So, the morning began nice enough, 12C (~53F) as of 0930 and the sun was peeking through the clouds. There was a warm breeze on the air and I felt unable to resist the urge to go out and play, rather than stay in the house and be tormented by the dogs. Sarah left for school and I knew that now was my chance to get a little work done and get some fodder for another article. So here it goes!
I decided to completely dismantle my hand plane, and clean it thoroughly. I removed every single screw and sprayed it all down with what I happened to have on hand, since I ran out of WD-40 the previous day, honing my chisels. I managed to find a can of de-icing spray, which is pure methanol. It did the trick, though a proper lubricant, rather than an alcohol-based semi-solvent, would have done a better job. Must pick some up before too long.
I don’t mind telling you the parts were a little skuzzy; as in, ashamed to show the neighbors skuzzy. However, after a little (okay, a LOT) of elbow grease, I managed to lift some of that heavily embedded crud out of the parts, honed down some of the dents and rust pock-marks and got a relatively good edge back onto the iron (the blade). I decided to give it a test-run, and though my form leaves a great deal to be desired, I managed to “hone” (giggle) my technique down to something a little less palsy and eventually managed a nice smooth motion. You can see here the effect that the hand plane now has on this piece of pallet wood. It’s not quite glass-smoothe, but a person would ideally have a few different hand planes, tuned to different angles of the iron to hog away the cross-grain portions, the ridges, then to go from a jointer plane to a block plane to a smoother plane, etc.
You see there are a great variety of planes, based on length and heft, as well as planes based upon the angle of the blade. Allow me to share with you some diagrams of the distinct parts of the relatively simple machine before we go any further.
Now this is a typical plane that most of us imagine when we consider the tool, and it is virtually identical to the one that I reconditioned today. There are, however, many more types, each with a subtly different purpose. You could always rely on the wiki article, but I’ll provide you with some more specifically sourced material.
This link is a little more eye-friendly, with some fantastic diagrams to indicate the differences and discuss each in turn. I will, one day, have a handplane storage cupboard that looks a little something like this one I found somewhere online, but that is not a tomorrow task… if an EVER task.
EDIT: This image is too perfect to pass up! I found this on woodworking tips on facebook, which lead me to http://www.woodworkerz.com/ but it’s an ideal example of the variety of the same sorts of hand planes, just imagine the uses available when the skills are acquired operate each one properly! I’ll be there, one day.