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Rule

I was talking to a machinist friend, non rodmaker, who had the idea that a stainless form could be made fairly easily with a CDC milling machine.  Anyone tried this? Also, has anyone tried using tempered springs instead of push bolts in their forms? Third, wouldn't recessing the heads on the allen head pull bolts make the form more versatile for mills?  (Wayne Kifer)

    Recessing the heads would  help keep from skinning your knuckles. I used Countersunk Allen head screws on my forms. Helps keep the forms aligned without dowel pins. (Tony Spezio)

      Wanted to thank you for your suggestions. I think the flat head allen screws are inspired. It will get the heads of the allen screws out of the way (which I hated on my wooden forms) and the indexing feature saving the need for dowel pins is superb!  (Steve Trauthwein)

        The use of flathead Allen screws is definitely a good idea but just to throw a burr in your screw holes: IF the use of dowel pins is necessary in forms as are made by conventional means, how would they not be necessary in forms when the flathead screws are used? I mean, the indexing is achieved on the shoulder when shoulder screws are used, or on the angled head of the flathead screws. I don't see any difference other than the methodology in use.  (Martin-Darrell)

          I don't quite understand your post.

          On my "homemade" forms, I find that I have no problem at all keeping the sides aligned without the dowel pins using the countersunk flat head Allen screws. My strips come out as well as can be done by hand. They are all within .001 and have a perfect 60 degree angle. What more can I ask for.

          When the screws are tightened the counter sink keeps the bars aligned. I may be wrong about this but if it works for me I use it.

          I have second set of  "professional" made forms the Allen screw heads really knock the skin off my knuckles. It may be the way I hold my plane that gets my knuckles. Don't know.  On the "Push" side I removed the Allen head screws and replaced them with "Set" screws. No heads showing now. No knuckles busted when I "have" to use these forms. This set has dowel pins.

          Will not go into how bad these forms were professionally made by a professional machinist.  I acquired them second hand and found out why he dumped them.  (Tony Spezio)

            All I'm saying is that I fail to understand how the use of flathead screws would negate the need for dowel pins, if properly spaced dowel pins are necessary for forms made with shoulder screws (and I believe they are).  The streamlined feature accorded by the use of flathead screws would, to me, seem to be a definite improvement, though I've never had problems with the protruding heads.  (Martin-Darrell)

              I might be able to answer. Think of it like a tail stock center centering a piece of stock between the head stock and tail stock. The cone of the tail stock will center itself in the hole of the work piece and keep it centered with the head stock. I think for now that is the best I can do to answer. (Tony Spezio)

                I can see your point, but I still don't see how this would keep the bars from being torqued between stations. It has been suggested to me that perhaps the tolerance of the bolt to thread fit might have more to do with this than what type of bolt head was used, and I think this has merit.  (Martin-Darrell)

                  I do have a close fit between the threads and the bolt hole, that might be it. All I know it works for me. I know that dowel pins work but to me it seems they will bind if they fit tight. If loose then what good do they do to keep alignment.

                  I might mention. the forms I made are from 1 1/2" by 5/8" X 52". bars. That is what I found in a scrap yard.  (Tony Spezio)

Rule

I was talking to a machinist friend, non rodmaker, who had the idea that a stainless form could be made fairly easily with a CDC milling machine. Anyone tried this? Also, has anyone tried using tempered springs instead of push bolts in their forms? Third, wouldn't recessing the heads on the allen head pull bolts make the form more versatile for mills?  (Wayne Kifer)

    Recessing the heads would help  keep from skinning your knuckles. I used Countersunk Allen head screws on my forms. Helps keep the forms aligned without dowel pins.  (Tony Spezio)

      Wanted to thank you for your suggestions. I think the flat head allen

      screws are inspired. It will get the heads of the allen screws out of the way (which I hated on my wooden forms) and the indexing feature saving the need for dowel pins is superb!  (Steve Trauthwein)

      The use of flathead Allen screws is definitely a good idea but just to throw a burr in your screw holes: IF the use of dowel pins is necessary in forms as are made by conventional means, how would they not be necessary in forms when the flathead screws are used? I mean, the indexing is achieved on the shoulder when shoulder screws are used, or on the angled head of the flathead screws. I don't see any difference other  than the  methodology in  use.  (Martin-Darrell)

        I don't quite understand your post.

