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Thread: Hand tool point blocks

  1. #1

    Default Hand tool point blocks

    I'm trying to get away from sanders and these F5 point blocks were made on an oscillating sander in the past. I'm considering making a hand-plane or 2 with radius-ed bottoms. I would make the cuts on a wide or long enough board to make a bunch and then just slice them off when I need one. I know violin makers use chisels for this and probably for good reason. I really just want to learn to build my own handplanes and this might be a good start.

    Your thoughts.
    Richard Hutchings

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Hutchings View Post
    ...I know violin makers use chisels for this and probably for good reason...
    If you can get your hands on a couple (or more) of incannel gouges of appropriate sweeps, making and fitting corner blocks by hand is pretty straight forward. A little time invested in learning to use the tools and it approaches easy.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    Planes are easier to make in two halves so you don’t have to excavate the interior cavity. Traditional molding planes are difficult for that one reason. They are also difficult to adjust and use compared with metal planes. Some of the craft woodworkers have plane designs in their books. It’s late and some names escape me. Another satisfying adventure is making blades and learning about basic metallurgy and furnace manipulations. I agree with John that chisels are expedient for these small bits, but if it’s toolmaking you’re after, a few planes is not an unreasonable objective. Maybe pick up an antique or two to understand the principles, but again, there’s no law that prohibits a glued up structure. Beech is traditional for molding planes, but any hardwood is ok. Planes that were meant to last a lifetime have applied soles of even harder woods, but not something to take on at first.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    I've seen some videos on making them in 2 halves. I've seen them made every which way. Does it matter, I don't think so. Which ever way is quickest and gets me a good collection of various planes is what I'm after. Is there any savings in buying tool steel and making my own blades? Where would I get it? I have experience from machine shops when I was younger, much younger so I know how to heat treat steel. Lee Valley has blades for wooden planes for around $50. Seems like a lot for a hunk of steel that small.
    Richard Hutchings

  5. #5

    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    If you can get your hands on a couple (or more) of incannel gouges of appropriate sweeps, making and fitting corner blocks by hand is pretty straight forward. A little time invested in learning to use the tools and it approaches easy.
    John, I took a look around for incannel gouges and it seems like they can be had for around $20 for old ones. I just need to figure out what sweeps I need. Thank you.
    Richard Hutchings

  6. #6

    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    Dick, I don’t want to clutter up this forum with less-related stuff, but can’t resist. For the narrow widths you might need in a plane blade, the classic metal source is an old file. Even the most famous knife in American history was made from one. Files are plenty good steel, and typical thickness is actually better than the more recent metal plane blades, where the blade is backed by two more layers. You’ll see the boutique tool people like Lee sell thick blades - also attached to mystery stuff - don’t get me going on either sharpening or cryo treatment. You can, of course, buy hardenable steel from McMaster Carr in convenient shapes, and annealed, but cutting steel without proper tools is arduous, so start with the closest you can find. A grinding wheel is also a good idea. You can rough shape any contour on a plain (flat face) wheel. Anneal first if there’s much shaping to do. Eyeball hardening with a plumber’s or oxy-acetylene torch and a bucket of water will be good, followed with sharpening on a stone. A thick blade is going to chatter less. Be accurate in blade and bevel angles, they’re important. I collect old tools, and almost always try them out: molding planes are a challenge, even for a test on soft wood. Have fun.
    PS. To me, chisels and gouges are sourced at tag (yard) sales, not in stores. What were the old respected brands today are mediocre mostly.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    Thank you Richard. I have plenty of old files from yard sales. I rarely see gouges in my area and never incannel.
    Richard Hutchings

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    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    I made my own planes inspired by this site: http://www.dunwellguitar.com/FingerPlanes/MyDesign.htm

  9. #9

    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    Thank you I love that.

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    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by SBJ View Post
    I made my own planes inspired by this site: http://www.dunwellguitar.com/FingerPlanes/MyDesign.htm
    How did yours turn out? I've been thinking of going this route considering the pricing of ibex planes. I've got some scrap purpleheart that is super hard and I think it would makes some great thumb planes.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Hand tool point blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by SBJ View Post
    I made my own planes inspired by this site: http://www.dunwellguitar.com/FingerPlanes/MyDesign.htm
    Clever. Only comment is that 60 degrees is steep, more on the scraper angle than plane. My tiny planes, like big ones are mostly 40-45. And scraper cards are not hardened quite enough, and I don’t know what they’re made of, but probably can be treated after shaping. The cross nail is nice and easy, but remember that in the more conventional arrangement the wedge is braced almost to the tip; not so with the pin, so the wedge should be on the thick side.

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