Sunday, 17 July 2016

a 'spare' K13 in Desert Ironwood

Most of the Desert Ironwood I work with is highly figured, but this set has always caught my attention. I have walked past it hundreds of times, and often stopped to pick it up. It reminded me of ribbon striped Mahogany - just in a brown tone instead of red.

A few months ago, I decided to start working on it as a spare plane – picking away at it here and there. I just had to see what tame Desert Ironwood would look like. 

It has not disappointed – incredible chatoyance from heel to toe, and a wonderful beauty mark on the front pad thrown in for good measure. Here are several detail photos.



This beauty mark showed up our of nowhere. There was no indication that this was just below the surface - what a happy accident!

The sides and sole are 01 tool steel and the lever cap and screw are stainless steel.  The plane is 13-3/8" long with a 2-1/4" wide, PMV-11 blade, custom made by Lee Valley. The bed angle is 47.5 degrees.The price is $4,600.00 Cdn + actual shipping costs (roughly $3,675.00 USD based on the current exchange rate). Let me know if you are interested -

Ok. Back to renovating!


Anonymous Dave Beauchesne said...

Love the refinement and finish Konrad - nice to see, and inspiring to do better at each turn.
Superbly executed!

Dave Beauchesne

2 August 2016 at 22:55  

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Monday, 11 July 2016

Two K4’s - one spare & home renovations

Things are really hopping at the moment - so much so that blogging seems to have taken a back seat for a while. This will change fairly quickly - two new restoration projects have just begun. One is our house, the other a bit of a surprise project that is out of left field, but something we are all very excited about. More on that a bit later.

I have just completed two Desert Ironwood filled K4 planes. The one with the bronze lever cap and screw is spoken for, but the darker one with the stainless steel lever cap is available for sale. 

The K4 with the bronze lever cap was really fun to make - it is configured the same way as my own K4 - the prototype (the link will take you to photos of the prototype beside other planes for size and scale reference).  It felt like I was ‘my plane’ again. This is the smallest plane I make (so far:), and makes a block plane look pretty huge. The K4 is 4-1/2" long and has a 1-1/4" wide, high carbon steel blade. The bed angle is 52.5 degrees and the sides and sole are 01 tool steel.

The spare K4 has some really striking dark Ironwood burl. This plane is $2,150.00 Cdn + actual shipping cost. Email me if you are interested -

And the first of the two renovation projects - our house. The second floor to be specific. One of my first blog posts was about renovating the second floor sunroom - that was in 2007. It is time for us to gut the rest of the second floor. The floors, walls, ceilings - everything. We have never rented a bin before, so the big green beast should be a good indication of the scale of the job. I will post photos of the progress as we go.


Anonymous job said...

Sounds like a fun project (2nd floor). Plaster removal is astonishingly messy. But satisfying. In our house, I found the best system was knocking the plaster loose of the lathe with the side of a hammer & shoveling up the plaster with a snow shovel. Then pull the wood lathe off and bundle it up. Then clean up the last of the plaster bits.

I really hope you don't have metal lathe! It's a much bigger pain. But the same basic method works well. What works better is a circular saw with a metal cutting blade (negative rake carbide), and cut it into sheets. I found ~3x3' squares a good size to be able to handle.

And the planes look fantastic!

11 July 2016 at 08:54  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Job.

It is shockingly messy work. We have done it before - and here we are doing it again:) We are shoveling out the separated plaster and down the chute it goes into the wheel barrow and then into the bin. A little extra work, but we were not able to get the bin below the window. Once we have filled the bottom with all the plaster, we will toss the lathing and other waste on top of the pile. So far, so good.


12 July 2016 at 07:00  
Blogger Chris Bame said...

Love the planes. Boy that dumpster sure looks like hard labor!!!
Can't wait to see what you do up there.

