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Project Information

This was my project for the 2019 Spring Surprise Swap that I made for Phil Soper. I was inspired to try to make this after a friend of mine gave me a cruddy looking old shoulder plane that came out an old carpenter's tool box that was passed down to him. After cleaning the crud off the body and iron, putting an edge on its iron and making a few shavings with it, I discovered it had the initials of someone who had to be a family member (it had the right last initial) carved into it. I also found the makers mark (R.A. Parrish) which I found in an ad in a Philadelphia newspaper dated 1818. With that sort of history I told them that it needs to stay in the family and I reluctantly, because it still works great, gave it back to them.

I decided that my mortising skills were not good enough to make it using the traditional angled, wedge-shaped mortise for the iron so instead I used the 3 piece approach. The core of the body is made from some pecan I salvaged from a Guadalupe flood near Comfort, Texas. The sides are from a salvaged drought killed hickory that was attacked by ambrosia beetles and the wedge was from some walnut given to me by my wife's uncle that supposedly has some connection to a project in the Library of Congress some time ago (but I don't know what that was). All were finished with a light coat of Tried and True varnish oil. The geometry of the 3 angles involved really challenged me when it came time to make the iron until I realized that the offcut from making the wedges was the perfect template for cutting out the iron.


I made the iron from a piece of 1095 steel and attempted to harden it using charcoal in my grill using a blowdryer to get it glowing before plunging in oil.

This project really challenged me at almost every turn. Angles, wood choices, cutting and shaping tool steel, harding, sharpening a skewed plane iron and finally tuning all kicked my butt. I almost screwed it up multiple times. I ran out of time and it definitely needs a little more tuning, especially for use in hardwoods, so I hope that Phil finds it usable at least. It was still fun to make.

EDIT 2: I also forgot to mention that I added some brass pins to help keep everything aligned as I glued everything up.

EDIT: I forgot to give a shout out to SPalm, I used his drawing of the proportions and angles of his straight shoulder plane as a starting point. I tweaked the angles a bit and added the skew angle to more closely resemble the antique plane that I mentioned above but his diagram was a big help in visualizing how to make this.

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Comments

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Wow - that was some journey to make a swap item. Sounds like you learned a lot throughout the entire process. That is a good looking plane with quite a back story.

Thanks for participating in the Spring Swap!!!
 

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Its beautiful and the geometry still has me stumped. On the hope-to-make-someday list.
 

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Me too John! I thought the geometry would be easier (for me) to figure out. My first iron was not even close. I was playing around with paper templates when I saw my offcut laying on the table saw and realized that was the exact shape I needed. It also took me 3 tries to get the wedge the right shape and angle. I finally resorted to printing prototype on my 3D Printer to see if it would fit properly.
 

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alot of beautiful planes came out of this past swap …… and this one is awesome too …… good story also GREAT JOB :<))
 

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Good looking shoulder plane.
 

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Good looking shoulder plane, Nathan. Not sure we can call it Lazy, though…

I bought a couple of the kits from Hock Tools thinking I might make one of those for the swap, but they were back-ordered, so that was out. That's probably just as well, since it means I'll get to play with the geometry on my own time, rather than trying to get something done on a deadline. I've always been happy with the stuff I get from Hock, so if you want to buy blades, rather than make them, I recommend going there.
 

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Really nice looking plane Nathan! I can tell a lot of work went into this and it came out sweet!
 

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So, another fine project! Well done. I see what I need to do with the O1 stock I have languishing in my basement. Though I think it my be a solid year before I can get to it.
 

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Excellent work Nathan. Compound angles are a pain, quite an undertaking for your first plane build!
 

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Thanks guys.

Dave, I considered buying the Hock blade and I watched their assembly video to see how they made their kit but I thought PFFT! I can do that. Almost couldn't. Of course it would have been a lot easier if I had bought a long and narrow piece of the 1095 rather than the 12×12" square. I really didn't think about how hard it would be to cut by hand, especially since there seemed to be pockets that were already hardened. For part of it, I had to resort to using an angle grinder because the hacksaw and reciprocating saw blades wouldn't cut. I probably should have tried to normalize or anneal it before cutting it.
 

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Beautiful work on the plan and interesting story.
 

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Thanks Brian.
 

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What a beautiful tool. It's nice to have challenges to overcome. What is next in your build plan?
 

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Thanks Wayne. Since I gave this one away as part of the swap, I guess for my next build I need to make one for myself. Normally for these swaps, I have time to make a prototype that I keep and then a nicer one to give away. That didn't work out this time but if I make it soon, I should not have as many challenges to overcome for the next one.
 

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Sounds like a good plan. It looks like a very useful plane.
 

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Well done Nathan! I would have to do a lot of study to figure out something like that.
 

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Impressive! Great job. I really love the way it turned out. Seems like the perfect proportion and fits the hand extremely well-perhaps like an extension. Someone is going to really enjoy using this one. I know I would.

(changing gears) that is some amazing news- your story about the 1818 plane. Wowsers! That's really neat.
 

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Thanks Chris. I wish I still had that old plane but my friend's son was pretty excited to get it back (not knowing it existed in the first place and now in working order). I think it was made out beech and still worked amazingly well even after sitting a nasty old tool box for all these years.
 

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Nice job and congratulations on your 'Daily Top 3' award.
 
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