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Thread: Practising double-splayed dovetails, used in plane-making.

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    Supporting Member Philip Davies's Avatar
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    Practising double-splayed dovetails, used in plane-making.

    Practising double-splayed dovetails, used in plane-making.-937674ee-f9de-4fa4-9734-b70f7142ab61.jpg

    The book in the picture is “Making & Modifying Woodworking Tools” by Jim Kingshott. He recommends practising the technique of dovetailing, before embarking upon making a plane. You can see that I have begun my practice piece, using bits of scrap. I have never cut dovetails in steel before. To fit them, you have to leave excess on the tails, and peen them to fill the gaps, not like you would fill the gaps with glue and sawdust. (Note irony)

    Practising double-splayed dovetails, used in plane-making.-c4b24045-7cc3-48d1-bd08-6ac108ef0a3b.jpg
    Trouble is, the more you hammer, the more the sides bend in. Can you make out the gap? It’s distorted by 2 degrees, and I have peened only one pin.
    Kingshott recommends packing the body with hardwood, and clamping it firmly in the vice.

    I would say that this is an abuse of a bench vice, so I clamped to an anvil, but significant movement and damage occurred to the packing, so next time I shall pack out with steel.

    Kingshott also says that you don’t want the mouth adjacent to the tail, because this cuts the sole right acrossPractising double-splayed dovetails, used in plane-making.-image.jpgBut this is view of my piece is on the page showing his mitre plane. The sole is cut right across.

    I would be glad to hear the views of people who have made these type of planes. During lockdown, I plan to make three.

    The book was given to me by Bob Eades. He was a master joiner, and I mean really top-notch. His hobby was reproducing Guarneri violins. He brought a Holtey plane along to the meeting of the Carpenters’ Institute. Holtey planes are dovetailed, superbly refined. Bob told us it had cost him £2000. It was our chairman who observed that, with such precision, it was no good trying to fill the gaps with glue (as if we ever would)

    Bob knew of my interest in plane making. He lived in my road. I met him shortly afterwards, saying I had made a plane and he invited me round. When I got there next week, there on his coffee table were 14 planes, every bit as good as the Holtey plane, ranging in size from 8” down to an inch, they were mostly for violin making. Well, I never showed him the sandwich I’d bodged together!

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    Christophe Mineau (May 4, 2020), DIYer (May 4, 2020), Jon (May 5, 2020), Tonyg (May 5, 2020)

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    Hi Philip
    I do not know if this will help. I follow a person on You Tube called Young Je who builds a lot of his own planes (and other woodworking tools) who uses this technique.
    He also makes wooden planes.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0R...KleJsEj2h5cPow
    Kind regards,
    Tony.

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    Hi Philip,
    I've not heard of dovetailing associated with making planes. Do you recommend Kingshott's book? Does he cover other tools besides planes?
    It seems like cutting dovetails in steel would be difficult. I've watched a fellow doing isenhowering with chisel and hammer at a blacksmithing conference and never thought I'd have the patience for it. How are you cutting the dovetails?

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    Philip Davies (May 5, 2020)

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    Supporting Member Philip Davies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonyg View Post
    Hi Philip
    I do not know if this will help. I follow a person on You Tube called Young Je who builds a lot of his own planes (and other woodworking tools) who uses this technique.
    He also makes wooden planes.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0R...KleJsEj2h5cPow
    Kind regards,
    Tony.
    thanks, Tony, must be worth a look.