        On my "homemade" forms, I find that I have no problem at all keeping the sides aligned without the dowel pins using the countersunk flat head Allen screws. My strips come out as well as can be done by hand. They are all within .001 and have a perfect 60 degree angle. What more can I ask for. When the screws are tightened the counter sink keeps the bars aligned. I may be wrong about this but if it works for me I use it.

        I have second set of  "professional" made forms the Allen screw heads really knock the skin off my knuckles. It may be the way I hold my plane that gets my knuckles. Don't know. On the "Push" side I removed the Allen head screws and replaced them with "Set" screws. No heads showing now. No knuckles busted when I "have" to use these forms. This set has dowel pins. Will not go into how bad these forms were professionally made by a professional machinist.

        I acquired them second hand and found out why he dumped them.  (Tony Spezio)

          All I'm saying is that I fail to understand how the use of flathead screws would negate the need for dowel pins, if properly spaced dowel pins are necessary for forms made with shoulder screws (and I believe they are). The streamlined feature accorded by the use of flathead screws would, to me, seem to be a definite improvement, though I've never had problems with the protruding heads.  (Martin-Darrell)

            Think of it like a tail stock center centering a piece of stock between the head stock and tail stock. The cone of the tail stock will center itself in the hole of the work piece and keep it centered with the head stock. I think for now that is the best I can do to answer.  (Tony Spezio)

              I can see your point, but I still don't see how this would keep the bars from being torqued between stations. It has been suggested to me that perhaps the tolerance of the bolt to thread fit might have more to do with this than what type of bolt head was used, and I think this has merit.  (Martin-Darrell)

                I do have a close fit between the threads and the bolt hole, that might be it. All I know it works for me. I know that dowel pins work but to me it seems they will bind if they fit tight. If loose then what good do they do to keep alignment.

                I might mention. the forms I made are from 1 1/2" by 5/8" X 52". bars. That is what I found in a scrap yard.  (Tony Spezio)

Rule

I have a young friend who wants to build a bamboo rod, and who is quite undeterred by the difficulties inherent in that procedure. Isn't that, in itself, amazing?

We are at the planing form stage of the organization. I think that he has pretty well  made up his mind about the planes,  the irons, etc., and I will provide him with all the measuring devices to start with, at any rate.

So tell me this, all you hand planers. If you were starting again, from scratch, what would you choose from which to make your forms?

Brass, bronze, cold-rolled mild steel, hot- rolled mild steel, 4140, BMS, or what? Please don't take into consideration the price. Prices are likely to be very different in this country anyway, so just base your decision on suitability of material.

I will be very interested to hear what you all have to say. And, no, Tony, we are not neglecting to think about wood!  (Peter McKean)

    Personally I think wood is a good bet for the first set of forms as they are a lot easier to make and therefore less time and aggravation is spent before your first rod is done.

    The first rod can be a daunting task if it is done on ones own. Wooden forms removes some of the travail in the learning curve.  (Steve Trauthwein)

      I made my first couple of rods on wood and I have always regretted that they looked like something the dog dragged in from the forest.  To begin with go for the best.  Cold Rolled steel has been working great for quite a long time.  Why change.  (Ralph Moon)

        I really disagree with the idea wood forms can't be made well. They can made to what ever precession you want to go for. The only hassle with it is depending on the wood there will be changes in the dimensions from one week to the next but so what? Assuming you set the forms and make the rod within the same season the variation wont be diddly.

        Choose a tight, straight grained wood, hardwood or soft. I used Jarrah and Mike Roberts used Meranti, either work fine. Meranti is a hardwood I know but it's soft to work with.

        As far as making the forms accurate, either make them the same way you would steel, use a long plane like a #6 or #7 or a surfacer or planer or what ever you like to call the stationary planer that you can set an angle on.

        You can make the form adjustable perfectly well too.

        When planing the bamboo strip you don't take any wood off the forms unless they're not entirely flat in the first place and with use the form gets flatter all the time.

        Because you set the forms based on the surface any wood that is removed from time to time makes no difference at all unless you've dished the surface somehow but you'd have to want to do that, it doesn't happen in practice. What does in fact happen is the form surface gets more and more fair with use.

        You don't plane along a steel form chipping the plane iron once you've planed the strip to size any more than you would plane further than you need to on a wooden form.

