I have just finished a new Lough Sheelin Smoother to replace the last one I made which was given to friends of the family as a gift. If anything, this one is even nicer.
On first test she produced fine shavings measuring 0.00135 of an inch on the digital micrometer. I’m happy with that for an initial, cursory test. As before, the wood infill is Amazon Rosewood (I kept a piece from the same board that I made the last one from so that I could reproduce the plane). The wood is finished with 6 coats of Shellac Friction Polish. The adjusting knob is inlaid with an artificial ivory button and there is a diamond shaped mother of pearl inlay on the front bun. As before, the front bun is ergonomically shaped for a comfortable hand-hold; rounded on top and curved at the rear for the thumb.
Here she is sitting beside my River Inney Mitre Plane. What a pretty picture!
I had time today to give the plane a more comprehensive test. Having set the blade by hand I proceeded to take a shaving, measure it with the digital micrometer and then adjust the plane again by tapping it on the heel with my palm hammer. As plane-makers, users and tool buffs know, this has the effect of retracting the blade ever so slightly. I would then take another shaving and measure again. This process went on, reducing the thickness of the shavings until eventually the shaving began to break down.
These are the results: 0.00135 inch, 0.00125, 0.00120, 0.00115, 0.00090, 0.00055, 0.00040, 0.00025 inch.
As can be seen from the pictures, at 0.00040 I still had a reasonably viable shaving but at 0.00025 the saving was definitely beginning to disintegrate. I figured I was probably at the end of my rope here so I stopped. But not bad for a home-shop built hand plane.
Apparently, the Japanese hold the record for the thinnest plane shaving (using a simple Kanna). The magic number is 3 microns or 0.003mm. This translates to 0.00011811023622 inch. A mind bending number. Is it possible to even see a shaving this thin? So, it seems I still have a little way to go. But Hey! What’s a micron or two between friends.
Comments, opinions, criticisms even, from other makers would be welcome!