Making a Lignum Vitae Smoother (Plane), Part V

Okay, I know that it’s been a while since I updated you on the progress on my smoother. I’ve ground the blade to a shorter angle which works much better. I installed the wedge, set the blade with light taps, then secured the wedge and blade with one knock to the top of the wedge.

Time to try it out! I secured a piece of maple in the vise and made a pass. Nothing. I checked the depth of cut and gave the blade a rap to slightly increase the depth of cut. A small shaving appeared out of the left corner. Okay. I knocked the blade on the left side to straighten up the blade and another knock to increase the depth. Nothing. I set the blade a little deeper – it should definitely be cutting now. Still nothing.

So I delivered a firm blow to the back of the plane to loosen the wedge and removed the blade for inspection. To my surprise, the edge had been rolled. It turns out that while the steel still has a high carbon content, it is very soft. So I need to harden it. Oh, boy! It’s probably feasible to heat treat a small knife blade with a torch, but a 1/2″ thick plane blade? Yeah, right. Um, what next?

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