Monday, January 23, 2012
Attempted Wood Plane, Camping
After I ground the iron, sharpened the bevel and got the back into satisfactory condition I started working on a body made from some Red Oak I saved from a house I worked on over the summer. I've been curious to try a Japanese style setup for some time, so that's where I started with my layout. The body is about 12" long, with the blade bedded at 45 degrees, or a tad less because of the tapered iron. I think I might scrap this body, the Oak is really brittle and even being careful I ended up with quite a bit of breakout in front of the mouth. The shavings aren't too bad, but I don't think it's worth trying to go any further with fettling it. I might try again with some Cherry or Maple that I have.
In other news, I went camping a couple of weeks ago up in New York, right by the Canadian border with some friends. The high for the weekend was about 5 degrees F, with nighttime lows close to -20. A few days before we went out one of the guys that's local to the area went in with a chainsaw and cut several piles of standing dead Ash and Oak for the fire. I think we went through just about all of it in the two nights we were there. We walked in a mile or so, most of us using sleds to carry our gear over the 8" of snow. I took three axes, my Gransfors carving axe, my 3.5 pound Snow and Nealley, and a 3.75 or 4 pound antique on an experimental handle. The antique ended up splitting all the wood for the weekend, since my S&N is ground pretty thin and would just get stuck in logs, and no one else brought a big axe. The experimental handle on the antique is Maple, with the growth rings oriented perpendicular to the way traditional wisdom says they ought to be. My reasoning for trying that is that most wood splits more easily across the growth rings, and the way growth rings are oriented in a common axe handle, it seems that they would be more prone to splitting. Anyways, the handle did alright, but toward the end a large section split off. I think Maple is perhaps not the best axe handle material, and the cold also negatively affected another guy's axe handle, so perhaps that was a factor in this case. Either way, I think it merits some more experimentation. Maybe sometime I'll put together a proper scientific test.