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Thread: An engraved bronze chariot plane I made

  1. #1
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    An engraved bronze chariot plane I made

    This is a bad picture from a slide,but you can see the engraving well enough to get the idea.

    I made this plane literally from scratch. I was doing some casting at the time,and cast several of these planes. They were made from old copper pipe and 10% pure tin,which is a nice alloy. We made the castings for the 18th.C. fire engine from the same alloy. I have a plain bronze one with a wrought iron cap and brass,knurled cap screw. It needs to be polished before it can be shown.

    The 10% tin alloy takes the gumminess out of the 90% copper,making it very nice and "dry" feeling to file. It doesn't pin up the file. The tin also makes a nice bronze color.

    I had made a gas furnace inside a 5 gallon pail. I made a tapered mold that looked like a bucket to form the inside of the furnace,and got some refractory clay somewhere. It wasn't cheap,I recall. I made a lid from the clay also.

    Working out doors wasn't very satisfactory,so eventually I gave it up,and left the furnace there,unfortunately. I had also made a brick furnace that used coke or charcoal. If you ever do this,a lesson to learn is to not let much air blow into the charcoal(from below),or it will cool the crucible. I got to where I could melt cast iron,but only did it as a trial.

    This is called a chariot plane due to its use by coach makers. It is a perfectly satisfactory little block plane,though.I made a wooden pattern which I still have,and made the flasks too. I used Petrobond casting sand. It is simpler to use than water based(green) sand,though it smokes a little from the oil content. I mulled the sand(mulling is knocking or stirring clumps of used sand back into single grains) with a big mallet.

    The plane is about 4" long in the body. It uses the old Roman crossbar to hold the Brazilian rosewood wedge. The iron is 01,which is what I used mostly back then. Tempering color left on the iron.

    The engraving was done with hammer and chisel,which I made also. The steel toe is typical of these planes.It enables making a very tight throat,when you can add the toe separately. Note that the screw slots are "timed" to face the same angle. This is done by making the screws too tall,slotting them,and screwing them down tight. Then,the sides of the screw can be marked as to where you want the slots to line up. Then,the tall heads are cut off,and,using the marks,the slot is re cut. This used to be done on fine guns and other fine quality instruments. Still done on Purdey shot gun locks.

    When I engrave,I only make a few major "S" and "C" scrolls to fill out the areas to be engraved evenly (evenly is important). You don't want busy areas and sparse areas. Then,I cut the engravings ,doing the leaves and vines,etc. freehand. I find it easier than following drawn lines,which somehow tends to make me a bit nervous. It is too confining and cramps my creativity. Doing block lettering is different. These need to be laid out 100%,to get the letters spaced correctly,and all the same size.

    This was another presentation piece for a president,thus the engraving. I would not want to use this plane for working,as the engraving would soon get worn on this relatively soft bronze alloy.
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    Last edited by george wilson; 02-02-2012 at 10:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Beautiful plane George. Do you know anything about this saw?

    saw2.jpg

  3. #3
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    Yes,that is Marcus,my first journeyman. He is using one of a bunch of Kenyon pattern crosscut saws we made for the Historic Area in Wmsbg. It might be a special extra thin one I made for him to saw between harpsichord keys with. We also made a bunch of rip saws,same pattern. He is shown sawing off Roy's hand with it,because Roy would not stop putting his hand into every close up shot.
    Last edited by george wilson; 02-02-2012 at 11:21 PM.

  4. #4
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    As always, beautiful work George.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
    Another stunner, George! As usual outstanding design and execution. Even the cast body made by yourself, incredible. Sometimes I ask myself, if there are woodworking and metalworking techniques that you didn' t do. I think that you are a craftsman with that universal amount of skills one hardly will find elsewhere.

    In the FAQ I found your infilled rabbet plane with adjustable mouth and soft shaped rosewood infills. One of the most beautiful rabbet planes I've ever seen. It just begs to be touched.

    Klaus
    Klaus Kretschmar

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    Yes,that is Marcus,my first journeyman. He is using one of a bunch of Kenyon pattern crosscut saws we made for the Historic Area in Wmsbg. It might be a special extra thin one I made for him to saw between harpsichord keys with. We also made a bunch of rip saws,same pattern. He is shown sawing off Roy's hand with it,because Roy would not stop putting his hand into every close up shot.
    ROFL. He does tend to do that, doesn't he?

  7. #7
    Looks nice, george. I remember you mentioning that you did some engraving, but I had no idea you'd done anything that large. Just assumed maybe a few lines here or there on jewelry, but having your engraving stand up to gifting to a president is a pretty stiff test.

