|A cheap plane is not necessarily a bad one|
Yesterday I pulled out an old Ambika #5 Jack plane that I had discarded some years ago. That was when I was relatively new to woodworking and was struggling to get a hand plane to work. I didn’t know too much about sharpening or about planes in general. I went through several planes, junking most of them until I settled for a brand that makes good planes.
Yesterday, however, I decided to pull out the old plane because I was working more and more with my two Shobha Jack Planes (a #5 and a #5 ½ ). These planes are great at levelling wood and doing most of the work in flattening pieces.
I thought I would convert the old Ambika into a scrub plane of sorts by adding a cambered blade iron.
I checked the Ambika sole for flat and found it was pretty good but decided to do a bit of flattening for good measure.
|Silicon Carbide powder|
I have found that silicon carbide powder (66 grit), which is relatively easy to locate in milling stores, does fast work of removing metal. I put a bit of the powder on a 320 grit sandpaper stuck on a piece of flat glass and gave it a good rub for a few minutes and the sole was done.
I gave the blade a very slight camber and honed a fine secondary (or micro?) bevel on it.
|Secondary bevel [courtesy: www.inthewoodshop.com]|
That was that and the plane worked like a charm. I was astounded!
Made me wonder why I had junked it in the first place; realised it was because of my inexperience.
The plane was sound but not my sharpening at that point of time. I also did not know how to adjust the iron so that it was perfectly parallel with the sole.
Now that I know better I realise a low cost plane is not necessarily a bad plane because it is cheap. I now have a terrific Ambika Jack plane for which I would have paid just Rs 600 or so.
It works as good as my more expensive planes and takes off super fine shavings. I tried it on a piece of White Oak and it worked like a darling!
14 February 2016