Sunday, November 8, 2009

All I know is, I call it The Stig*

I ordered the Hock 2 5/8" blade from on Sunday, and it arrived on Tuesday.  Short of placing it in Superman's back pocket and pointing eastward, I'm not sure how it arrived from California in two days.  What great service.

Sod's law dictated that the Hock blade would be slightly thinner than the L-N that I used for a test, and so I needed to make a new wedge.  The perfection of the first wedge was just dumb luck, but after a couple of tries the new article was in place.  I found that the geometry of a scraper is like a surreal bevel-down plane.  It wasn't important that the wedge hovered right above the edge, but it does need to be curved to keep the shavings (yes shavings, not dust), from gumming up the works.  Most important, it needs to bed the blade perfectly against the infill of the plane.

Ejler explains that the blade should have a standard 25 degree bevel and then a 45-50 degree secondary bevel to follow.  I use the word secondary instead of micro since I made this a full 1/16" wide.  I tried the plane both with and without a hook.  The hook works better.  I won't go into a long-winded description of how to form a hook, since a google search will give a million options.  I will say that my own scraper sharpening antics became a lot more purposeful when I used a burnisher instead of a jig and kept the pressure light -- just the weight of my hands holding the tool resting on the edge.

With no more fuss I set the scraper on a flat piece of mdf, dropped the blade in behind the post, and seated the wedge with a light tap.  It worked a treat.  Given the width of the blade it had a large surface area upon which to reference, and it immediately produced thin wisps -- revealing the previously unseen ripples that come off a board right out of the thickness planer.  I played around -- advancing the blade until I got tool chatter, skewing, squeezing my hands, loads of pressure, no pressure -- and it displayed that thing we look for in all our hand tools: personality.

And like all good tools, it also has spawned a desire for . . . wait for it . . .  more tools!  I think I'll make one  to hold a toothing blade for gnarly woods and veneering, and I really need to make an artful plane hammer for the many little taps I hope to make on The Stig over the years.

* All apologies to Jeremy, James, Richard and the entire crew of Top Gear.

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