09 August 2018

Latest Project; New Tools

two round planes
My most recent project left me with a dilemma. I've been using three sources for this reproduction effort, which I shall write fully about anon. The piece is full of interesting details, each with its merits and relevance. In particular is a crown molding detail that required me to consider purchasing new tools to adequately complete it or to get by just using card scrapers. Since I am in China, I must abide by the market limitations in choosing what I can reasonably obtain.
Mujinggfang is a woodworking tool company that I have written about and critiqued previously so this essay follows in that vein. I was able to buy these planes readily from Taobao, guessing at what sizes might suit my needs to create the cove of the lower section of the molding. The planes are marked as veining planes, which likely accords to their intended uses in Chinese woodworking, which I cannot comment on because I have never seen anybody using these planes in China. As such they don't conform in terms of geometry with European style hollows and rounds.
Not quite circular but roundish
I bought 6mm and 10mm models, thinking that I could makedo within this range. I knew that I could rough in the contours by ripping on a tablesaw but that refining the profiles with only a card scraper would be too tedious.
After receiving the planes, I set about to sharpen them. I found that the blades can do with an upgrade. It's not clear why there is a slight taper along the length but this isn't even the main problem. The blade appears to be stamped out of a rather soft steelish metal. I noticed while lapping the back of one that the length appeared warped; so with finger pressure, I merely pressed it flat enough to continue. Yeah.

The bed angle is at about 45 degrees but that is about the only overlapping feature. This is not a side escapement so keeping the throat clear is markedly more difficult, As can be seen with the above wedge, it doesn't have a flat bottom. I don't know whether I have a faulty model or this is how it is supposed to look.
Roughed out cove and astragal
Adjusting this plane is also very challenging. Since the plane has such little mass, the blade cannot be tapped back with a hammer. The small chamfered head of the wedge makes tapping it forward and retracting it also a challenge. I managed to shape the cove section of the molding. Upon reflection, these veining planes are likely intended for making fluting on furniture elements. They were difficult enough to use in SYP so I am mystified as to how Chinese furnituremakers, who routinely use tropical hardwoods, manage to use these same planes effectively.

The completed molding profile
I don't have many complaints about the results. I was in a bind and these planes helped me out. And so I present a sample as a teaser for those who follow as to what the ongoing project is. I shall be writing more fully about it and offer a critique of its significance.
Happy Summer

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