        There is no need to mill a slot in the sole of the plane for reasons of clearance either to avoid chipping and prolong the edge either.

        Properly made wooden forms are perfectly good.  (Tony Young)

    Though I can't recall the particular alloy, I'd make my first forms from leaded steel.  Chief reason for using the leaded steel rather than one of the harder alloys being its working ease with hand tools.  Steel forms are so much more stable than wood that the extra challenges in putting them together pay many long range dividends.

    I'll go one further, and say that I'd build it according the Lawrence Waldron's design, found on Tom Penrose's web page -- but I'd stick with 3/4" stock.

    Now if I had access to a truly great machinist, and a whole shop full of high dollar tools, I might change my mind.  (Harry Boyd)

      I made my form from brass and have never regretted it. Very easy to machine with hand tools, rust not a problem and looks nice on the bench.  (Marty DeSapio)

    Wood planing form can make very accurate rods but your approach to planing has to be different.  You don't just set your forms and plane till you hit the top of the forms with the plane blade.  When I plane my strips on wood forms I'm constantly checking the measurements and sneak up on the final dimensions, I usually scrape off the last thousandths.

    My forms are are wood but have a cold rolled steel heart.  The wood is built around two steel bars which are drilled and tapped, then the wood which has a dado down the center is epoxied to the wood.  It seems to work well for me.  (Tim Stoltz)

    If I was starting over I would still make both maple & cold-roll forms.

    Stability is not an issue with wood forms, how much can the wood change between adjusting & planning? Think you could measure it?

    As far as accuracy is concerned depends on how accurate you make either.

    Two tools, File Plane & Lathe Bit Plane, that will make cutting the groove easier can be found in two "how to" articles I wrote. One is in Power Fibers & the other is on Todd's Site. If you can't find them, I'll send them to you.  (Don Schneider)

    I was always taught by my Dad that buy the best that you can afford and if it the best then so much the better.  This way you only have to buy it once.  I have always kept to this thinking and in the long run, even if I had to wait a little longer, it was always the best decision.  (Bret Reiter)

Rule

I am a newbie to this art/science/passion/black hole for income.

I have procured some of the tools and am busy reading every book I can get (OK - buying and reading  [:)] I do not yet have any planing forms.

I tend to agree with the comments that I should make the forms myself.  I do not feel competent, but that has not stopped me much through the years, so I am following that path.  I intend to use wood for the roughing forms, but I am unsure on what material to use for the final planing forms.

A local machinist commented that CRS would be a bad choice because milling the edge groove would break the skin on the CRS and free the internal stresses - which would potentially cause the pieces to twist.  Sounds logical to me - but CRS has been used for forms from the days of King Tut (well, maybe not that long).  One comment I read was that CRS was the affordable medium for Garrison.  He commented that hot rolled steel would be better.

My question is - what other materials should be considered?  I live in Alberta, where a humid day has about 5% humidity (slight exaggeration), so rust is not the biggest concern (vs. my birthplace where stainless steel would corrode away overnight by comparison).  Cost is an issue, but I would like to make an informed decision of cost:benefits.  (Greg Dawson)

    I originally had steel not cold rolled and it would not cut. I could not use a hand tool to make the V until I got CRS.  (Rich McGaughey)

      My understanding (little as it may be) is that you'd want steel that had been cooled slowly (as in annealing).  If cooled quickly, the steel would become hardened.  (George Bourke)

    If I had it to do over again, I'd search out some steel with higher than normal lead content.  I don't remember the number, but I think it was something like EN1A.  (Troy??)  Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. When working with hand tools it will cut and tap more easily but still take plenty of abuse.

    Now hasn't anyone told you that 99% of all the machinists in the world will have a difficult time making forms for you?  The archives are filled with horror stories of guys who asked their local machine shop to make forms, and never got them right.  I don't think that CRS is any problem at all when worked with hand tools.  But that's not the case on a milling machine, etc.  If you ask a machinist to do any part of the work for you, consider asking them to do the drilling and reaming for dowel pins, and drill and tap the push-pull bolts.  (Harry Boyd)

      I replied to Greg off list, but I did what you suggested when replacing my old forms. I found a machinist who I felt understood what the forms needed to do and gave him the details from Thomas Penrose's site (it also helped that this guy was connected to the net and could have a look at the pictures for himself).