12 July 2016 at 16:17  
Blogger suzanne said...

Thanks for the beautiful plane. It was exciting to watch you build it. Good luck with the renovation.
Take care,

15 July 2016 at 09:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Konrad I was wondering if you could write a article on how you dovetail the curved sides on your planes
I LiI've in Australia and am making planes for myself and would love to know how you make your butifull planes
Thanks Alex

17 July 2016 at 03:10  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Chris,

Yes - hard labor it has been:) But we are almost done the gutting, and we are feeling tired, but pretty good that we can still do it - it has been a long time since we have done serious renovations.


17 July 2016 at 07:44  
Blogger Konrad said...

Good morning Suzanne,

You are most welcome - it was a pleasure to make it for you. Glad you enjoyed watching the build.

Best wishes,

17 July 2016 at 07:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Alex,

I have often wondered about the right way to show this process - written instructions, photos... but I have concluded that video might be the most valuable way to do it. A large undertaking, but my oldest son is getting pretty good behind a camera, so if I can convince him to take this one - we might be able to put something together. I am not sure if you are in instagram or not, but I have posted quite a few short videos of the planemaking process.


17 July 2016 at 07:47  

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Sunday, 29 May 2016

A K6 with customer supplied East Indian Rosewood

It is very rare that a customer supplies the wood for their plane. It has happened only a few times over the years, but I knew from the moment that I saw this piece, that something special could happen.

I know that in theory, figure is possible in any species of wood... but some just seem more prone than others - and East Indian Rosewood isn’t one of them. Until now. It wasn’t a huge piece, and there was a very strong grain bias. I could maximize the material and live with very angled grain, or I could straighten it out and ‘waste’ a bit more. The customer agreed that making the best plane possible was the goal... so I fired up the bandsaw, and went to work.

I was not ruthless with straightening things out - the above photo shows the waste. You can see the angle in the grain in the largest off-cut.

The final set. I was pretty sure some of the sapwood was going to end up on the side of the plane - and the customer was fine with that. I was also very interested in keeping as much of the layer just under the sapwood - a lighter, slightly browner later before the dark purple heartwood.

Using my own K6 to make this K6 - always fun making tools to make tools.

The rear infill is fit, and the sapwood has been greatly reduced, but not eliminated.

Both the front and rear infill fit, but not installed.

After lapping, the sapwood was getting quite small. I still needed to angle the rear infill, and I was slightly concerned that between the angled cut and the shaping of the rear infill, the sapwood would disappear.

Thankfully, the sapwood island remained, and the layer of lighter wood just behind it remained distinct as well. Here are a bunch of pics of the finished plane.

The above photo shows the lighter brown layer nicely.


 This plane is staying fairly local, and will be picked up in person. Always nice to be able to hand someone their plane.


Blogger John said...

That's a beautiful piece of wood and a beautiful job of working with it. The only East Indian Rosewood I have been able to get recently (only a small amount) has an edge that has been run through a shaper. This is to comply with local laws specifying that EIR can only be exported in the form of a "finished product". I won't buy any more because I don't want to particiate in these shenanigans. Either EIR needs to be protected or it doesn't.

29 May 2016 at 22:27  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks John.

Was the East Indian Rosewood you bought sold as East Indian or as plantation grown Indonesian or Sonokeling? My understanding is they are all the same species - just the plantation grown stuff does not exhibit the same color, grain density or texture that East Indian Rosewood has. I have also seen EIRW sold that has been partially processed in order for it to be compliant for export. I suspect this will catch up to the luthier world really soon (if it isn't already) where guitar sets are no longer available for export because they are not processed enough. Gonna be an interesting next decade or so...


30 May 2016 at 21:06  
Blogger John said...

It was sold as East Indian. The colors on the few pieces I have are very rich--at least to my far less sophisticated eye than yours. Lot of purple. I've have never heard of wood that could snorkel. Oh wait.....that's not what you said.

