A Pair of Small Infill Smoothers #2: Making Strides

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Blog entry by Ripthorn posted 03-08-2015 03:26 PM 2862 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Let the games begin! Part 2 of A Pair of Small Infill Smoothers series Part 3: That's a Wrap! »

My wife is out of town for the weekend and I have three little children. However, I took a half day Friday (so I could be around to get kids from school) which gave me some time during the youngest’s nap, as well as my normal after bedtime shop time. Plus, I was able to get a few hours Saturday as well. Couple that with lots of thinking about process refinements, and lots of progress has been made.

First, I cut side pieces to width and length. The belt sander gave roughly straight edges afterwards. I also got a couple of blades cut. I need these so that I can set the appropriate spacing between the toe and other sole piece. To cut the blades, I cut a 25 degree angle on a piece of 2×4 and put it in the band saw like so:

This was a little precarious, but it worked, ish. Here you can see that it did not cut square top to bottom, and I knew such would be the case with how it was set up:

A little bit of time with the belt sander gave me this:

I realized afterwards that I could have gotten it even more square using one of my little angle plates to keep it vertical instead of a cutoff piece of scrap, but oh well. I will use a honing guide and small square later anyway. I did use the angle plate on the toe of one of the planes. It turns out that the sides were too short for the hole spacing I had:

The toes are short, so my band saw needed a little help so that I could cut off about 1/8” from the length:

This allowed me to get the end rivet well inside of the side piece, like so:

As you can see, I used my drill press table to set this all up. I put the sole pieces on a .003” thick piece of shim stock so that the sides would project downward .003” past the sole to make lapping the sole easier. I used a clamp to keep the bedding infill such that I can put in the blade, position the toe, spring clamp the toe, remove the bedding infill, and superglue the side piece on. I did this for both planes. However, before gluing I used a countersink to very lightly countersink the holes in the sole pieces so that the pieces would make up well. Here you can see just how much I countersunk the holes:

Then, after the glue dried, I used a transfer punch to mark out for holes. Here is where the folly of through rivets on a wider plane come in. Many of the holes were not drilled perfectly straight and plumb due to things like drill bit deflection and the like. This meant that some holes were on an angle, but the transfer punch only marks the center of the hole on the side pieces. So the side pieces got drilled square instead of on the same angle as the hole in the sole. This makes alignment imperfect. So needless to say, if I do another one of these, it will be with peened screws and not through rivets.


After getting the holes drilled on all the side pieces, it was time to think of peening. First, a test fit:

I needed to use some 320 to clean up the mating surfaces prior to peening. This is to ensure as seamless of a joint as possible. I also reamed all of the holes and actually lightly countersunk each of them as well. A few of the holes did not line up well, so I had to use the dremel to enlarge a couple of holes. Just make sure to take your time peening. It is a painful experience to your forearm, so take frequent breaks. Also, make sure to work the rivet with a few hits in the center, then a few around the edges, and then back to the center. This will smoosh it out nicely. Don’t try to power through if your arm is tired, as this will only result in stray hammer hits that need to be sanded out later.

Shaping the toe and heel

After peening, we need to shape the curve on the heel and toe prior to putting in the infill. This makes life easy. Using the glorious 40 grit blue belt on the sander, it took me perhaps half an hour or so to get the curves all shaped.

After not much time, both planes looked like this:

Inserting Infills

I left the infills a little large on purpose. This lets me work them down to fit nicely. My sides and soles were not 100% square, but most were really close. So I used 100 grit to lap each infill down until it fit well. Good fresh paper made this about a 15 minute job. However, you still want to be careful. I cut some grooves in the wood to give the epoxy someplace to grab. I also put a concavity on the front infill to “help” with chip ejection (I say “help” because I have no idea if it actually works, but it also gives it a more elegant look).

When epoxying in the infills, I used a plane adjusting hammer and scraps to make sure infills were placed correctly. The infills were a good snug fit and a C clamp was used a couple times to get rid of gaps. Make sure you dry fit everything a couple times prior to glue up, as you get only one chance at this. Here is what they look like:

Once the epoxy is set, I used the band saw to cut off the waste near the curves on the heel and toe. I flipped each plane on its infill so that I could cut closely. Then I used the blue belt to sand it flush. That was followed by an 80 and 180 grit belts.

  • Final Shaping*

This is kind of an ongoing stage, but I marked the center line on each plane and started shaping the arc of the top of the plane. I originally thought I would have the arc peak at 3/16” higher than the sides, but this was too much of an arc. So I kept going by eye. I also sanded off (using the 40 grit belt) the rivets. This was followed by the 80 and 180 grit belts. After the 40 grit, my sander looked like this:

And the planes look like this:

I also made bronze lever cap screws that have blackwood epoxied to them and are drying. I used end grain on these because the end grain figuring of this stuff is really cool and wavy. I’ll try to get a good closeup after I am done with them. I also made the first of the lever cap retaining screws. Next up will be lever caps, lever cap retaining screws, and final fettling. We’re getting close, chaps!

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

9 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5508 days

#1 posted 03-08-2015 05:28 PM

COOL work…

COOL project…

COOL planes in process!

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Slyy's profile


2840 posts in 3111 days

#2 posted 03-08-2015 09:35 PM

Brian Thx for guinea pigging this a bit for the rest of us. Learning a lot here in your infill blogs!

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 4440 days

#3 posted 03-08-2015 10:00 PM

I am happy to do so. I have plans drawn up for several more. We’ll see what else I can manage.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View terryR's profile


7732 posts in 3764 days

#4 posted 03-08-2015 10:44 PM

They look great, Brian!
You are making it look easy…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Don W's profile

Don W

20382 posts in 4023 days

#5 posted 03-08-2015 11:00 PM

Well done

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Lucasd2002's profile


125 posts in 2808 days

#6 posted 03-12-2015 02:57 AM

Brian, if you were starting over now, would you (1) use plain rod in a shallower blind (i.e., non-through) hole or (2) peen some screws?

Do you think a shallower hole would have eliminated your alignment problem? Solid rod appeals to me because I don’t have a tap and die.

I remember you recommending flat-head to avoid the deeper pattern of the Philips head… what else would you look for the fastener? How about a solid countersunk rivet?

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2941 days

#7 posted 03-12-2015 04:38 AM

Pretty sweet

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 4440 days

#8 posted 03-12-2015 01:06 PM

Lucas, you can’t use a plain rod in a bind hole, because the end in the hole would have nothing to to grab to and would just slide right out. If I were to do this again, I would use screws. With a good countersink (I love my zero flute countersink), there is really close to no peening needed. Just enough to make sure that any voids due to chatter get filled.

All that being said, my alignment is not horribly off, but it will require some lapping, which I am not overly excited about. Also, alignment issues can be somewhat correct by either drilling holes out larger, reaming them some, or using a dremel to increase the size slightly. Giving more wiggle room allows for better alignment, but can make peening tough just because you then have to worry about using clamps or something to hold the alignment while peening, which is not a simple task, but it can be done.

If I were doing this all over, I would do screws, but if someone confiscated my tap, I would do the through rivets and not lose any sleep, but what I would change is this:

- Use a screw machine drill to start. This will help establish a straight hole.
- Don’t be afraid to slightly enlarge holes if alignment is off

That being said, a tap is only nominally more expensive than a screw machine drill bit. Though into a blind hole, having both a plug and bottoming tap is a very good idea. Just make sure you tap the hole straight.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4544 days

#9 posted 04-18-2015 11:10 AM

Really nice to see this metal and wood combination work.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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