      The machinist did a great job and now I just have to finish them off.   (Callum Ross)

    I used 4140, but that's a bit of overkill merely for forms. Very durable, though as such it's more difficult to work with than, say, 1214, or some such leaded-content steel.  (Martin-Darrell)

    I made my set out of  3/4" x  3/4"  Brass bars. It machines with hand tools nicer than CRS and is more flexible in adjustment (swelled butts) If I were ever to make another set I would use the same.  (Marty DeSapio)

    I'll put in my two cents worth if you don't mind.

    First, there is no difference in alloy composition between hot rolled steel and cold rolled steel.  Both are low carbon 1018 alloy steel.  The difference is in the physical treatment and resultant physical attributes of each.

    Hot rolled steel comes out of the furnace and is run through a set of rollers which form the steel into its final shape, square, round, what have you. Now, the things to note about hot rolled are, dimensionally the bar won't be exactly, say, 1 inch square, it usually won't be perfectly square, and finally, it will have an outer layer of 'scale' (oxidized layer) which is usually a real hard layer and a pain to deal with. (You can remove the scale by soaking the hot rolled in an acid bath).

    Cold rolled, on the other hand, is hot rolled steel which has been run through extra rollers to make it closer to square and to dimension.  The steel will also have been run through an acid bath to remove the outer layer of scale. The benefit of using cold rolled over hot rolled for the purpose of making forms is that you start off with fewer variables and a better surface texture than you would get with hot rolled.

    When hot rolled is processed, the scale makes small indentations in the surface of the steel as it is squeezed through the rollers and results in a rougher surface than you find on cold rolled.

    As for stress release and cold rolled, personally, I haven't had a problem with this. (Mike Shaffer)

Rule

I'm looking for steel bars to make a new set of planing forms. Does anyone know where to get it, especially in the Denver/Front Range area.

I called one place that had 1x1 cold rolled steel and they gave me a price of $97.  What should  I expect to pay for something like this?  (Chris Hei)

    Try metal supermarket (Google)  and see if they exist in your area.  You should get it for less than fifty bucks for twelve feet.  (Dick Steinbach)

    I think you get what you pay for. With new metal you know what you are getting. It will be clean, no rust and square corners. With metal you get from a scrap dealer you have no idea. You may get metal that is fine, easy to work and inexpensive but that is pure luck or you get a nightmare. For the extra money spent, I'd rather know what I'm getting. You are going to have a lot of time invested in building your forms and the expense of the metal is important but should not the deciding factor.  (Don Schneider)

      Metal Express looks like $41 plus shipping for 72" x 2 bars.  (Paul Franklyn)

Rule

I'm sure it's been discussed before, but I've searched the net and the archive and can't find the info I am looking for. Could someone tell me why use cold rolled steel -- as opposed to hot rolled steel or other bar stock -- for planing forms? What is the difference between these types of steel, especially as it relates to making planing forms? Thanks for your help.  (Jim Sabella)

    A long time ago, there was such a discussion here. There is a trade off. On the one hand, cold rolled steel has better thickness tolerance, so there's less filing to even the surfaces up, On the other hand, there is a possibility of residual stress in the cold rolled material,  which could cause it to warp as metal is removed. I seem to recall someone mentioning a product called keystock that is of higher quality, and a better deal to work with, though more expensive. If I were going to make a set, I think I would try to find some. In my original forms,  I did use cold rolled, and had no problems.  (Tom Smithwick)

    Generally, because the method of forming is only part of the equation...

    HRS is very rough, due to the oxides on the surface. These can be removed by blasting or pickling, but the resulting surface is still not smooth. The outer skin is also decarburized as a result of being hot milled. This is of no real concern for planing forms, of course.

    HRS is generally soft, relative to a CRS of the same chemical composition. No heat treating takes place, it is what it is. In addition, it can vary across the width of the strip.

    HRS generally will vary widely in dimensional tolerance as well as straightness. The corners will generally be somewhat rounded.

    CRS is smooth - the finish is as good as the finish on the rollers.

    CRS is work hardened during the rolling process, then subsequently annealed to a consistent hardness.

    CRS maintains tight dimensional tolerances (although most of us would be surprised by the actual tolerances, especially for straightness). The corners are sharp.

