Part 2 of this series dealt with reshaping the profile.
This post is about working on the iron. If you're shaping (not sharpening) your first molding plane iron and think you've gotten the shape right, you're probably wrong. I don't mean to sound like a jerk. It's just that you really need to keep at it to get it right. During this rehab, I've learned a lot about how well the iron should match the plane's profile. If it is off just a little bit, it's not going to work as well as it could.
First, let's look at how to remove the iron from the plane. This was not obvious to me at the start. I forget where I read this technique, but it really works.
|Hold the plane with first finger in the wedge's recessed area|
|Then give the rear end a good smack with a wooden mallet and the iron and wedge will come loose|
You can also tap the back end of the iron with a metal hammer (I'd use brass if I had it) to push the iron forward until it comes loose. But the iron on this plane only barely extends further than the wedge, so I risk damaging the wedge with the hammer.
Here's a sketch of the profile of a side bead plane. The plane is upside down, with the front end towards you (like it is when you sight down the sole to check the projection of the iron). The iron is shown as a gray color.
|An even 1/64" all around|
|Iron's reveal tapers into the fence|
|Both sides of the curve of the iron recede into the plane's profile|
It's really tough to get decent pictures of the iron when it's in the plane, but I tried anyway. In the following pics, the front end of the plane is very blurry, as I've tried to get the iron in focus. And since I'm taking these pictures from a slight angle relative to the sole, it will look like there is a little bit more iron protruding than what is actually presented to the wood.
|Left side recedes into the fence too early and also too abruptly, curve shape is a little bumpy|
|Not the optimal equipment for shaping iron|
I went through at least 20 iterations of shaping and checking, so I got good at installing and removing the iron. I thought the shape was getting better - and it was - but it was only marginally better.
|Still too heavy a cut on bottom left, not enough taper into fence|
|A little better, but still not where it should be|
|Arrow points to a visible line between curve and flat - should be seamless|
I had a much sweeter result for the second beading plane, a 1/4" beader (though it had "5/16" stamped on back) from A. C. Bartlett's Ohio Planes.
|My second beading plane to rehab|
|I believe there used to be a "16" under the "5" and the "--"|
You can see the effects of several metal hammer blows.
|This is exactly what I'm looking for|
|And that gave me the beautiful profile I wanted on a test piece|
After the shape couldn't be improved any further, I needed to sharpen. All the shaping was done with files at an angle of about 25°. The sharpening was done at about 30°, so only a small amount of metal needed to be removed to get a sharp edge.
I made a jig for sharpening molding plane irons, based on the one Ralph uses.
|Molding plane iron sharpening jig|
|Burnisher used for sharpening with sandpaper|
|End view of burnisher|
|Leather "strop" for the shaped bevel|
Well, that's about it for the rehab of the H. L. James beading plane. I'm off to work on the others.
|Ready for another hundred years of use|