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Tool Building - Planing Forms - Truing

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A short while ago I decided to make a new set of steel forms, I got two 60" pieces and started to go about truing them on the first side. Well I'm old and the filing didn't take long to get me tired out. As I was resting, I started thinking of how planes seem to cut the steel so easily, when you are doing a strip and you don't want them to. So I tried a foolish thing, I took one of my Stanley planes that needed to be sharpened and set the blade so that it just cleared the base of the plane and started to use the plane to true up the rough steel forms. And all of a sudden it started to work, using short fast strokes I actually smoothed out one side of the form. As I started doing this I realized that it was, by FAR the easiest way to true the bars. It really worked, I did all three sides using the same rather dull planing blade.

I wonder if it was just me or has anyone else ever tried this, and if so what did you think of it.

To me it sure beats filing and sanding. When I finished, I checked the flats with a metal rule and also with my depth gage. Maybe there was a gap of +-.001 across the finished form, but that seemed ok to me. I also used 10-32 hex socket screws one one side in a push pull arrangement, much better than bolts. I did have to do quite a bit of clean up on the plane and blade, but I thought it was well worth it.  (Bob Norwood)

    I found a Vixen File mounted to a board to be best for me. Made four sets of metal forms. A Vixen File just eats the metal off. For the groove I glued a 60 degree triangle file to length of Oak. A while back, I made up a copy of Don Schneider's "File Plane". It is adjustable and no fiddling to reset forms to file the groove. Easier to use than a fixed file on a board.  (Tony Spezio)

      Hope you are well. Don't sell the planes short until you have tried them, you will be surprised.  (Bob Norwood)

    Sounds like a good idea to me. Beats flat filing.

    Along the same idea, I used a 14" Vixen file mounted on a tool holder made by Snap-On when I built my forms. The long flat base assures a flat surface. Sprayed on some WD-40 and filed away. The WD-40 made the cutting easier and you could see the high and low spots as you progressed. Goes pretty fast.

    If you want my Excel spreadsheet, I have them for 50", 55", 60", 65" & 70" forms, to help you setup and/or tune the groove, let me know.  (Don Schneider)


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