Planemaker’s Floats Part 4

Pull Cheek Float

Pull Cheek Float

Last week I made quite a bit of progress on the planemaker’s floats I’ve been working on.  I finished the metal work on the two cheek floats (see the previous posts in this series for the process).  Over the weekend, I also made handles for three of the four floats.

2014-01-26 21.00.24

Unfortunately, I miss-marked the holes for the screws in one of the handles, so I’ll have to remake it.



The process I’m using to make the handlers is really simple.  First, I cut out a rectangular blank for the handle and layout the mortise for the float blade and then saw out the walls.  Next, I use a knife to open the mortise up a little.  Once the mortise is open enough, I use the new side float I made to fine the the fit of the blade in the handle.  Then, I mark the holes for the sawnuts and drill them.

Once I have the l last two handles made, I’ll put a couple of costs of boiled linseed oil on them and then they’ll be ready for the final installation.

This week I plan to heat-treat the blades.  The only positive aspect of the extreme cold this winter is that my father-in-law should have a nice hot fire in his wood burning stove this weekend.  It only takes about 20 minutes or so to get the steel to the critical temperature for hardening.

More on the heat-treating process next time.  Until then. . .

3 thoughts on “Planemaker’s Floats Part 4

  1. Amy Day

    Despite the ear bleeding sound Philip makes with the hacksaw and metal, these are quite amazing. What’s really amazing is what he can do with the completed floats. They really finish off projects beautifully. I’ve had the privilege of touching several pieces of finished and unfinished work to admire what the floats can do. Really is amazing.

    Also, on a humorous note from the Neanderthal’s Wife, when you walk around the office with a handsaw, people treat you differently. Being the recipient of Philip’s eBay purchases, I regularly turn heads within the office with handsaws, drills, and various hand tools. Being Mrs. Neanderthal is quite the adventure!

    1. Phil Day Post author

      As I understand it, there is always a risk of warping during heat treatment. I chose O1 steel for the floats because it requires a slower quench (oil doesn’t absorb the heat as quickly as water) than a water quenching steel. If I understand it correctly, there is typically less warping when the steel cools more slowly. I have done a little bit of metal working before and haven’t had a problem with O1 before.


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