Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Can only read 10 papers per day...

I am trying to prep for two talks on back-to-back days I have to give next week.  I have read about 5 or 6 papers, with still a few to go, and my brain is tired.  So I decided to post something here so that my brain will not explode.  (It's very messy, the exploding).  Then I'll get back to work.

I have a long-time but little-attended hobby of hand-tool woodworking.  One of the key elements of same is the employment of hand planes, such as this example below:

No, I do not own this plane.  It's called a "coffin smoother" and is likely in the range of $3000.

I own this:

Which is a cheap Stanley block plane that probably doesn't cost $25.   And it's not in the greatest shape.

Those in the know will recognize both rust and an uneven sole, which really messes with your woodworking.  Although not pictured, the blade itself was chipped, uneven, etc. 

So, I decided one day, randomly, to sharpen the blade as the first step in the restoration of the above plane.  This step was chosen, as I don't actually own what I need to do any of the other steps.  

I used a Veritas honing guide as well as a pack of 3M sandpaper on glass (the so-called Scary Sharp method). 

Results?  I grabbed a rough cut yard stake to test.  The pic on the right shows the initial surface, very rough; that on the left, the upper surface, post-planing.  An attempt is made in the bottom pic to show the contrast between the two.  Not bad.

And just to give a feel for what I was taking off, if you look closely in this picture at the shavings I removed, you can see the individual wood fibers.  This shaving is right at 0.003 of an inch.

All in all, a lot of fun, and gratifying to know that you don't need $200 toys to play this game.

Now, back to ECMO.