Popular Woodworking 2002-04 № 127, страница 50

Popular Woodworking 2002-04 № 127, страница 50

Flatten, or lap, the sole with the plane fully assembled (but with the iron retracted into the body). I start with 90-grit silicon carbide powder and kerosene. Rub the sole on your flat surface in a figure-8 pattern, being sure not to concentrate your efforts in one certain place. It's like a big sharpening stone, and you don't want to dish the center.

Turn the plane over after a few minutes and check your progress.You can see the red marks at the toe and heel of the sole. This is the point where I'm ready to move up to a finer-grit powder.

dropped. And as to the required final sheen on the sole, I'm not much of a purist here, either. I've made a few soles look like a mirror, but it didn't seem to boost performance much. Lap until you're tired, then give the plane a try. If you're satisfied, stop. If not, carry on.

There are several ways to lap the sole, but the most important thing to remember is that the surface you use for lapping must be flat. Your choices include thick glass, a marble pastry slab or a metal casting — usually the wing on your table saw.

Sandpaper or Silicon Carbide?

Next you have to choose an abrasive. Most people use either sandpaper or silicon carbide grit. In sandpaper, the choice product these days is called Alumina-Zirconia (and sometimes it's called,

oddly enough, Zirconia Alumina). No matter what you call it, this light blue-colored sanding belt is used for thicknessing wood in wide-belt sanders and abrading stainless steel and titanium; so it's fine for a plane's sole. You can purchase it in belts from a home center ($6 for two belts; get some medium- and fine-grit belts to start), or order it from Klingspor (800-645-5555). Attach the belts to a flat surface using a spray adhesive or rubber cement.

The other option is silicon carbide powder. You sprinkle a few pinches of powder along with a light-bodied oil or kerosene on your flat surface and rub the sole until it's flat (see photo at left). You can buy a 4-ounce jar of 90-grit powder for $3.95 from Lee Valley Tools (800-871-8158). Or you can buy a kit of five grits (90 grit up to 600 grit) for $12.95. One thing worth mentioning is


Many hand planes have nicknames that describe what they're used for: smoothing planes for smoothing, jointer planes for jointing, shoulder planes for trimming shoulders etc. But what does "jack" have to do with a "jack plane?"

Ever since I got into woodworking, people have told me that the "jack" refers to the expression "jack of all trades." The jack plane, it was explained, was a good all-around plane , so that's the nickname it received.

So I asked Graham Blackburn, the author of "Traditional Woodworking Handtools" (The Lyons Press) and a longtime hero of mine, about jack planes. According to Blackburn, "jack" is an expression used since the Middle Ages to describe something that is common, such as jack boots or a jack knife. The jack plane is indeed one of the most common sizes you'll find on the shelves of hardware stores. However, it could be argued that the "jack" refers instead to the most common sort of carpentry and construction work performed with this plane.

Indeed, Blackburn explained how carpenters called the plane a "jack plane" while cabinetmakers called the same instrument a "fore plane."And to make things even more complex, the premier English plane manufacturers of the day tried to separate their products from the common ones by calling the same-size plane a "panel plane."

But in the end, the people spoke, and in this country we call it a jack plane — no matter if the tool is used for fine furniture work or trimming an interior door to fit its jamb.

50 Popular Woodworking April 2002

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