Chapin Tools


Making and Using Handtools


Timber and Tools by Jerome Wallace, 1900


Narrowness of mouth in a plane is an important, if not the chief factor in the production of smooth surfaces. That part of the body of the stock and the sole immediately in front of the cutting edge exercises a compressing influence on the tissues about to be cut, and so hinders the leverage mentioned from taking effect. Thus it is evident that a wide mouth in a plane, whether due to legitimate wear or to an erroneous method of remedying clogging, is not conducive to smooth, clean work.

As has been stated in the section treating of timber, even seasoned woods are liable, under alternating changes of atmospheric dryness and humidity, to alter in form. Beech wood is no exception. This must be guarded against as far as possible, and all new planes before being used should have their stocks and wedges well saturated with raw linseed oil.

The effect is to limit hygrometric influences, and so to prevent warping, to harden the sole, and to cause the plane to work much more easily. Various methods of causing oil to permeate the wood are adopted.

That least to be recommended is rubbing the sole over with an oily rag; and another method, sometimes recommended, of placing the sole in a shallow tray with the oil about 1/8" deep, is hardly much better.

The carpenter's rule-of thumb method of plugging the mouth and filling the throat with oil has, indeed, a modern scientific basis to support it.


The experiments of Fr. Elfsing, as set forth in his "Uber die Wasserleitung im Holz," published in 1882, prove that the permeability of timber is least in the line of a radial direction (that is, from the sole of the plane upwards), slightly greater in a line parallel to a tangent to the annual ring, and greatest in a line parallel to the axis of the stem (that is, from fore end to heel).

Though the plunging overhead in oil is effectual, the frequent rubbing of oil over all parts, but especially on end grain, is equally beneficial if the throat has been previously plugged and filled. Moreover, overhead plunging is not always convenient.




Combination Planes


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