31 May 2016 at 21:52  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi John,

Purple is good... so is cinnamon. Yellows are not so good. Black ink lines are fantastic! Or, as my friend Anson says - if the wood is beautiful and speaks to you - it IS good.

1 June 2016 at 08:23  
Anonymous Henry Markus said...


I noticed you are now using Japanese blades in all your small planes. Maybe you could tell us about your thoughts on these blades, and the steel in a blog in the future. Would be very interested.

Still reading every blog, again, again......



8 June 2016 at 18:11  
Blogger Al DaValle said...

Pure Art!!!

18 June 2016 at 09:36  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Henry,

They look like Japanese blades, but are in fact made in CA by Ron Hock. They are high carbon steel, but not laminated like Japanese blades.


20 June 2016 at 14:41  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Al.

best wishes,

20 June 2016 at 14:42  

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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

A new jointing plane - 24" version

I had thought my jointing plane making days were over... glad they weren’t!

This was a rather large undertaking. A new size with a few alterations. The first order of business was adjusting the design to a 24" plane. It is not as simple as adding 3/4" to each end of a 22-1/2" plane. Everything needs to be scaled accordingly. ‘Accordingly’ is code for ‘make it look right’. I use a rough mathematical approach, but for the most part, I rely on my eyes to evaluate things.

The front bun is pushed forward which allows it to be lowered at the same time. Forward by about 3/8". Not very much, but it allows for an interesting addition to the plane. It extends the size of the cove at the back of the upper portion of the bun - you can see it above. This provides an additional location to place ones thumb for doing edge jointing. I am a big fan of a pinch grip when edge jointing - placing your thumb on the top and then using your index finger as a fence along the edge of the board below. Lowering the bun also helps, and is just low enough that I can get a good functional pinch grip even with my smallish hands.

One technical challenge of this plane was the fact that the cove on the sides of the top portion of the bun are lower than cove at the back of the bun. This made for an interesting shaping approach, but I think the effect was well worth the effort and the detail has become a favourite of mine.  The goal is always nice visually crisp work that is also touchable and tactile.

The infill is Honduran Rosewood, the sides and sole are 01 tool steel, the lever cap and screw are bronze as is the knurled end of the adjuster. The 2-5/8" blade is high carbon steel, bedded at 47.5 degrees. It weighs 11.75lbs - exactly the same as my 22-1/2" bronze sided, African Blackwood filled jointing plane. Interesting to see the effects of changing materials.

Packaging these large, heavy planes is best done in a custom fitted block of 3" foam. I use a jig saw to cut out the opening and use a comic book storage box to contain it (yes, I was an avid comic book reader, and still have a box of comics lovingly bagged and stored away). 


Blogger Chris Bame said...

Hi Konrad,
Sweet plane as always! Noticed your bench in the last shots. Very Nice. I just sorta finished my bench this fall. I have to say the combination of Benchcrafted vices and your plane is tops!!! My favorite tools to work with in my shop.

12 May 2016 at 16:19  
Blogger John said...

Makes me want to see a k-24

14 May 2016 at 00:36  
Blogger John said...

Question: how many of Konrad's friends would like to see him A: making a combination of tradition designs along with his on K series plans, or B. sticking to his guns on making K planes of his own design, which, to my mind, exceed in the beauty of their lines and ease of use any and all planes that have come before them?

14 May 2016 at 23:53  
Blogger Owen Crane said...

This might be a new favourite for me.
Well done as always!

15 May 2016 at 02:53  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks for the kind comments Chris.

Interestingly, one of the first tasks of the jointing plane was to flatten the new owners workbench. I have been toying with the idea of building yet another bench just so I can install a Benchcrafted leg vise... how crazy is that!?


25 May 2016 at 06:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Yeah, me too John. Although I think a K22 will be first.

Interesting question in your second part - I would be curious to hear how people answer it.


25 May 2016 at 06:52  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Owen.

25 May 2016 at 06:53  

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