This morning I decided to finish the Hock shoulder plane kit I started last night. I left the plane clamped up overnight to be sure that the glue was completely dry. Firstly I chopped off the allignment dowels with a chisel and then used the table saw to rip the top section of the plane down where the dowels had been. Then I proceeded to flatten the sides of the plane. For that process I used one foot square pieces of sandpaper with the table saw as my flat reference surface. I started with a heavy 40 grit paper and progressed up to 220 because the glue up left some very slight high spots where the plane parts met. After about ten minutes of sanding I had it where I wanted it and then flattened the sole of the plane. That operation went much more quickly and soon I had a nice, square plane.
After the plane was sanded I trimmed each end off at a 5 degree angle using the table saw again. I then cut a steeper angle at the top of each end using a carcase saw which I later rounded over using a file and a sandpaper. I hardly did a perfect job but it turned out okay. With the plane shaped I turned to fitting the iron to the mouth. Firstly, I did a little work on the wedge, flattening it with the sandpaper until I had the fit I wanted. I used a little guesswork along with some common sense to fit the wedge. This is my first wood shoulder plane and so I had to learn as I was doing. When the wedge seemed right I set the iron in place and wedged it slightly. I then used a very sharp chisel to pare away at the mouth until the iron just peeked through, which is what the instructions recommend. I took a few practice shavings. I was able to take full-length shavings on both a 1/2″ wide and 3/4″ wide pine scrap board. However, those full length shavings also filled up the plane quickly. This may be common on a wood shoulder plane; I’m not exactly sure. I was again pleasantly surprised with how easily adjustments were made: a light tap on the iron advanced it forward, and few light taps on the back retracted it back. Finally, with the iron still in the plane but retracted back, I again flattened the sole using just the 220 grit paper. This final flattening with the plane iron inserted is also recommended by the instructions. Supposedly the plane body deforms ever so slightly when the iron is inserted and wedged, especially for the first time, and it’s good to flatten the bottom with the iron set. I personally couldn’t see a difference but I’m not the expert.
With everything finished I gave the entire plane a very light sanding just to ease the edges. I then put on a coat of linseed oil, using q-tips to get in the tight places. Later on I will wipe it down again and apply one or two more coats. I will admit that I really did enjoy this project. It was not as fool-proof as the block plane build. In theory I probably should have moved to the Krenov style kit first but I’m not in need of a smoothing plane at the moment. Time will tell but I think I did a good job on this one. I know one thing for certain, and that is the iron for this plane is RAZOR sharp. Just touching it can produce a cut. I would love to try my hand at making a wood jointer plane. I know there are a few good books on the subject, but I’ve yet to see a kit for making one so I will most likely need to do it from scratch. To my surprise, I’ve discovered that I enjoy making tools, though I wouldn’t want to spend all of my woodworking time doing that only, and I’ve also discovered that I like wood planes. I can say that I never had anything against them, I just never really used one before, not for real. But it seems to me that making adjustments are much easy and less fussy than with a metal plane, even a Lie Nielsen. There is a much greater level of control, and they feel good in your hands. I don’t know if this is the right phrase for it, but I like to think that I am growing as a woodworker. Who would have thought?