First page of the Lie-Nielsen archive.

Knife making and LeeValley Mini Router Plane

Posted by is9582 on November 22, 2016 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For the majority of the knives I’ve made, I split the handle down the middle (lengthwise) and fit it around the tang of my knife’s blade. On many of my smaller knives I have a hidden tang, so the tang doesn’t show at any point around the handle, except where it extends out the front.

For some of the knives, the tang is fairly narrow, but still strong for the intended type of work. With this size though, it can be a bit limiting as to the tools I can use when evacuating the wood where the tang will fit.

 

Inside surface of a knife's handle scale, with outline of full handle drawn, and the blade's

Inside surface of a knife’s handle scale, with outline of full handle drawn, and the blade’s “mortise” ready for the mini Router Plane.

 

The width of the handle scales (when laid on there side) is also an issue, as one of the tools I’d normally choose would be my Lie-Nielsen No. 71 or my old Stanley No. 71. Even with the closed mouth version that I have, it is very difficult, if not impossible to stay registered on the outer wood, so the small square blade for the No. 271 is of no real use. As for shifting to the No. 271, I really prefer to have a fine screw-adjust, when sneaking up on a final depth.

 

The mini Router Plane below my #71 Closed-Throat Router Plane by Lie-Nielsen.

The mini Router Plane below my #71 Closed-Throat Router Plane by Lie-Nielsen.

 

A couple of years ago a friend of mine showed me a gift he received from his kids, and it was one of the Lee Valley mini planes, which got some chuckles from everyone around. He went on to share that it was truly completely functional, which I know it says on the website, but it was still hard for me to wrap my head around. Ok, shift back to present time, and I decided to take a chance and ordered one of the Lee Valley Mini Router Planes (shown above in the lower portion of the photo), hoping my results might surprise me.

I opened the packaging and my heart sort of sunk. The presentation box this little router plane comes in is so tiny, almost to the point where I was afraid I’d made a mistake. I opened the box and the plane was so amazingly small, but all of the parts worked super smooth. I took the blade out of the plane and took it to my Shapton 1000-grit Glass Stone (as this blade is quite narrow, the Glass series stone is one of the few stones I trust will not create a long dado in the stone in rapid order) and worked the bottom of the blade. This blade is made from A2 steel, and it took a fair amount of time to work so it showed a consistent scratch pattern.

 

Bottom of the mini Router Plane's blade, after the water stones.

Bottom of the mini Router Plane’s blade, after the water stones.

 

Bevel side of the min Router Plane's blade, after the water stones, showing obvious signs it wasn't ground on a flat medium at the factory.

Bevel side of the min Router Plane’s blade, after the water stones, showing obvious signs it wasn’t ground on a flat medium at the factory.

 

This wasn’t because the blade was out of square or warped, just because the steel was so hard! It felt like I was working a super high Rc valued Japanese iron, or something on that magnitude. I followed doing the same on the bevel side of the blade, but since this is such a small blade, I could only make short back and forth movements. All of the sharpening was freehand, as no guides that I have would work with this blade. After both mating surfaces were complete on the 1000-grit, and I had a small burr, I very lightly worked both surfaces on my Norton 8000-grit water stone. This stone is much softer and I was very cautious not to stay in one spot for too long. I brought in my Glass Stone 16000-grit to finish up the blade, and brought both edges to a razor sharpness.

While I had the mini Router Plane apart, I noticed it’s sole still had mill marks from manufacturing, so I put some sandpaper down on my flat granite plate and worked it until all of the milling marks were gone. I applied some wax to the sole, which is what I do to the sole on all of my hand planes, so the friction between the wood and plane is almost nil. There is no good reason to leave the sole unworked, and basically fight against the wood.

 

The base of the mini Router Plane, after I'd already worked it a bit on a flat surface with some sandpaper. I continued until al the mill marks were removed, and then applied some wax to the surface.

The base of the mini Router Plane, after I’d already worked it a bit on the sandpaper. I continued until al the mill marks were removed, and then applied some wax to the surface.

 

After re-assembling the mini router plane, I took it to a knife handle where I’d already cut along the shape of the tang, with an Exacto knife, and removed a fair amount with a very sharp chisel. When I set the mini router plane onto the handle blank, it looked like this might actually work. The size of the little router plane just looked like it was the proper scale for the work needed. I was so pleasantly amazed when I started removing wood, as the blade in the router plane was cutting through the wood like it was butter. And this feeling didn’t stop anytime soon. I finished both inside areas of the handle for this knife blade, and it was still going strong. Part of this is the small cross-section of area it is cutting, but still, the A2 in this blade is really holding its edge like a champ!

I hope you enjoyed the read and perhaps will test the same for yourself. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

 

Lee Laird

@LeeLairdWoodworking – IG

@LeeLairdWW – Twitter

Dresser Drawer wonky – repair

Posted by is9582 on October 27, 2016 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We have an old dresser that is almost 30 years old, that was purchased just before our son was born. It has some nice looking maple/curly maple on it and is fairly heavy, which lead us to believe it was well made. Unfortunately, this was around the time I was just cutting my teeth on some basic woodworking, so I didn’t dig into it as I would today.

