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Thread: A solid silver miter plane

  1. #1
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    A solid silver miter plane

    These pictures are of a senior vise president's retirement gift. We made it out of 1/8" thick sterling silver. Somewhere I have color pictures,but I can't find them right now. If you wish,I could show the color pictures when I find them.

    This is a type of 18th.C. miter plane. the wood stuffing is Brazilian rosewood. Notice the sneck on the iron,so it wasn't necessary to strike the body of the plane. This would have been of wrought iron originally.The plane was 8" or 9" long,with a 2" wide iron.Although the iron has a sneck,there is still a sacrificial screw on the back of the plane's body.

    The box is mahogany,lined with pool table type broad cloth. I made a rosewood adjusting hammer,because I needed to fill in the large blank area that was in the box with the plane only inside. It filled out the space nicely. You can see a little turn button that holds the hammer in,just visible. You can see our shop label inside the lid.

    Our company engraver,former engraver to a U.S. president,engraved the dedication. The president always took this engraver where ever he went. When he decided to make a presentation,he'd have the engraver take a piece of silver hollow ware,and engrave it right on Air Force 1.

    Mr Birney was a B 17 pilot in WW 11. I thought he was a genuine person,and enjoyed making this for him.

    We had it rhodium plated so it would never tarnish. That would cost thousands today,just for the plating. The days of big gift giving came to a close as a few more years went by.

    Once again,I made the hooks. SHOULD have gotten some cast!!!

    Not sure if this gift was for shaving employee salarys !!.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by george wilson; 04-08-2009 at 9:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    George, how did you polish that Rosewood infill?

    Brian
    Veni Vidi Vendi Vente! I came, I saw, I bought a large coffee!

  3. #3
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    I usually polish hard wood with a clean buffing wheel,and some white rouge.

  4. #4
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    It looks like a Rosewood mirror!
    Veni Vidi Vendi Vente! I came, I saw, I bought a large coffee!

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up

    George

    This really is a beautiful plane. Two questions: Are the sides dovetailed to the sole? and How do you make the snek? I could never figure that one out.

    Regis

  6. #6
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Really wonderful gift and workmanship, George.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    Interesting - This will be a featured item in the Brown or David Stanley auction catalogues in the year 2075 or so, and it'll probably be a mystery as to who the presentee really was (other than their name, of course). A fair number of late 19th century presentation tools do show up now in those auction catalogues.

  8. #8
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    Winterville, NC (eastern NC)
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    Awesome craftsmanship. Really beautiful.
    You should consider making these in a less valuable material and start marketing them to the neanders here. Don't need the engraving unless a customer asks for it, but you may be on to something.

  9. #9
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    Regis,this plane is silver soldered together due to the usual time constraints I have often mentioned on these gifts. The sneck was hammer welded onto the blade. I have made them by silver soldering them on. You could even attach them by drilling holes,counter sinking them,and peening pieces of drill rod of the same composition into the blade,then filing them flush. This last method isn't extremely strong,though,and may result in some movement of the rivets with much hammer adjustment. I'd advise at least silver solder the sneck on.Then,you should bury the sneck end of the blade into a pre heated large coffee can full of hot sand so it can cool slowly enough to not harden. You will want to be able to clean it up with filing and polishing afterwards. The same with welding.

    When you harden the other end of the iron,the heat does not need to get hot enough at the sneck to melt the silver solder.

    Mike,I used to make these planes out of iron or brass to sell.
    Last edited by george wilson; 04-08-2009 at 9:25 AM.

  10. #10
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    As typical of your work, absolutely gorgeous! And as I have previously said, when are you going to start hosting your own conferences?

    Of all your wares posted, this one may be one of my favorites and if you have an extra laying around, I'll gladly trade you my almost new LN #9 for it!

    T.Z.

  11. #11
    Gorgeous miter plane George. I particularly like the snecked iron which is something that more planes should have today.
    Dave Anderson

    Chester, NH

  12. #12
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    Dave,another way of having a sneck,at least on smaller planes,is to saw and file up a notch on the side of the iron. The little iron plane about 2 1/2" long,which I made,shown on The Woodwright's Shop,when my old journeymen were on,has a side snecked iron in it.

    IIRC,the snecked iron was a German feature in the beginning.I could be wrong,but I think that's correct.

  13. #13
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    Thank you,Tony,but,except for all the polishing,this plane was less work that any of the dovetailed ones I have previously posted. It does look as if it was just dipped in mercury,due to the rhodium. However,the plane had to be absolutely polished to perfection first.Rhodium is so reflective that the least imperfection would stand out like a sore thumb. Any electroplated surface shows up bigtime any flaws beneath it.Plating makes the smallest scratch sparkle like crazy.
    Last edited by george wilson; 04-08-2009 at 12:16 PM.

  14. #14
    George,
    I think you had the best job in the world! That is one of the most beautiful hand planes I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing those photos with us.

    -Chuck

  15. #15
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    Thanks for sharing and yes, if you ever find the color photos post those to.

    jim

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