    CRS is more costly, due to the additional steps in the manufacturing process.  (Larry Blan)

      I have heard that stress relieved steel is better. not trying to be contrary here. is cold rolled stress relieved or is it something different?  (Timothy Troester)

        He didn't ask about stress relieved..   :)

        I should have added that to my description - thanks Tom!

        Cold rolled   is   not   stress   relieved.   Theoretically,   a stress-relieved steel would be better, but I doubt that the little bit filing that we do will have much effect on quality C1018. That said, there is a proliferation of cheap imported steel out there. Like just about anything, it is tough to go wrong by starting out with the best you can get. There are also the leaded steels which are easier to machine. They are not stress relieved either, though.  (Larry Blan)

          12L14 round bar turns a LOT nicer than 1018. I don't know what the comparative pricing is between the two.  The probable advantage for machining would be easier drilling and tapping.  Don't know about filing the flats and grooves on 12L14 though.  (Larry Swearingen)

            Back when I used to buy things for a living, I bought 1000's of feet of bar stock. The fellers in the tool room loved using 12L14 when they could. I've never tried filing it, but it can't be more difficult, and the ease of drilling and tapping would make it worthwhile as far as I am concerned. The difference in price of a bar of C1018 Vs 12L14 is insignificant. McMaster-Carr is not the best place to buy steel from in terms of price, but it is great for cost comparisons. A 6' bar of 3/4" C1018 is $28.50, the same piece in 12L14 is $31.50.  (Larry Blan)

              Depending on where you live, there may be a source of 12L14 steel within a reasonable driving distance.  Check your yellow pages under "steel distributors".  Even with gas prices what they are today, you can probably drive quite a way for the cost of shipping.  I would certainly use 12L14 myself.  I know it machines easier, so I'd expect it to file easier too.  (Neil Savage)

    All you have to do to know why to use CRS instead of HRS is to go to a supplier and look at the two side by side, there's really nothing to talk about. HRS will work you or a machine shop to death to make it worth using for forms, CRS is pretty much ready to go as is. Think square rebar Vs nice smooth steel.  (John Channer)

    Just a comment about "Cold Rolled Steel".  While we call the process of shaping steel (bars, sheet, extrusions, etc.) as "Cold Rolled", the process is not COLD (you do not want to touch this stuff as it comes from one of the processes - it will burn you badly). The process of forming and shaping (deforming) causes considerable thermal heating to the metal along with the fact that the metal may have been preheated before forming. Likewise, such steel also is often heat treated afterward to relieve the surface working stresses caused by the forming process. The carbon content of cold formed steels also has considerable variation making steels that have a variety of properties.  Any heat  treating process  also  influences  the micro-structure of the resulting steel which strongly influences the material behavior. Machining of such steels can induce surface property changes from work processing influencing grain boundary structure. Well, hopefully I have not added confusion to your understanding of steel. That is why there is such a variety of steel materials. One needs a good metallurgist who understands metals that can answer specific questions. I just wanted to make sure that folks are aware of what the words "cold rolled" mean. I hope this helps.   (Frank Paul)

    Thanks for all who posted info about cold rolled steel. Very interesting. Here's the scoop. I'm living in Austria; for several reasons couldn't get my hands on cold rolled steel bars without taking a second mortgage out on the house. Went to a steel shop where they make fencing etc. I showed the technician what I was trying to build. He said the steel they had would be fine.  I believe it's hot rolled, because Larry's description below fits it perfectly: rough, corners slightly rounded and a hard  black "shell" - for lack of a better word -- on the outside. And that's were my challenge is.

    The stuff is hard and slippery. So slippery that without a lot of pressure a vixen file just slides right over the top. Tried a belt sander -- barely touched it. Put a hand grinder to a scrap piece; this removes the hard coating but leaves huge waves in the bar. I've drilled and tapped some scrap pieces with no problems, but this hard coating is really making it difficult to file flat. Any suggestions on how to remove the coating aside from sand blasting? What is pickling? Since the bar stock is a bit lower in the middle than on the edges I have a lot of filing to do before I can get anything level.

