Krenov Smoother 2 – From One Block to Four

Smoothing Plane 4
When we left off last time, the body blank for the Krenov smoother was clamped up while the glue set.  I allowed 24 hours before continuing.  I realize the glue sets faster, but since I have a SawStop tablesaw, I didn’t want to chance an accidental triggering due to a damp glue line – something that has been known to happen.  What came out of the clamps was a piece of white oak 4” wide, 3 ½” high, and 10” long.  Granted, this is oversize, but it allows plenty of room for mistakes I may make.

After making light rip cuts on the tablesaw to clean everything up, the first step was to rip the two cheek pieces.  This approach is central to the Krenov style of plane.  Separating all the components makes it much easier to true up the internal surfaces before putting everything back together.  Once the 7/16″ cheeks were removed, the remaining block was ripped down to 2 ⅛” wide.  This provided a slight gap on either side of the iron to allow for wood movement over the seasons.  If I were making this in dry winter weather, I would have reduced this to 2 1/16” or 2 3/32”, since the wood would have expanded as summer humidy hit.  I tried to keep the glue-line centered as I did this.  I doubt it really mattered, but it made me feel better.  I went ahead at this point and smoothed up the cut surfaces of the cheeks and center block before cutting the rest of the pieces since larger pieces are easier to work with.

Smoothing Plane 5
The next step was to separate the central block into a back bed section that supports the plane iron and sets the blade angle, and a front ramp section that defines the mouth opening.  These two pieces, operating in concert, determine the performance of the plane.  Since I was making a basic smoother, the bed angle was to be 45 degrees.  I originally planned to make this cut on the tablesaw but, as you see above, my standard miter gauge wouldn’t even come close without modification.  I sighed and made the cut on the bandsaw.  The remaining (front) section of the block is cut at a 62 degree angle to form the front ramp.  According to Finck, this angle is the best compromise between tightness and the ability to clear out jammed shavings.  I presume that if you’re going to have a higher bed angle than 45 degrees, the front ramp should be lowered accordingly to keep the opening angle approximately the same.  Once this is cut, the resulting pieces will look like this:

Smoothing Plane 6
You’ll notice a bit of burning on the near side of the front block.  I cut the sides on my tablesaw, which meant a rip cut in white oak almost 4″ thick.  My saw is only a 1.75hp, so this cut was a bit of a stretch.  If I did a lot of this kind of work, I’d have to move up to a 3hp 220V. saw.  As it is, the cuts were completed with some effort.  Maybe I should at least invest in a narrow-kerf rip blade.  As it is, the piece is smooth despite showing some discoloration, and should be fine to glue.

The next steps in the process will end with the parts of the plane ready to be put back together again.  However, there’s a bit of painstaking work to be done before we reach that point.  Stay tuned!


One response to “Krenov Smoother 2 – From One Block to Four

  1. Pingback: New Little Good Pieces blog post: Krenov Smoother 2 – From One Block to Four : LumberJocks RSS feed

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