Handling Plane Floats

Two edge floats and a small cheek float with handles applied.
Two edge floats and a small cheek float with handles applied.

Finally, some handles on my plane floats. I bumped Brad to see if he would cut the stock for them while we waited for glue to dry on other projects and I was doing other things. He followed what I did on the first one for size and cut all the oak to approximately the dimensions needed. This included the kerf for the blade of the float. A couple of the handles almost look like beech, but they are all oak.

Before attaching the handle to the blade I chamfered all the edges with the first plane float I made, you could use a plane but the float was handy and a perfect time to experiment with it. The chamfers make it a lot more comfortable to hold. I also ran a smoothing plane over the flat surfaces just to give them that extra smoothness they deserve. Then I rounded the corners on the ends where the chamfers meet as I found this still a bit pointy, they went from reasonably comfortable to great feeling with this step.

Two edge floats and two large cheek floats with handles applied.
Two edge floats and two large cheek floats with handles applied.

Next I drilled holes and counter bores for the brass rivets in the wood, which was fairly easy just a little putzy. Drilling the steel was a lot more trouble than I anticipated. I had to anneal the tang of the tool before I could drill the steel. Thank goodness for my wife’s torch nearby, this made the annealing much simpler.

Once the steel was finally drilled it only took a couple of good whacks from a ball peen hammer the brass rivets are set and not going anywhere. Then I used a rather large file to make the wood and brass perfectly smooth and the brass ended up extra shiny.

Two edge floats and a small cheek float still wet from the ebonizing, they will darken as they dry.
Two edge floats and a small cheek float still wet from the ebonizing, they will darken as they dry.

Next I move onto ebonize the handles. A quick wipe down with some of the magic liquid and watch it darken right in front of your eyes. It really doesn’t take long and it is so simple to do. This is such a fun thing to do and I think it makes the handles look great too.

Once dried from the ebonizing process I put several coats of raw linseed oil on them. This gives them a nice warm glow. I think the result speaks for itself.

I am very excited to see the floats get to this stage. They will make plane construction and many other projects much easier. Now to finish sharpening them all.

Nearly the full set of floats in the fancy drying rack waiting for the raw linseed oil to dry.
Nearly a full set of floats in the fancy drying rack waiting for the raw linseed oil to dry.

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