Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Among Trees and Mountains

Here among the mountains and trees of North Carolina I was able to spend a few days working with one of the modern masters of woodworking.  If you haven't heard of David Finck, please get out from beneath the rock under which you have been living, look him up on the Internet (<---- use the link here), read his book, spin around three times and spit...DONE...good.  My apologies to the non woodworkers if insulted you; I do not really expect you to know David Finck or his work, still look it up its freaking awesome.

David studied at College of the Redwoods under James Krenov (again if you do not know James Krenov please repeat above procedure) and now builds fine furniture, guitars and offers workshops on woodworking at his shop in North Carolina.  I was lucky enough to be in the area and to take a two day workshop with David on plane making.  I had previously read David's book (which is amazing) on plane making (however it does talk about much more than just plane making) and wanted to build one of these planes, yet I was a little apprehensive about the procedure so I decide a one on one class would be just what I needed.  And boy was it an amazing experience,  I had an incredible time and learnt much more than just plane making.

Day one started nice and early on a rainy day (no better day then to be in the shop).  Right off the bat David was incredibly friendly and hospitable with a nice pot of tea ready to go.  With tea in hand it was off to the shop.  My jaw hit the floor entering his shop, woodworking Nirvana: high ceilings, lots of natural light, gorgeous tools, amazing wood and drop dead beautiful furniture pieces.

First thing on the agenda was a little sharpening discussion and block plane setup.  I wish I had been able to bring my own tools for this workshop but David was very kind and let me borrow his which was awesome.
Plane blank and assorted tools

The plane is made from some rift sawn red oak that came from David's late father (which for me is an incredible honour).  David had the blank roughed out and ready to go, so the first task was to layout some lines and cut the front piece and back piece on the bandsaw.
The back ramp and front piece laid out with pencil
using a combo square and protractor

Bandsawing the two needed pieces

With that done it was time to true up the ramps so that the plane iron would rest perfectly.
Using a block plane to true the ramp

A strafing light to help judge the ramp surface,
its needs to be dead flat, and the light shows any
dips or bumps or rough spots

Next up the drill press to drill some holes for alignment pins.  These pins are merely an aid to help with the glue-up.
Clamps hold the plane together when drill for the
alignment pins

Hand sawing and chisel parring to flush off the dowels

Next step was to rout a slot in the iron bed to allow for the chip breaker screw.  David had a jig and router setup for which made this a breeze.

After the alignment pins the cross pin was next.  In retrospect this was maybe the most complicated part of the whole build, but with a good set of directions and David's help it was no problem.  With the hole drilled it was onto a bit of shaping to get the cross pin to fit in the holes and to make it look pretty.

With that all done the plane was ready for glue up after lunch.

Hans Christopher

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