Well, I guess we know IT works. The plane has been around for over a century. The question was, could I make it work?
I haven't had any time to spend on this guy the past few weeks. All I have left to do is sharpen up the irons. But, I was making a small chisel stand to go on my workbench this past weekend and I needed to plow a groove in a piece of Cherry for the base. I was about to clear off the router table and set it up when it dawned on me that this was exactly the kind of job that made me think having a 45 on hand would be a good idea to begin with.
So, I pulled this guy out and took out the 1/4" blade and sharpened it to a 30 degree bevel. I'm not sure what angle most prefer but I checked it and the existing bevel was at about 30 so I stuck with it. (Any feedback is welcome)
I checked and the blade was a near perfect match to the piece that would fit into the groove.
I used a piece of scrap and adjusted the blade depth until it took a good cut. I made sure the blade was flush with the side of the main body skate. Then adjusted the sliding skate so it was flush with the other side of the blade. Then I scored a line on the piece I would be cutting for the edge of the groove.
Then I sat the plane on the workpiece with the blade aligned with the groove and sat the fence so it registered on my reference edge.
I sat the depth stop and took my first ever pass with a plow plane of any ilk It did what was intended so I must have got lucky in my setup!
So I continued making passes until I got to my desired depth.
There were definitely some lessons learned from my inaugural voyage. You can see in the above photo that I had to get a little creative with my plane stop. I did leave my piece oversized in length to accommodate any blowout I might have at the end of the cut. If I would have left a little extra width though, I could have used holdfasts to hold the work. Or even clamped it between dogs with my end vise. But my dogs are too far from the edge of the bench and my holdfasts interfered with the plane since I had cut it down to width.
Second, I had trouble getting the groove a constant depth. I ended up about 1/32" deeper at the end than at the beginning. No biggie, but this groove didn't require precision. I need to be mindful of how I start and end my cuts even more so than with a bench plane.
Third, my groove didn't have a square bottom. I think/hope the solution to this is fairly simple. I need the beading depth stop that attaches to the skate. Because the knob is on the fence, I applied more pressure to that side. With the depth stop being on the other side of the main body, there was nothing to prevent me from skewing the plane relative to the face of the work. So, if anyone has a beading stop they want to sell, hollar at me!
All-in-all though, the 45 proved up to the task. Setup wasn't as tedious as I had feared. And it worked to get a nice, tight fit for the piece that fit in the groove.
So, I'll call it a good purchase and a useful tool. Even a caveman like me can use it!
Thanks for following along through this adventure. Any advice or comments are welcome as always!