Making a Lignum Vitae Smoother (Plane), Part II

Today I trued up the body. I have never before been so glad to have my power jointer. I moved the fence all the way back to use the less-used blades and was rewarded with a much smoother cut. But it still required a little cleanup. I trued up the body with the table saw and cleaned up the cuts with a light pass over the jointer. The glue line is tight without a gap to be seen.


Next, I laid out the geometry of the plane bed, escapement, and mouth. I planned to make the mouth too tight – so that the blade wouldn’t make it through. It is easier to widen the mouth gradually than correct an overly wide one.


I began chopping out the escapement with a butt chisel ground at 30 degrees. The edge held up surprisingly well, despite the hardness of the lignum vitae. In fact, I didn’t even need to re-sharpen throughout the entire process. I used the butt chisel to get close, then switched over to a 3/4″ Blue Chip chisel and a float to sneak up on the layout lines. The float is the metal object sitting diagonally across the plane. I covered one side with masking tape to avoid inadvertently removing material.


Though the float may look like a rasp, it’s teeth are more like blades, which create shavings.


I still need to further refine the bed and escapement, as well as fit the blade to both the plane and mouth.

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