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Thread: Scalable pics of an 18th.C. jack plane I made.

  1. #1
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    Scalable pics of an 18th.C. jack plane I made.

    I have put this up for those who might like to make an authentic jack plane. The plane is shown in enough views to see everything.

    The tote on this plane JUST CLEARS the plane iron. Just barely.

    The tote is exactly shaped like the original. Also note the large bevels around the plane's body. As time went on in the 19th.C.,the bevels became narrower. Finally,they were just tall,rounded off edges. I refer to English practice.

    The handle is off to 1 side. People wonder why. It isn't to facilitate shooting. It actually makes the handle less convenient for shooting. In Elizabethan times,the handles were flush with the user's right edge. Dovetailed into the body with a large,open sided dovetail. Why?

    We think the SHORT handle,and its closeness to the edge made you push the plane with the web of your thumb,instead of the palm of your hand. This avoided carpal tunnel from developing in your hand. Those old timers weren't stupid!!!

    As with everything else in toolmaking in old times,evolution was a slow process,and in steps. It would be later in the 19th.C. before the handle became centered.

    If you copy this plane,be sure to get the handle shape exactly right if you want to pull it off as an authentic design.

    Also notice the "eyes" of the plane. The eyes are the scooped out areas on either side of the angled areas that hold the wedge in. They are as they should be. Late in the 19th.C.,very beautiful eyes developed which really were scooped practically to the edges of the body,especially in coffin smoothers. They add a great deal of grace and elegance to a plane.

    The joint that the handle uses to be inlet into the body is important: The slant on the front of the joint must be made that way. You will glue the handle in,but that joint WILL NOT let the handle be pushed up out of the mortise. You can pull it backwards and get it loose(except for the glue),but it will not push out,glued or not.

    Things in the 19th.C.,even including such things as shoe lasts,got much more lyrical and romanticized than they were in the more functional 18th.C.. This lyrical trend is seen so well in the beauty of the Groves saw handles I just posted. The curves are fantastic. The rounding of the handle's thickness produces tapers like calligraphy. Every thing is more beautiful. Actually,it isn't at all surprising that shoe lasts were rounder and more gracefully curved: shoes are an important part of stylish dress,and they are made on lasts.

    As the 19th.C. progressed,things got less well designed in many cases. I think the Civil War era was a period of ugly dresses,and some pretty ugly other things,too. Others may disagree,but I know style.

    Make use of the plane if you wish, Just get it right is all I ask.

    Note: All of the surfaces on this plane are left as hand planed,just like the original. You can see it best on the wedge. Nothing trued up by sanding anywhere. Competent,quick hand plane finished was the way they were made until later. The handle was rasped,and bastard filed. Beyond that,the workman had to shine the tool up if he wanted,or wear it smooth. Most were too busy keeping from starving to doll them up.

    You can also see the escapement just as we chiseled it. Nothing smoothed up. You can see the chisel marks. I did work out a way to cut these throats and escapements with a powerful slotting attachment for our milling machine. Normally used to cut keyways in steel gears,etc.,we made powerful,very sharp chisels out of D2 tool steel. The slotter had a stroke just long enough to chisel out even cooper's jointers.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by george wilson; 10-05-2010 at 9:41 PM.

  2. #2
    A very nice tidy plane george. Tasteful work with the chamfers and not too much other stuff to make it gaudy...and a mouth I wish my 19th c woodies had. Out of the 10 or so, only one has a mouth like that, and most aren't particularly worn.

  3. #3
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    That's a great looking plane. The quantity and quality of the things you've done over the years is overwhelming. Thanks for the pics.
    Gary

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    I sure wish George would enter the "boutique" tool maker's market! I would love to have this jack plane, one of his saws, a chisel or three, maybe a marking knife, one of his special rules and most of all, just 1% of his abilities!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Zaffuto View Post
    I sure wish George would enter the "boutique" tool maker's market! I would love to have this jack plane, one of his saws, a chisel or three, maybe a marking knife, one of his special rules and most of all, just 1% of his abilities!
    True so true, but I would have to rob a bank or win the lottery. Quality ain't cheep, nor should it be.
    Andrew Gibson
    Program Manger and Resident Instructor
    Florida School Of Woodwork

  6. #6
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    Andrew,in a way I'd like to,to. But,I have gotten to where I can be free now,and do whatever I want. Getting into producing tools to sell would turn into another rat race. I don't need the money(yet!,maybe Obama will make that worse!),but so far so good. I have more than I spend. I have all the tools,and more,than I need. I'm not an extravagant person,anyway,nor is my wife.

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    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post

    If you copy this plane,be sure to get the handle shape exactly right if you want to pull it off as an authentic design.

    ...The joint that the handle uses to be inlet into the body is important: The slant on the front of the joint must be made that way. You will glue the handle in,but that joint WILL NOT let the handle be pushed up out of the mortise. You can pull it backwards and get it loose(except for the glue),but it will not push out,glued or not...
    George,

    I don't post often, at least not recently, maybe because I am still drooling at your posts, I am in awe.

    Beautiful tool, it looks so clean and sharp, even after you mentioned the surfaces were left as is from the blades.

