Starless and Bible Black

 

Image

Storms are rolling in from the Atlantic bringing catastrophic flooding, very high winds and there is many a tree being brought down around where we live. That means free unseasoned timber if you have a chainsaw and something to haul it away in – there’s always an upside.

But that was not what I was focussing on today.  I was focussing on the chunk of lustrous black timber I dug out of my stock that came from much further afield. I have a piece of African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon) and I am going to make a smoothing plane out of it (its tuff stuff to photograph too).

But here’s a thing: whenever I consider designing something in terms of its function I tend to approach it in a different way than if I think only of its form.  To design my wooden smoother using Lee Valley’s kit I decided to take a function based approach.

How does a smoothing plane function?  It creates a finely polished surface by utilising a very sharp blade, a relatively short (but very flat) sole and a tight mouth.

 Image

The Lee Valley PMV11 blade supplied in the smoother hardware kit (with its neat Norris style adjuster) will certainly provide my plane with the first of these and a certain amount of diligence and (hopefully) skill will provide the other two.

That’s not  all there is to it though… Certainly it is desirable for a plane to have a certain amount of mass (even a small one) and, if it is to be long-lived, the sole must be very wear resistant.  Reviewing these requirements led to the conclusion that a single species might not cover off all of the requirements… Therefore I have decided to use two species: My piece of African Blackwood for the body and a sliver of Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum sanctum), for the sole.  Originally I tried to get hold of a piece of Buloke (which is even harder than Lignum and, in theory at least, more wear resistant) but I think I may have been better advised to stand at the rear of a rocking horse for a while.

So, I have my materials.  Enough of words.  It is time to do.

– Paul Mayon

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s