So, to get started,
you’ll need some O1 tool steel in the appropriate dimension. Todd
demonstrates making floats from O1 dimensioned 3/16” by 1” in cross
section. Lie-Nielsen sells some that are 3/16” thick in their
catalog, but more often seems to use 1/8” stock.
The reason for the
narrower thickness is evident when watching Larry Williams’s
approach to plane making in the video available from L-N. It becomes
pretty obvious as Larry works that the thinner floats provide better
access in tight places.
So start with
whatever thickness you think will work best for you. The first float
I made was 3/16”, the second (used for the pictures here) was 1/8”.
You’ll need a 1” wide piece of steel about 7 inches long. That
length will give you 5 1/2” for the business end with 1 1/2” to
attach a handle.
Paint one face of the
steel with layout fluid and let it dry. Use a scribe to mark the cut
lines. I chose to do all the marking before doing any cutting, as
shown in the picture below. My layout uses a tang for attachment to
a handle. If you want to use scales, along the lines of the L-N
tools, your layout will be different.
Put the steel in a
vise and use a hacksaw to cut to the lines. Note in the pictures
that follow that either the hacksaw or my hacksawing skills (more
likely) leave something to be desired.
I made a couple of
mistakes when doing the cutting. You’ll see the original layout mark
on the tang, which I overcut on one side. This necessitated cutting
the other side deeper. Longer tang, shorter tool.
When cutting the
ramp for the business end, the blade drifted through my layout line.
I made some adjustments, and though the float isn’t as symmetrical
as I would have liked, I think it still turned out to be a good,
I draw three lessons
from my sawing experience:
plenty of room when cutting.
often and make needed corrections early
isn’t the end of the world.
There will be some
finishing work no matter how accurately you cut. Inaccurate cuts
will just require more finishing.
The ramp, where the
teeth will be cut, needs to be jointed. The next few pictures show
how the ramp was finished.