    My Mech Eng little brain is having trouble understanding the shape of the handle, it is a bit counterintuitive to me, it seems that the opposite slant would wedge in, and this slant would slide out (forward and up). I also seem to notice that the mortise on the plane body seems to have no slant... could you please explain a bit?

    Thanks for posting, keep them coming.

    /p

  8. #8
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    ...The even smaller non Mech Eng part of my brain now realizes that the slant is semi parallel to the slant on the back, so in a way the handle slides in backwards to close the gap in the back, which is also aesthatically important I suppose....


    /p

  9. #9
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    All wooden plane handles that I have seen have the slanted front edge on them,and in their mortise. It will not be able to cock upwards from forwards pressure and let the handle out of the mortise. If you make one you will see that it works. This joint was used up until the demise of the wooden plane era.

  10. #10
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    Isn't that beechwood a pretty color? That's American beech,too. Cut right near Wmsbg.,on museum property. old Rockefeller bought up huge tracts of land around the museum area,to keep modern noise away. It didn't work,I guess because of the modern need for more highways. Usually American is more pale in color. the European beech is usually made pinker by steaming it in the kiln(I guess in the kiln).Anyway,they call it steamed beech.
    Last edited by george wilson; 10-06-2010 at 5:56 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    ...I don't need the money(yet!,maybe Obama will make that worse!)...
    Or maybe he'll make it better if you give him a chance. Not an issue for this forum, but you brought it up.

    Pam

  12. #12
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    Forgive me for resurrecting an old thread, but I'm hoping George can help clarify something for me. I was thinking about how the joint was constructed to attach the tote to the body on planes like this, so this great thread from George was just what I was looking for. But my first reaction was just like Pedro's above.

    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    All wooden plane handles that I have seen have the slanted front edge on them,and in their mortise. It will not be able to cock upwards from forwards pressure and let the handle out of the mortise. If you make one you will see that it works. This joint was used up until the demise of the wooden plane era.
    After considering this a bit, I think I may understand your point. Please let me know if I am thinking along the right lines here.

    When you say the handle cannot cock upwards from forward pressure on the handle, you mean cocking up in the sense of the rear of the handle lifting and rotating up, right? I can see how that motion would be prevented by being trapped between the heel of the tote on the upper back corner of the mortise, and the nose of the tote rotating down into the front of the mortise, wedging it in tighter. The tote and mortise are matched in size (which also fills the gaps), and the tote can only slide in (or out) in a direction parallel to the angle on the front of the tote, upward and slightly forward. Therefore, forward pressure on the tote would act to rotate the tote forward and down, wedging it in, as opposed to forward and up, which would release it if not for friction and glue.

    If the front of the tote were cut at the opposite angle, there would have to be a gap at the back in order to get the tote in. The nose would be trapped, but the heel of the tote could still rotate up, and either be loose or come completely out.

    Is that right?

    Your comments about the placement of the tote toward the right side to change the stresses on the hand are interesting. Do you have any more info about how much offset should be used, or whether it is effective?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Baker View Post
    ...Your comments about the placement of the tote toward the right side to change the stresses on the hand are interesting. Do you have any more info about how much offset should be used, or whether it is effective?
    It does seem to work that way. I have a C&W/Old St jack with the offset handle, which felt a little weird when I first used it, until I realized things seemed to work better, kind of fell into a balance that I hadn't anticipated.

  14. #14
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    Imagine a diagonal line from the top front edge of the extended forward part of the handle,to the lowest corner on the rear of the handle. The front mortise is angled forward several degrees. If the handle is pushed forward,the diagonal line,which cannot be compressed shorter,will be pushed INTO the face of the rear mortise.

    That is as clear as mud,I guess! Make a drawing of the side view of the handle. The front edge of the mortise is angled forwards,maybe 10. The rear of the mortise is past vertical (I have seen them angle back,sort of parallel to the front edge of the mortise,but vertical works too). Put your compass point at the top corner of the forward edge. Set the compass so its other point,or the pencil's lead,is right on the bottom corner of the rear mortise. Swing the compass up. It will run right into the face of the rear mortise,which solid wood cannot do.
    Last edited by george wilson; 02-18-2012 at 11:35 PM.

  15. #15
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    A couple of questions

    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    I have put this up for those who might like to make an authentic jack plane.

    The handle is off to 1 side. People wonder why. It isn't to facilitate shooting. It actually makes the handle less convenient for shooting. In Elizabethan times,the handles were flush with the user's right edge. Dovetailed into the body with a large,open sided dovetail. Why?

    We think the SHORT handle,and its closeness to the edge made you push the plane with the web of your thumb,instead of the palm of your hand. This avoided carpal tunnel from developing in your hand. Those old timers weren't stupid!!!
    George, thank you for posting this. I've been making a few wooden planes copying the designs from photographs. These will help immensely.

    With regard to the offset: It would seem to help when skewing the plane the plane by putting the hand directly behind the blade. Could this be a factor as well?

    With regard to the eyes: My eyes are not so beautiful ! Are these cut with a gouge/chisel? If so, I assume you cut from both directions? The grain seems to foul me up when I cut these.

    Thanks,

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