So, what happened to the wood that sparked a party?
Time in the shop is sparse in the summertime. Yet, I have found time to make a pair of grooving planes. These are destined for making grooves that hold the bottom panels of boxes. Those grooves are always the same width and the same distance from the edge of their boards. Making two planes, provides one for each grain direction.
The idea and plans came from Fine Woodworking’s Matt Kenny.
FW has the article online here. Lie-Nielsen also offers an article with plans (PDF) at no charge. That’s because Lie-Nielsen makes and sells irons for these planes. Whoa there, back up and hit that link. The only negative thing I’ve ever had to say about Lie-Nielsen is their web site has no search function. Shopping for something specific in their online catalog is like Where’s Waldo. The irons arrive fully sharpened and ready to use. But, I polished them some more.
The plane is made as a 3 layer sandwich, Krenov style. The outer layers of my planes are beech from Woodworkers Source, the people who threw a party when they packed and shipped my $32 order. I ordered sample blocks (3″ x 6″ x 1/2″) because they were very close to the sizes needed. They took only a little resawing and sizing to match the plans. I used some Cherry I already had for the 1/8″ thick inner layer and wedges. That inner layer serves as the skate and projects to the desired groove depth of 1/8″.
UPDATE – Jan 8, 2021: As Sergey noted in the comments below, Lie-Nielsen no longer sells these 1/8″ wide irons. There must not be enough demand for them. The only alternative I see is to use one of their 1/2″ irons, grind it down (ugh, what a lot of work) and re-temper it.
Matt Kenny’s Fine Woodworking article has also moved. It is in the May/June 2011 hardcopy version of the magazine. The digital version is behind a paywall for Fine Woodworking subscribers at “Make a Pair of Grooving Planes.” A downloadable version of that article, again for Fine Woodworking subscribers, is at this PDF link.
I didn’t take step-by-step photos, but you can get those from the article. Unlike Kenny’s, all of my construction was with hand tools and not at all difficult. If you make a pair, don’t fret too much with extreme accuracy. Make the rebate for the fence very accurate and the rest works itself out. After assembly, you’ll be paring or sanding the skate for smooth, but not sloppy, travel in the groove. My planes are marked “A” and “B” only to pair the respective wedges with their intended plane. Made by hand, the throats vary enough that the wedges aren’t interchangeable. Such a little nit.
What a joy to use. Pick ’em up. register and push. Smooth! And these irons cut much cleaner than those in my vintage Record 044.
Lastly, there’s also a lot of joy in dealing with a company like Woodworkers Source. Yes, the humorous shipping notice is a clever marketing ploy from a firm that has a great sense of humor. It doesn’t end there either. A follow up email from the company owner, “Craig Haggarton and The 107 Good Looking Lumber Pickers,” asks if everything arrived, was OK, post a review, etc. Yes, I’m a geek who does a lot of web development work and I know these things are a SMOP, but not every firm behaves this way. Good for them!
SMOP – Simple Matter Of Programming