It has been an eventful day of woodworking, to say the least. (No, no ER visits.) My last woodworking session ended with me wondering how on earth I was going to plane down my drawers on a bench that is already too high for me. Here was what I finally came up with:
The two drawers I have made so far both stand proud of the carcase, so today, I started planing down the backs. I started with my smoother to relieve the ends and edges of my drawer back, and then set my jack plane to take a really rank cut and planed diagonally, and then perpendicularly.
(sorry for the blurry picture, but it does show how rank a cut I was taking.)
After I took off what I thought was enough, I test-fit the first drawer, only to discover that the drawer was not square, and therefore still did not fit properly. At least the carcase is square, which is what I’ll see every time I walk through that room. I ended up taking off probably 3/8th of an inch on the back right corner, and about 1/16th off the front left corner. My midwife did tell me to get plenty of exercise, but I doubt this is what she had in mind.
That back started at a full 3/4″ thick.
As I was trying to smooth the back, I realized that my smoother plane was leaving tracks, even though it was taking a pretty fine shaving. Upon examination, I discovered a nick in the blade. Now I have never sharpened a plane iron before – part of the agreement my husband and I have: I don’t sharpen his planes, but I have to sharpen my own. (Can you tell I haven’t had my own planes very long?) Anyway, I’ve watched him sharpen enough times that I had a pretty good idea what to do.
Do you like the water dispenser for the diamond stone? It was handy, since all of my girls still use sippy cups. Eventually, I managed to get rid of the nick and put a fairly even bevel on the blade. Then came the blade for my jack plane. It came heavily cambered, but not exactly evenly cambered. After much trial and error, I figured out how to get an even wire edge all across the camber.
As I examined drawer #2, I found that it seemed to be square, so I won’t need to take quite as much off the back. After sharpening my planes, I started adjusting the blade of the jack plane to start the rank cut on drawer #2. I set it aside after I realized that I had forgotten to relieve the edges of the drawer and was getting major tear-out. I picked up my smoother and started relieving the edges, not realizing that I had set my jack plane on the other end of the drawer and not on the workbench like I thought I had.
Yup, you guessed it. I managed to knock my jack plane off onto the floor. All of my children were within about a 5 foot radius of where I was working, so you better believe I didn’t say what went through my head. Thankfully, I have wood floors in my house, so I didn’t crack the iron. However, I did break the handle. When I took it apart to see if it could be fixed, we found that many of the threads on the long handle screw were not intact. Given that I paid $2.50 for this Birmingham plane at a rummage sale, it’s not the end of the world, but I would like to salvage it if I can. The handle is epoxied and I’ll let it dry overnight before seeing if there are still enough threads on the screw to hold it in place.