    Thanks for your many responses, the information and any suggestions you might have.  (Jim Sabella)

      I wish I had an easy solution for you, I tried several different tactics to get off the "shell". The only answer I have is to use a good "first cut" mill (not mill-bastard") file followed by a "second cut" mill file.  It will take 30-40 hours to do properly.  (Don Green)

      Sounds to me like you would be better off making your forms out of wood. Go to a hardwood dealer and find some dense straight grained wood, such as beech or maple and make your forms from that. I made my first forms out of maple and they worked fine, I still can't really say why I made metal ones.  (John Channer)

      The hard coating is called "scale" and it is the oxide Larry described. Pickling is an industrial acid treatment that would remove it, but I don't see how an individual could do it well, or safely. As you are finding out, removing it by hand grinding is no bed of roses. Before doing anything else, maybe you can find a local company with surface grinding equipment that could square the things up and de scale them for you. If that is cost prohibitive, I think I would keep looking for a better quality steel, based on some of the suggestions yesterday. It's hard to believe you can't get quality steel in Austria or Germany. Good luck, I don't mean to discourage you, It just sounds like a lot of work if you proceed by yourself with the stuff.  (Tom Smithwick)

        Thanks to all for your replies. I see that I have gotten myself into a project that is -- well, it's going to be fun! I knew I should've posted on the list and got professional advice before I bought the steel. The next time around, when I try to build my first set of planing forms I will go with wood :). Thank you all for your help and kind responses.  (Jim Sabella)

          Yeah, that oxide is tough. Pickling is an acid-dip process that removes the scale. It also leaves the surface very susceptible to rust, so you will typically see it as pickled and oiled or P&O.

          I'm with John here, I think you'd be better off with wooden forms. You will spend a ton of time trying to level that stuff.

          With an admitted ignorance of Austria, I can't imagine it is that hard to find CRS there. Our hardware stores and home centers carry it, but not in sizes we can use for forms. I wonder if it is suffering in translation somehow...

          The typical cold rolled here is C1018. I would guess it might carry a different  designation in  Europe.  (Larry Blan)

            If it is any help, cold-rolled steel in German is "Kaltwalzstahl."  There is another product called "Warmwalzstahl" which means "warm-rolled steel."  Kaltwalzstahl in Google gives many entries, so I am sure it is common in German-speaking countries.  Perhaps the steel shop would have needed  to  special  order  the cold-rolled product thereby raising the price.

            In the German-language edition of his recent book ("Gespießte - edle Ruten aus Bambus" -- the English version is "Split-Cane Rods - Bamboo Treasures"), Rolf Baginski specifically states that cold-rolled steel should be used for making forms.  Where he lives and works in Bremen, Germany is not all that far from Austria, so a lack of cold-rolled steel is probably just a a question of the local shop.  (Tim Anderson)

Rule

Has anyone else had this problem:  My first steel planing form (homemade) was made with leaded steel, easy to drill, tap and work by hand with a lathe tool point.  When I had problems with node tear I used a sanding block, 150 grit, to smooth the tearout. I was careful to brush away any loose sanding residue from the forms.  But, I quickly noticed heavy scratch lines (like gouges) on the bottoms of my planes which I think was caused by sanding particles imbedded in the soft forms.  I quit sanding, but I also moved on the purchased CRS forms which seem to be a much harder steel.  Anyone else used sanding blocks on their forms?  I sure would like to use sand paper again.  (Bob McElvain)

    I have noticed the scratches in the bottom of my planes but came to the conclusion I was putting there with the edge of the planing forms when I was roughing out the strips. I have never considered it might be filings. I will look again. Thanks! I have used sandpaper some but usually scrape.  (Timothy Troester)

      Since I stopped using sandpaper on my forms I have not had any scratches on the bottom of a newly purchased L-N plane (cast iron sole?) used for final dimension planing on the strip.  So, at least in my case the rough edges of the form is not causing scratches.  The damaged plane was also an L-N plane with a cast iron sole.  (Bob McElvain)

        I believe LN planes are made from ductile iron instead of cast iron to prevent mishaps from completely ruining a plane. Regardless I have scratches on all my planes and I only see them where I consistently plane the strips across the sole. I think others were right when they said that it is the silica in the bamboo because since tuning my planes and re-lapping the soles I have only nicked the form a couple of times. When I am getting closer to final dimensions I switch to a grooved sole plane and the blade has never hit the form, but there are still minor scratches that run the full length of the plane sole.