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    Supporting Member Philip Davies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeH View Post
    Hi Philip,
    I've not heard of dovetailing associated with making planes. Do you recommend Kingshott's book? Does he cover other tools besides planes?
    It seems like cutting dovetails in steel would be difficult. I've watched a fellow doing isenhowering with chisel and hammer at a blacksmithing conference and never thought I'd have the patience for it. How are you cutting the dovetails?
    Thanks, Joe. Yes, I do recommend Kingshott’s book, since it contains a lot of information relevant to making all sorts of tools. But the best book on making tools has to be “The Modern Blacksmith” by Alexander Weygers.
    Dovetailed metal planes were developed by Spiers in the 19th century. They command a high price, although Norris planes are perhaps valued more highly.
    What is isenhowering, please?
    I have cut the dovetails with a hacksaw. I mark the pins from the tails, as you would in wood, (unless secret mitred), but remove most of the waste by first drilling, then filing back to a line. I clamp a hacksaw blade to the line so I don’t cut below it. Hammering, sawing, filing, planing, who needs any other form of exercise?
    No, I don’t thinks it’s very difficult, but the hacksaw blade tends to wander.

    I wonder whether” isenhowering” is German? “Eisen”= “iron”.” Hauen” is “to hack”. Nothing to do with General Eisenhower, I suppose?
    Last edited by Philip Davies; May 6, 2020 at 04:59 AM. Reason: Supplementary to answer plus another question.

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    Supporting Member Philip Davies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonyg View Post
    Hi Philip
    I do not know if this will help. I follow a person on You Tube called Young Je who builds a lot of his own planes (and other woodworking tools) who uses this technique.
    He also makes wooden planes.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0R...KleJsEj2h5cPow
    Kind regards,
    Tony.
    Hi Tony
    I viewed Young Je’s YouTube construction of a rebate plane, which was instructive, although he has used straightforward through dovetails. He has many facilities I don’t have! Some of his techniques are rather questionable, but the end result was beautiful. I don’t think I would lacquer the infill, though.
    Thanks again.

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    Hi Philip,
    I've owned Weyger's books for many years. I got into this because of wanting to make my own carving tools. Then I learned about making other things in iron and kind of made wood working a secondary activity. Isenhowering (not real sure of the spelling) is as you translated literally iron hacking using chisels. I watched a fellow whose name I can't recall carve a rose into a block of mild steel. It took a while. I know that chopping is required in doing dovetails in wood so I wondered about doing it in steel. Knowing a little bit about wood planes, I can't quite envision how dovetailed planes would go together or how they would be superior. I'll try to find Kingshott's book. Tools and tooling continue to fascinate me.
    Joe

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    Supporting Member Philip Davies's Avatar
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    Practising double-splayed dovetails, used in plane-making.-image.jpg
    Just to show an update on the practice piece which I have now rasped - quite a lot of rasping!

    To correct distortion caused by peening, which tends to pull the sides in, I had to put it in the gas forge, using spacer bars and a stop in the hardy hole, with some judicious tapping with a heavy copper mallet. It is now tolerably square.

    Practising double-splayed dovetails, used in plane-making.-image.jpg

    The end shows the distortion. That looks like American walnut for the infill.
    Regrettably, some of the original peening marks from the ball-pein mi****s are still visible.

    Spell checker will not accept mis-hits!
    The second picture appears to show the sides flaring outwards, but they do not.
    Last edited by Philip Davies; May 10, 2020 at 04:51 AM.

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    Thanks so much for showing the pics of the assembled piece. I understand now how the thing goes together. Wow, that's a lot of work and looks very heavy. Were planes done this way for a reason? What time period are we talking?
    thanks,
    Joe

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    Philip Davies (May 10, 2020)

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    You’re welcome, Joe.
    Dovetail planes were developed by Stewart Spiers, shortly after 1840, and were featured at the Great Exhibition of 1851, although he did not invent the technique. They are generally superior to planes made from castings, which are liable to distortion from the inherent stresses of different thicknesses. Plate is usually I/8” or 5/32” thick. I used some available scrap, partly because the soles of the planes I plan are to have 3/8” thick soles ,but 1/8” sides, and partly because I wanted to see what would happen with thicker material. With the practice piece nearly finished, I am going to turn it into a bullnose rebate plane, larger than usual and with a more acute blade. Don’t wait up for the finished article!
    It is a lot of work, so I do about 200 strokes of the rasp at a time, and then do something else, like turn a handle, put tools away, etc. Until I’ve got my breath back!
    Thanks for your interest.

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