  8. #8
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    I don't fancy myself to be an engraver,David. To do that you need to do it every day. Once in a while I'll scratch out something. But,only with hammer and chisel. I could never push engrave. Hammer and chisel is really a technique for engraving steel,but it is what I learned,and can be used on any metal.

    Klaus,I call the rabbet plane my "Loch Ness" model. One time the Master Craftsmen were asked to make a centerpiece for each of several large round tables where we were having breakfast with members of some forum. It was years ago. I wish I had a picture,but I don't. I sawed out an oval piece of plywood and painted it blue. Then,I made a big bunch of long,white shavings about 3/4" wide. I unrolled the shavings,and bent them every 2",gluing them down across the board to look like ocean waves. I took a new jointer plane,and carved a separate piece of beechwood for it that looked like the front of an ancient Greek or Roman ship. I made long brackets and laid them down each side,and laid Pfiel carving tools down each side to look like banks of oars. I made a block of wood to jam into the throat of the plane and drilled a hole in it to receive a wooden mast. A sail was made of alternate curved shavings of walnut and basswood. A little paper banner flew at the mast head. In the water around the ship,I put the "Nessie" rabbet plane with paper "eyes" glued to its front. Near the Nessie monster,I put 3 little brass violin planes with little wooden sails on them,too.

    The water looked great. You could see the blue in the areas between the white waves. The centerpiece was quite a hit!! The other craftsmen just put some tool from their shop in the middle of their table,without any thought. I didn't even own a camera back then.
    Last edited by george wilson; 02-03-2012 at 10:54 AM.

  9. #9
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    Nice George! I always wondered why those were called chariot planes. I'm not sure I should admit this but I had always assumed that once upon a time someone had decided that they resembled Roman chariots.

  10. #10
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    Outstanding! World class workmanship, for sure. It would be nice to see the unengraved version. Do you still own it?

  11. #11
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    I do have the un engraved one. But,right now,it looks as brown as an old penny. I'd have to take it apart and clean it up to make a decent picture. I made several of those planes,since I cast their bodies.

  12. #12
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    That is just a beautiful little plane George.
    Just curious.... is the toe slightly adjustable to open/close up the throat, is do you just file the toe after everything else is done to adjust?

  13. #13
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    George,

    Simply beautiful! I wish I had only 5% of your talent!

    T.Z.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  14. #14
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    Very nice George. I can't fathom engraving metal. What flavor hammer and what flavor chisel?

    Todd

  15. #15
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    I made the hammer and the chisel too. The larger headed of the 3 hammers is my engraving hammer. Its head is about 1 1/2"+ in diameter,and the handle is short so I can work close to the chisel.The chisels were made from old 3 corner files,but then I got some annealed 3/8" square HSS steel stock. I heated them to only a blood red,no hotter,and hammered them down to a tapered shape. The surfaces decarbed badly,but I knew that would happen. I just ground away the decarb. What I did was completely wrong(in the book) for hardening HSS. However,by heating the HSS to only a blood red,I kept the carbides from liquefying and crunched them down into tiny crystals. This made the chisels both hard enough,but also quite tough. They were just hammered until they cooled below red heat.

    The other 2 hammers are chasing hammers I turned from 1" dia. 01 drill rod. The handles were all bandsawed out and rasped to shape,then smoothed. The larger hammer was made from mild steel,and case hardened for hours to develop a deep case that wouldn't just cave in. The variegated colors on the head are from quenching in a water quench that had been used many times. It had PBC No Scale left in it and other accumulated chemicals that just made good hardening colors. It isn't the case hardening that makes the colors-it's what's in the quench.

    The handles are ash,colored with potassium permanganate(KMNO4). It might be hard for you to get as it can be used to make explosives. I got all kinds of bad stuff being in a museum. Acids you can't buy,etc..

    The KMNO4 makes a nice brown color,but carefully and lightly applied,it mimics the effect of sunlight on wood. One of the tricks I use in aging replacement parts for antiques. It is also poisonous,and will harden your skin and turn it nearly black,making it so hard you have to sand it off. It was used for poison ivy years ago by boy scouts. Ah,the good old days!! You could get it at a drug store.

    There are a few coats of Tru Oil over the KMNO4 so it doesn't rub off,and to keep it off your skin.


    PBC No Scale is a powder that you dip your tools in to protect them from getting their surfaces blackened by the heat. It flies off n the quench,leaving the tool looking like a new file,nice and clean.

    My wife thinks these hammers belong to her for some reason!! She makes jewelry. I help.
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    Last edited by george wilson; 02-03-2012 at 9:53 PM.

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