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277998 Darrell <larchmont479@g...> 2023‑12‑01 Book Plow Build - part 1

I have embarked on my next project, a bookbinders plow.

Tom Conroy and I exchanged a few emails and he was encouraging. I don't
know that I'll end up with anything more than a decorative piece, but I
will make the effort nonetheless.

For stock, I am using what I have on hand. I am blissfully ignorant of the
price of roughsawn hardwood these days, and I don't want to go to the local
boardmonger and give myself a heart attack.

Here is where I am busting out some black cherry for the fence and body. I
had this nice board all it's life, acquired freshly milled and sopping wet
from up near Peterborough. Good to see it beginning its journey towards
being an actual Thing.
I used my nice Simonds crosscut saw. One of those garage sale finds from
back in the days when garage sales actually had tools.

Here's the stock squared up and ready for layout. Unlike most planemaking
adventures, the only angles involved in a bookbinding plow are Right
Angles. The cherry is almost perfectly quatersawn, and the ray fleck on the
one piece is incredible. Too bad the camera doesn't pick up on that kind of

Boring stuff. I made some holes. They are as perfect as I could get them,
which is to say 'not quite perfect'. The smaller of the two central holes
will be tapped for the adjusting screw.

By the way, this is sort of what I am aiming at. I should've said so up

Here is the maple screw blank turned to size. I used the same diameter as
the moxon vise I made, because I was gonna use the same threadbox and
tapping jig. It worked before, so it should work again. Right? (cue ominous

The garter pin works fine. Yay for small successes. I put the hole way too
far in, but there is a good inch of meat in that maple screw, it'll be fine.

My threading jig based loosely on what Heron of Alexandria documented in
the 1st century AD. Mine is a copy of what Roy U made on one of his shows.
S26 E6 IIRC. The metal guide plates follow the kerf in the jig, advancing
the scraper cutter at the proper rate. I use a small punch to advance the
cutter a teeny bit, then run it through again. Rinse and repeat a couple
dozen times until the thread is formed.

Here I am using a spoke pointer to chamfer the end of the screw blank
before threading it. I bought the 1-1/2" Henry Boker screw box at an
antique store for $10 but it had no tap, thus the jig used above.

And that did not go well. There was no tearout, but the blank was way
undersized. How the heck did that happen?

I used a couple of bits of random dowel as temporary guide rods to see how
it worked. Nope. Not good at all. The fence and body do this dance as you
wind the screw, instead of just sneaking closer to each other like they
should. This maple screw is pretty nice kindling now.

Back to the wood rack for some turning stock. This time it's walnut. I
ripped a piece to size and turned a new screw blank. This time I used the
guide plate from the thread box to check the size of the blank. Once it
slipped all the way on nicely I stopped there. And the screw came out WAY
better than that maple one.

A piece of beech dowel scavenged from the roadside (discarded crib) was
turned down to match the holes in the body and fence. Now I have proper
guide bars. This screw works fine, it runs in and out and the fence and
body move like they should.

Once I was satisfied that the screw worked, I turned the handle a little
fancier and used a rasp and file to round off the finial on the end. Not as
pretty as a vintage tool, but better than a plain flat end.

So that's most of the woodworking done. I still have to pretty up the body
and fence with those little curves and chamfers, but that will wait until I
have the hardware finished.

And the hardware is going to be LOT of filing to make the pieces I need.
I'll spread that work out a lot because it's so repetitive. I know better
than to overdo a task like that (anymore, again, so much chagrin).

So that's what I've been up to this week.

Oakville ON
Wood Hoarder, Blade Sharpener, and Occasional Tool User

Recent Bios FAQ