Richard Kell Sundials and Handtools

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Design Gallery 3

Woodworkers Hand Plane

Woodworker's Hand Plane

I made several woodworkers hand planes around 1978/80. But up here in Northumberland there was never the opportunity to handle the real thing, never seen. The infills are rosewood, the sides are nickel silver and the soles are gauge plate, a wrong combination I now realise. At the time I'd never examined such planes in real life therefore didn’t know about dovetailed construction. I unfortunately used pinned and silver soldered construction. We live and learn! Yet in my defence I must state that they are very square and very flat. I did start construction of a plane with an adjustable mouth; priorities then dictated I devote time to other things. I made my own gauge plate irons, i.e. oil hardening tool steel. The shoulder plane has a 7-5/8 inch long sole and I got the outline from the front cover of a Christie’s old tool sale catalogue circa 1980. Forty years later I've worked the old tool thing out of my system, yet the insight and experience remains and enriches my outlook. The chariot plane incorporates my own design adjusting mechanism, at the time I was hoping to develop commercial possibilities for these planes, though I soon realised you could buy the original article for less than I could make them. Of the two, the shoulder plane is a better tool and is a joy to use. I used the shoulder plane most recently to produce accurate square walnut section for three skeletal cubes forming a kinetic sculpture or mobile for David Linley's Pimlico, London Showroom. Because of the tricky compound mitred corner joints, being able to process the walnut section through bench planing formes enabled me to typically maintain plus two thou/minus zero tolerance on the section which meant life was made much easier when the section progressed through the mitre cutting and glue assembling jigs. It is interesting to draw a simple force diagram illustrating the shear forces present at the glue joint and how inevitable it is to breaking apart, hidden silver soldered reinforcement would have solved this but was not accepted by the bods in charge, however I was complemented on the quality of the end result. - my workshop blog.

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