Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mini Coffin Smoother, Part 2

I used 01 tool steel to make the blade for the coffin smoother and followed the same procedure as a previous post in heat treating and tempering the blade.

Once the blade is made, you can work on fitting the wedge to the plane body. Slide both into the throat and tweak the wedge with files, chisels or other tool of choice, until a tight fit is achieved.

You need to be sure that the bed is perfectly flat. To check this, hold the plane up to a light with the wedge and blade in place, and sight beneath the blade to see if you can see any light shining through.

By lightly passing the back of the blade over a candle, you blacken it with soot. Slide the blade and wedge back into the body and pull them out again. The soot from the iron will reveal high spots on the bed of the plane--the areas that need to be flattened.

Of course I had to take the plane for a test drive before it's shaped to its final form.


Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

Looking savage so far (that's a compliment in my neck of the woods,BTW).
Can't wait to see that foxy wee chick with her gladrags on...

EMBO said...

Where do you get your steel?

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks, Adrian! She can't hold a candle to your bejeweled African Blackwood smoother, though.

Emily, that particular piece is from a neighbor who's a machinist, but I've bought steel from MSC Direct, too.

John Cashman said...

Very nice. The grain on the pear, or lack of it, looks great. I'm going to have to find a piece of that.

I gleaned a great piece of wisdom from planemaker Bill Carter. For truing up beds he took a thick firmer chisel, heated it cherry red, and quenched it to get a super hard chisel. He didn't temper it, and ground the edge to just under ninety degrees, and uses it as a scraper. It works wonders on taking down high spots. I use it on planes and backgrounds in carving.

Have you settled on a final size and shape? And how about the carving?

Anonymous said...


Great set of posts! I can't wait to see the final product.

Is it taboo to ask how much time it took to get to this point?

Hope all is well with you!


David said...

Wow Again! Look like you have a lot of great wood working talents! I'm eager to see the finished plane!
Great as ususal!
Thank you
French Candian David

David said...

Ho and on the new picture of you, did you make all these Krenovs planes? it look like a nice cabinet!
Do you have more pics?
Thank you again.
French Canadian David

Woodbloke said...

Kari - this is going to be a nice little plane. The tip about Bill Carter is a good one...I saw at West Dean (Chichester UK) how he used ground down chisels (at 90deg) as scrapers to remove material from very hard, close grained timber, so the technique would probalby work in pearwood (a timber I've never used but it's on my tuit list) - Rob

Bob Rozaieski said...

Looking good Kari! I've had a smaller (6-7") high angle (55) smoother on my tuit list for awhile now. Hasn't been a priority since I already have a 45 and a 50. Someday.....

Kari Hultman said...

John, thank you for the tip on the chisel scraper--that's a great idea!

I haven't come up with a final design/shape/carving yet--and will probably make a prototype first. I'd love to make something highly carved, but I don't have the skills yet.

Woody, I'm not sure how much time I've put into it. Maybe 12 hours? That includes making the blade, but I'm still very slow.

French Canadian David, I did make all the planes in the photo. You can see all the planes I've made so far if you search the blog post title--Not Ready for Primetime Planes--in the search bar.

Rob, it sounds like he pushed the tool as a scraper rather than pulled it, right?

Pearwood is awesome--I must get more.

Thanks, Bob! :o)

Unknown said...

Philly better watch out !
Really-really looking good Kari.
Nice post.

Shannon said...


Great post, but those shavings look a bit thick for a smoother, did you set it pretty rank? What a great tip about the chisel/scraper. I bought one of Jameel's skrapers at WIA and have found it to be great for flattening a face in a small area and I think I will use it like a float in this capacity.

Kari Hultman said...

Tom, Philly has absolutely nothing to worry about. ; )

Shannon, you're exactly right. I can get somewhat finer shavings, but not as fine as they should be. I need to fettle with it a bit more.

Krenov planes are a lot easier to make (for me, at least). This type of plane--the solid body ones--seem to need to be used for awhile, where the wedge & iron get settled into their optimum position, before they start performing well. I don't know if real planemakers would agree with that or not. Probably not, as they would just make them correctly in the first place! :D

Konrad said...


Yes - Bill pushes his scraper chisel. And it works amazingly well.

Great plane - and a sweet piece of pear too.