First page of the Shapton 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

Card Scraper preparation – you too can do it

Posted by is9582 on November 11, 2013 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , ,

You can read this article at:

http://blog.woodworkingtooltips.com/2013/11/card-scraper-preparation-you-too-can-do-it/

Thanks for checking in!

Lee

Sharpening – Do I need to go to 30,000 grit?

Posted by is9582 on March 2, 2012 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Like many of you, I sharpen on a very regular basis. I’ve tried most of the different sharpening media that is presently available, along with some that are not so readily found any longer. I’ll share some of the results, and hopefully answer the title question. When I first got into woodworking, I purchased three […]

Let’s Skate towards Sharpness

Posted by is9582 on February 7, 2012 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I don’t know about everyone else, but even though I have a good sharpening routine, I’m always looking out on the horizon for something potentially better. I’ve either owned or used most of the current, and many of the older sharpening guides/tools, so I’m really looking forward to testing what ultimately is a new concept […]

Who knew a Chip Breaker could do the twist?

Posted by is9582 on February 4, 2012 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , ,

I was preparing to test a friend’s plane the other day, and what do we always do first? Sharpen and setup. As I have already written articles on sharpening, available on Highland Hardware’s blog (http://blog.woodworkingtooltips.com/ and search either by my name or subject), I won’t bore anyone with repetitive verbiage. I’ll just get on to […]