Hand Plane Adjustments and Tuning

I just got a used Stanley #7 plane from eBay, these planes are also known as jointer planes. With their long base, they can make a very straight edge in wood, or flatten a large piece of wood. In my case, I’ll be using it to flatten my work bench top. From my research, this is a Type 15 plane, made in either 1931 or 1932. Buying a used plane I think saved me some money. The newer Stanley planes aren’t rated high on Amazon, and have plastic handles. Some say they take a lot of work to flatten and get everything right, as Stanley isn’t producing a quality product any more. Apparently the older ones were better, so I decided to go that way. There are other very nice planes you can get from Lie Nielsen or a Veritas from Lee Valley Tools. The prices for those higher end planes are a lot more.

Both wooden handles seem in great shape. I’d say there was some rust that someone cleaned off. There were a couple areas on the bottom where a tiny lump of metal was protruding, and would scratch whatever I was smoothing. The blade had lots of small dings in it, and seemed to be sharpened at a very shallow angle.

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Shop Vac Cart

I made a shop vacuum cart for a couple of main reasons. The twenty foot hose is very nice, and the Dust Deputy cyclone separator which put almost all of the dirt and shavings into the barrel, and keeps the shop vac clean, and more importantly the filter stays pristine. A clean filter keeps the suction at a maximum. I’ve been using the shop a lot more, and even though I have dust collection to all the main tools, the planer and jointer still can spit out quite a bit of shavings onto the floor, so I’ll be using the shop vac cart quite a bit. The 20 gallon drum makes it so I won’t have to empty that so often, as the shavings add up to quite a bit.

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Squaring your Squares

I’m going to go over how to check your squares, and how to fix them so they are square. This will be for a framing square and a combination square.

Also, check out the accompanying YouTube video:

You start by using a piece of plywood with one good edge. Either the factory edge that was cut when you bought it, or one you cut with your table saw. If you don’t want to make marks on the plywood, tape a piece of paper to it, and mark on the paper. Lay the short edge of the square along the plywood, draw a mark the entire length of the square. Flip the square over, and move it about 1/16″ of an inch away from the other line, and draw a second line. These lines should be parallel. You will see from the video above, that for a framing square, you can use a center punch and if your square is less than 90 degrees, hit the inside corner, if your square is more than 90 degrees, hit the outside corner with the center punch (hard), on a metal vise. This spreads the metal out ever so slightly and will move the angle of your square slightly. Be sure and check it again on the plywood, again making two marks with the pencil. See if you need to do it again. You can make several punches in a small area to spread the metal more and more if needed. Make sure and don’t go too far. Also don’t get too close to the edge, or you may mess up the straight edge, and you’d need to file that down.

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My wooden clock built from plans

Several years ago, I built a wooden clock from plans from Clayton Boyer. I really liked Solaris, but decided I better start with Simplicity, which from its name, means it should be a bit simpler to build. I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to get it running, so thought I better start simple! It went rather well. I ordered the plans, then I just cut out the paper and glued them onto the wood. From there, it is basically cutting around the lines. I used oak and baltic birch plywood for the gears. I used a scroll saw to cut out the gears and a lot of the other parts. It worked pretty well, but I think a band saw works even better for the gear teeth. The gears aren’t really as difficult as you’d think to cut out.

I did make some copies of the plans and cut out several practice gears from cheap plywood before I tried my hand on one of the final gears from baltic birch. I did make a couple mistakes and had to make a couple pieces over, but for the most part, the clock came together fairly well.

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Making a wooden mallet

I made a wooden mallet out of maple, to use when chiseling mortises for my workbench. I found some plans online and used those as well as some notes that Paul Sellers had on his mallet, and the Blue Spruce Joiner’s Mallet. This article in addition to my YouTube video, which shows many details in how this was built. So not all details are in this article, use my YouTube video, and the link above for the plans I found.

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