Sunday, April 13, 2008

Brese infill kit --getting started

This weekend, thanks to the courtesy and generosity of Chris Schwarz of Woodworking Magazine (thanks Chris!) I had the opportunity to test out a Wayne Anderson infill plane. (Here is a pic of the plane from Anderson's site) It was a high-angle "mini" smoother, only 5-1/2" long with a 1-1/4" blade, stuffed with ebony. I've long wanted to try one of these "ultimate" planes, and now I'm very glad I did. The plane itself was beautifully crafted, and worked flawlessly. I'm able to get the same shavings and polished surface from some of my non-infill planes, namely my Lie-Nielsen 164, but there was something about this little guy that intrigued me. I think it was the size-to-weight ratio. This little smoother was so dense for it's size that it felt as if the plane was magnetized and the wood a slab of iron. The nicely shaped infills also filled up my hand very nicely, making this small plane feel much larger than it really was. Trying out this plane couldn't have happened at a better time in regards to building this Ron Brese infill kit. And this plane is just about the same size. I'm really looking forward to getting this kit built.

Here I've roughed out a mock-up blank for a little fitting practice and handle shape testing. This is basswood.

The body is slightly wider at the sole. This should not be a problem when fitting the real infill, it's fairly small and I'll be able to plane the slight taper without much trouble. This may be common, not sure (I'll ask Ron), but I'm assuming the best way is to fit the infill to the shape of the cavity, and not force anything.

Reducing the width of the test infill with a shoulder plane.

I didn't bother making the test infill fit perfectly side-to-side, but I wanted it to fit precisely at the shoulders for making the test "grips" (not sure what you call these on an infill--tote and knob? handles?)....

So I made sure the shoulders were in the same plane, then I just took some shavings off the bottom of the infill until the shoulders just touched the top of the sides.

Infill shoulders tight to plane sides.

Then I marked the ends and reached through the throat to mark the ramps.

Ends and ramps marked and ready to cut. Plenty of height here.

Here I've cut the ends and ramps on the bandsaw and I'm cleaning up the saw marks on the rear infill.

The infill height here is still quite high, about 2-3/4" total plane height. (about 2-1/2" infill height)

Next step is to mount the lever cap (are they called lever caps if there is no lever?) and iron, and start thinking about the shapes of the infills.


  1. Jameel - very very nice. I'm anxious to see what this looks like when finished. I've never seen one of these overstuffed.

    Oh - and please post what Ron's response to the 'taper top-to-bottom is. I would be inclined to 'spread' the top just a bit to fit, but Ron uses pretty thick sidewall material so I'm not at all sure...

  2. Looks like a nice project, and a handy little plane-to-come! Is there a screw adjuster for the iron, or is it hammer taps? Best of luck with the hardwood finish!

  3. Thanks Raney.

    I didn't bother asking Ron about the slight deviation in the sidewall parallelism. The intructions clearly state that he shoots for dead square on these, but sometimes there is a slight deviation, and when there is, plane the infill to fit. I actually did this on the practice infill by taking a couple strokes towards the top (up against the shoulder) with a shoulder plane, then feathering that 4-thou or so shoulder left by the shoulder plane out to nothing at the bottom, thus tapering the infill. It's out by about 6 thou, so it's not a big deal in my view to make the infill fit accurately.

    Thanks carpenter. No adjuster on this one. So when it's all done, it will be hammer time. Don't get that confused with MC Hammer. :-)

  4. Jameel,

    Have you decided what kind of wood you're going to use for the final build yet?

    Great start on the infill build!



  5. Ethan,

    Thanks! I'll go with something dense like ebony or rosewood (probably cocobolo). I have a good source for both, so it will be one of those two. I'm also open to using boxwood, but finding a chunk of quality wont be easy.

  6. Jameel
    Would it be called a "screw cap"?

  7. Hi, just found your page and I thought I would comment on the correct terminology for the various parts. You were right with "tote" for the handle. The front knob though, on infills, is known as the "bun" or sometimes "cushion" (as with the case for panel planes and jointers). As for the lever cap, it was more commonly known as just "lever" or "lever with screw" (as found in the old catalogs). Even though it has no cam, as in a Stanley type plane, it still acts as a lever as it pivots on a central screw or pin, which acts as the fulcrum.


  8. The cap itself is the lever.


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