluminum sides with brass pins
  • Steel sole and frog
  • White oak infill and wedge
  • Black walnut knobs.

-- C. A. Jones, Millington, TN

2 comments so far

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1925 posts in 2772 days

#1 posted 11-16-2018 01:37 PM

Wow! That is nice. That should serve you really well. Thanks for the interesting reads

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4137 days

#2 posted 11-20-2018 03:59 PM

Congrats on a job well done. A very useful plane. Goes to show that perseverance pays off. I do have a question though, and it is not based on any practical knowledge of metallurgy, but I couldn’t help wondering if you might eventually get any corrosion where the steel parts are in contact with the aluminum sides?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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