        Use a soft clean white cloth like T-shirt scrap with some mineral spirits and clean the surface of your form. Look at the cloth under magnification and see what stuck to the cloth. You are probably right to worry about the sandpaper, but with a proper cleaning when you are done should eliminate any problems. (Scott Bearden)

    I can't say what's scratching the soles of your planes, but the bamboo itself scratches mine up badly.  All my most used planes have distinct scratch patterns caused (I suppose) by the silica in the bamboo.  Isn't the silica what makes bamboo so tough on plane irons?  Seems logical to think it would do the same to the body of the plane.  (Harry Boyd)

    I've also had scratches in the soles of my planes.  I've always attributed them to gouges in the forms where I have nicked the forms with the plane, and raised a burr.  I don't think it is caused by the bamboo itself because I have some planes with slotted soles and the scratches in the sole of the plane are limited to portions of the sole that actually ride on the forms.  Now, if I nick my forms, I immediately stop planing and make a pass or two over the forms with a flat mill file.

    My forms are CRS.  (Robert Kope)

Rule

I'm making my very first planing form, relying on the Thomas Penrose web site, and I've encountered a problem with the key stock that I didn't notice until now. I hope list members who've made their own forms can offer some advice.

I've done the preliminary draw-filing and now realize that the bars have -- or one of them has--a slight bow.  With the filed sides facing each other, I'm clamping them together (prior to drilling) and as I clamp one end, the other end separates maybe 1/4 or 3/8 of an inch.  I've looked at the archives and realize other folks have encountered the same problem in the past, and the solutions offered are various (ranging from "don't fret because it won't matter" to "stand on the bars to remove the bows").  The sides of the bars that will eventually take the tapered groove seem to be without the bow, which I figure is a very good thing.

So...  the questions...  Will the shoulder bolts eventually draw the bowed bars together?  Should I maybe add additional bolts just to make certain?  Both ends?  Should I put the bars on blocks on the floor, put my weight on them, and intone, "Unbow...  Unbow..."?  Or should I not sweat this at all?

One more thing:  a public thanks to Harry Boyd for his advice on drill bits and hand taps.  "Thank you, Harry."  (Alan Boehm)

    Or should I not sweat this at all?

    Don't worry about it. The setting bolts will easily pull out a slight bow. You will probably bugger the bars up worse if you try to straighten them. As long as you get the forms together with the  top and bottom surfaces level with each other, you will be fine.  (Tom Smithwick)

    I wouldn't try to straighten the bars. You may make them worse, if you can move them at all. Just putting them on a flat floor wouldn't do it anyway.  You would need to "overbend" in the other direction to get them straight. That can't be done unless you shim the bars up off the floor to allow the bend to go over because it will spring back.   Unless of course you are of Samurai proportions.  {:>)

    Hopefully the bend is evenly spread out along the length and not just a "Kink" at one end. I would orient the bars so that both of them spread in the same plane. You don't want one going up while the other goes down and forms a twist in the assembled bars.  That would give you problems in filing the flats and the tapered bevels. Even if you end up with a sweep in a plane in the assembled bars it won't affect your planing of the strips. You set the depth at each station so each strip will, should in theory, be the same as the next. (Larry Swearingen)

    Weren't Garrison's bars bowed too?  You are in good company.  (Scott Grady)

    Clamp them in the center, I suspect they will look much better.

    That is a bit much for true key stock, but not really that much for bar stock. Since you have not matched the top and bottom yet, swap one end for end just to get the gaposis minimized, and then go for it. The bolts can bend the forms in either direction, they don't care.  (Larry Blan)

    If it were me, I'd dump the stock you have and buy new straight stock. I can't see bent or bowed stock opening/closing smoothly and giving you a life time of grief. You are going to spend a great deal of time making your forms, why not do it right? Where did you get the stock in the first place?  Not  Garrison's basement????  (Don Schneider)

    3/8" of bow along 5-6 feet of steel stock isn't much.   Mine had that and I used probably 8-10 small clamps to hold both bars together as I drilled the holes.  It was harder for me to try and keep the set up square and centered to the drill bit with my bench top drill press-wish I had a picture of that...  Lay out the points that will be drilled, space the clamps where they don't interfere with your drill press vice set up if possible, and keep the bars clamped together as you move your way down the bar.  If you have to move a clamp, re-clamp first with an extra clamp on hand close to the clamp that may be in the way.  Unclamp the whole thing only after you have drilled ALL of the holes.   My forms work very well.  (Brian Smith)

Rule

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