Greene & Greene Inspired Hand Plane

A while back I ordered two books, one Greene & Greene Furniture: Poems of Wood & Light by David Mathias the other Making Traditional Wooden Planes by John M. Whelan.  The books arrived and I couldn’t wait to dig in and get started.  I often use books to inspire my ideas on what my next project will be, my woodworking takes me to many different avenues depending on what I am inspired by at the moment.  So the question at hand was which did I start with first, maybe work on designing a Greene & Greene inspired table or maybe a new smoothing hand plane?….then I decided why not try and combine the two for a Greene & Greene inspired hand plane? 

I realize this sounds like a strange combination but I instantly had a ton of ideas bouncing around about Greene & Greene touches that could be added to the hand plane and just thought the idea sounded cool so why not.  Having just completed another hand plane a month before I was already familiar with the process I would take to get started and also I knew the areas that I wanted to improve upon from the last plane because although I wanted the plane to look great, I also wanted to make sure it would be functional plane that worked just as well as it looked.
The first element that I knew had to be incorporated into the plane was the “cloud lift” design.  When I first attempt at drawing the pattern out on paper something did not look just right until I realized that the lifts also have a slight curve to them.  To get the right spacing I drew a rough sketch of the plane to the final dimensions I wanted and place three parallel arched lines.  I could then adjust the points my lifts started to get the right look.  Once satisfied with the look I cut a pattern out of scrap pine.  Now that I had an idea of what the final shape would look like it was time to get started.
I decided on African Mahogany for the body as Mahogany seems to be the chosen wood for Greene & Greene style.  For the sole, wedge, crosspin, and plugs I went with Wenge, mainly because I still had some left over from the last plane I made and it is very similar in properties and look as Ebony, and make a great sole plate that is hard, smooth, and wears well.  After rough cutting to length I have found that it is easier for me to glue the sole onto two 8/4 stock pieces and then rip my sides and body down with the sole plate already attached. 
Another element that seems like a trend in Greene & Greene style is that joints between the individual pieces on not hidden but instead pronounced by dulling the sharp edges to accentuate the line were pieces come together.  I also wanted to off set the side pieces to the body center to do this I used a spacer to shim up the sides before screwing the sides to the body for a temporary hold.  Next I used my template to mark the pattern out on the assembled plane and started cutting. 
The iron used for this plane is a Hock 1 1/2″ with chip breaker.  The bed I cut at 50 degrees with a dado cut to accommodate the chip breaker screw head.  A few issues that I learned from the last plane was not to make the crosspin fit to tight but instead allow it to rotate once in place, this allows for a better fit when installing the wedge to hold the iron in place.  Also, I clamped the back body to the sides first and installed the iron and wedge.  This allowed me to adjust to front body before clamping into place and allowing the glue to dry.  I intentionally made the mouth of the plane just a little too tight and used a file to adjust the mouth to a perfect and tight fit on the plane iron. 
I debated the plugs for a while but knew that I did not want to see the round crosspin in the side of the plane body and also needed to cover up the holes from the temporary screws used during construction.  My original thought was to use three square plugs in the center with one on each end but after lay out I decide to just go with three total on each side.  After much filing, scrapping, and sanding I used a tung oil with a coat of wax as the finish to give the plane a natural look.  The oil and wax should allow the plane to wear better with use that a poly. 
The project was a lot of fun to design and build.  There is nothing like coming up with an idea and seeing it through to reality.  I have two more planes rough cut that I will be finishing to complete as a set, one a block plane the other a jointer plane. 

As always leave a comment and let me know what you think or any ideas you may have.


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