I became aware that the top drawer was twisting in it’s track and it was a struggle to get the drawer in or out. As I was going through all of the excess stuff in the room, I pulled the drawer to see what exactly was happening. The drawers, which are each approximately 30″ wide, have one “T” shaped runner in the dead center of each level. The front end of the runners are screwed to the face frame, and initially it looked like the rear swung into what looked like a dado, with perhaps a dab of glue securing it. After completely removing the top runner, I saw there was a hole in the rear of the case, in the “dado section”, as well as signs a screw was driven into the rear end of the runner. The actions of the drawer must have created enough vibration to cause the rear screw to back out of the runner. Sure enough, I pulled the dresser away from the wall and there was one screw lying on the ground and it fit perfectly into the hole in the runner.

 

The runner for the top drawer in the dresser, with the screw intact at the red arrow, and the missing screw's location in the area of the blue arrows.

The runner for the top drawer in the dresser, with the screw intact at the red arrow, and the missing screw’s location in the area of the blue arrows.

 

The second part of the dresser issues is the fact that they installed a plastic guide on the rear of each drawer, to fit over the runner’s “T” shape. I know not all plastic is bad, but in this type of usage, it just doesn’t seem like it matches the drawer sizing, nor the level of the dresser’s original cost. The plastic guide on the problematic top drawer, had split at some point and one side section was gone.

 

Original undamaged plastic drawer guide, from another drawer in the dresser.

Original undamaged plastic drawer guide, from another drawer in the dresser.

 

Broken plastic guide from top drawer in this dresser.

Broken plastic guide from top drawer in this dresser.

 

I can’t tell if the screw popped out of the back first, and the ability of the rear section of the runner to swing from side to side applied extra side force to break the guide, or if the guide went first. I suppose at this point it really doesn’t make much difference.

With the runner from the top drawer already out, I took it to the shop as a template for a replacement guide. I found some cherry that looked like it would potentially work nicely.

I started with a piece of cherry that was about 6″ long, marked out the guide’s overall length, and marked a centerline to align with the center of the runner. I clamped the cherry in the face vise on my bench, and set my small square so the bottom of the runner was just slightly proud of the guide. I needed the bottom of the guide to just clear the face frame when installing the drawer. So with the rear of the runner sitting on the cherry, and the top of the runner against the square, I traced around the shape of the runner.

 

Cherry guide material clamped in the face vise, elevated slightly so my square could register against it to maintain the runner's orientation while drawing around it.

Cherry guide material clamped in the face vise, elevated slightly so my square could register against it to maintain the runner’s orientation while drawing around it.

 

Actual runner in place against the square, with the slight overhang. During the actual drawing around the runner, I squeezed between the base of the runner and the outside edge of the square's body.

Actual runner in place against the square, with the slight overhang. During the actual drawing around the runner, I squeezed between the base of the runner and the outside edge of the square’s body.

 

With the necessary opening of the guide defined, I used my Lie-Nielsen Crosscut saw to saw straight down at the two narrow vertical lines, until I reached the top of the intended opening. Shifting to my Knew Concepts saw, I cut along the horizontal lines, leaving only the the narrow vertical sections uncut. I used my small 1/4″ palm chisel from Czeck Edge Tools to methodically remove the remaining wood.

 

After creating the area to evacuate on the guide, I clamped the cherry in a small turn-screw, while clamping the turn-screw in the face vise. This elevated the piece to a nice height for sawing.

After creating the area to evacuate on the guide, I clamped the cherry in a small turn-screw, while clamping the turn-screw in the face vise. This elevated the piece to a nice height for sawing.

 

Here is the guide straight from the saw, but still it's full length, but the location for shortening is drawn.

Here is the guide straight from the saw, but still it’s full length, but the location for shortening is drawn.

 

I tested the fit and it was too tight widthwise, for the runner to completely enter the created opening in the guide. I used a small file to carefully remove wood, testing every so often, until the desired fit was established. All of the sharp edges were gently rounded to provide the best opportunity for the guide and runner to interact well together. Lastly I applied my Lie-Nielsen stick of paraffin to the mating surfaces of the guide and runner, and rubbed them in to help obtain the best performance.

 

Testing the actual runner in the guide, before cutting the guide to final length.

Testing the actual runner in the guide, before cutting the guide to final length.

 

The final guide after all filing and sanding was complete.

The final guide after all filing and sanding was complete.

 

I’ll include the installation information in one of my next blog entries. Thank you for stopping by and checking out the article. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

Lee Laird

@LeeLairdWoodworking – Instagram

@LeeLairdWW – Twitter

Ideas for making gifts

Posted by is9582 on October 26, 2016 with No Commentsas , , , , , , ,

I recently wrote another article for Highland Woodworking, for their Christmas idea special, and here is a link so you can check it out. I’ve written many articles for Highland Woodworking since 2010 and you can search their Blog using my first and last name, which will locate the majority. As info, most of those […]

Knife making tool you make

Posted by is9582 on July 7, 2016 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ok, sorry again for the lack of recent posts, but my last post hopefully informed everyone as to why I’ve been away from the site. I bought some more material for knife blades, even though it wasn’t quite as thick, and had a different “feature”. The blanks I bought had some holes in them, and the location […]

Made a new knife

Posted by is9582 on May 14, 2016 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was brought up around all sorts of crafts and the outdoors. Woodworking and leather crafting seemed to be interwoven into my genes, but really didn’t have much in the way of knife making, although my dad did make a knife or two in his younger days. I’ve seen some of my buddies making wooden […]