Julie Mo

Miniature Hand Tools

94 posts in this topic

My models are generally built from laminated lifts layed up from buttocks. I build two half models and then put them together using pre drilled locator pegs to ensure accurate alignment. I have built one plank on frame model, the NY pilot boat Express using the Hahn method but the rest of my models have carved hulls. The plank on bulkhead method does not appeal to me.

 

The little spokeshaves are perfect for carving and fairing these models.

 

Roger

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Good point, Roger.  I never even looked at the widths.  It seems their only real advantage is being able to get into tight spots. 

 

However, if you don't own chisels in those widths this would be an inexpensive way to get them.  The same width chisels in their full size versions would run you $234.00 US, as opposed to $39.50 for the mini chisels.

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OK J,

 

Here are two of my models, US Navy 40 Ft 1900 Standard 40ft Steam Cutter and a US Navy Standard 26 ft Motor Whaleboat. Both models are scratch built to 1:32 scale. The figures are purchased 54mm military figures that I painted.

 

Roger

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Those Veritas chisels.  I was given a set of them last Christmas, after I'd seen them advertised and added them to my Christmas wish list.
I've never used them.
Well OK, I've played with them occasionally, when a task turned up that looked suitable for them.  But in every case I found that conventional tools (or even a simple razor blade) did the job better and quicker.
I still keep them in my workshop, but I can only regard them as scale models.  Toys, really.

In my view, Palm chisels are much better for almost every job that the Veritas chisels could be called upon to do.  They're mainly intended for carving, and come in many profiles including flat.  These Narex palm chisels are more convenient to hold, and can be used with greater accuracy.  Plus, they work well as turning gouges on miniature woodturning lathes.

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The attached photo shows a set of miniature spoke shaves that I do find useful. They are gripped between the thumb and forefinger- both hands and pushed or pulled. I bought them in 1965'after seeing them used by professional model builders at the University of Michigan''s Naval Architecture Towing Tank. I believe that the set cost less than $5. They are no longer available new but occasionally show up on EBay. 

 

Roger

Roger,

They are available from Lee Valley.... http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32681&cat=1,50230.  Now,  $36 CDN, though.  I have the set and they're very nice.  I bought these instead of LV's miniature spoke shave.

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I own all of these planes and I am amazed at how much I use them, not only for model work but for fine detail on cabinets and furniture construction.  I am spoiled by the use of the Veritas sharpening jig.  Has anyone found a simple way to get the right angle when sharpening these other that a simple block of wedged shaped wood to use as a guide.  I am obsessive about sharp plane blades and use the Shapton Ceramic stones for all of my sharpening needs.

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I too have bought several of the miniature tools and also use them... but in my opinion, cool as they are, the better option for basic small scale planing is their detail palm planes. They are planing an area around the size of their miniature bench plane, have an adjustable-length palm rest that should fit hands big and small, and I find I have more control and can go faster than I can with the straight miniaturized bench and block plane. And they have scrubbing irons for cases of difficult grain.

 

I have the flat and the double-concave, don't see enough of a use for other two.

 

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I have the L-N convex sole block plane

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It acts in the same way as the Veritas palm planes but is a bit larger.  I haven't yet found a use for it in model making but I have used it for carving out the hip relief on solid body guitars. 

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I have the L-N convex sole block plane

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It acts in the same way as the Veritas palm planes but is a bit larger.  I haven't yet found a use for it in model making but I have used it for carving out the hip relief on solid body guitars. 

 

I have the flat version of this plane and agree it's excellent, but then again it's Lie-Nielson and everything they make is extremely good. However as Julie says, not sure of the use for models, if so it would only be on the very large ships and even then you're going to want super-straight grain that's oriented the same way on every plank, otherwise bad things will happen. If you want to go bigger than the Lee Valley micro planes, I'd recommend the small scraper plane from Veritas, sharpened well it can still remove material pretty quickly but it's a scraper plane, so no tearout. I think it should have a heavier iron than it does but it still works reasonably well.

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Julie,

 

I like these planes but I am a fanatic about sharpening.  Are you real good at sharpening these?  and are there any tricks?

Bill,

 

Sharpening the convex plane iron is tricky.  I have Norton water stones in 220, 1000, 4000 and 8000 grit.  Anything coming from L-N is ready to be used out of the box but it always helps to put a secondary bevel on them.  With the convex iron, I slide it, side-to-side, across the stone by hand and rotate my wrist in the process, trying to follow the curvature accurately.  It works but accuracy is limited.

 

I have the DMT Wave Sharpener but you have to take such short strokes (the radius changes as you run the length) that I find it frustrating to use.  But here's a video if you're interested:

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Julie,

 

Thanks for sharing the video.  I was not aware these are available.  Use Shapton Glass ceramic for most of my sharpening but these really look like they will do the trick.  I also have some old Arkansas stones that I bought years ago that are curved which may do the job.  It appears the configuration of these would handle about any shape.

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Julie,

 

I like these planes but I am a fanatic about sharpening.  Are you real good at sharpening these?  and are there any tricks?

 

Julie,

 

Thanks for sharing the video.  I was not aware these are available.  Use Shapton Glass ceramic for most of my sharpening but these really look like they will do the trick.  I also have some old Arkansas stones that I bought years ago that are curved which may do the job.  It appears the configuration of these would handle about any shape.

 

I too am a fanatic for sharpening, I have to be to do chip carving like I do. I also at this point primarily use Shapton glass stones, having experimented with everything under the sun, I find that Shapton stones remove metal faster, stay flatter longer than anything but diamond, and will probably last my lifetime.

 

Anyone who hasn't tried one should, in my opinion they stand head and shoulders above all other hand sharpening stones. Also in my opinion stones above 10k aren't worth it, inexpensive strops of various types work as well or better. And you don't need the godawful expensive Shapton flattening stone, first you won't unflatten it meaningfully doing ship modeling work, and even if you did there are reasonably flat diamond stones out there for 1/10th that cost that will do just as well.

 

But back to your question Bill, see the Veritas Ml.II honing guide I linked to above It's not intended for gouge curve radii but it will do an extremely good job of curved edges at widths from 1/8" with narrow blade attachment to 2 7/8", it's very well made, and it is what I use to sharpen my $200-$300 Veritas bevel up smoothing and jack planes as well as everything else it's appropriate for, in all cases leaves an edge I couldn't conceivably improve on.

 

And as I mentioned above, no one should every sharpen a straight plane iron purely straight, have to feather in a smooth curve to .001 to .003" or so relief at the corners depending on width of iron to prevent those nasty straight lines from the corners of purely-straight plane irons. So I only use the straight roller on the Veritas honing guide to establish the basic bevel, and until that needs to be redone again I will sharpen with the cam roller, spending the most time the first time around to establish the curve I want. You can try to do that by hand, I used to, it doesn't work very well. In short have to pry my honing guide out of cold dead hands.

 

Here is a surface straight off my smoothing plane, three full-width passes right to left. You're going to need an extremely good straightedge to detect any deviation from pure flat, and there is no abrasive that could improve this surface. And this is wenge, extremely hard wood.

 

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Here are the shavings it's taking doing that.

 

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And here's the jack plane doing the same thing to a piece of rock maple but that is way easier than wenge. Just about every shaving is almost full width and feathering out on the edge, exactly as desired. 

 

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And to back once again to the main point :), the Veritas guide will do just as good a job on the double-concave iron in Julie's plane.

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I absolutely agree with Vossie. I could never get a really decent edge on a blade until I got the Veritas (Lee Valley) honing guide. I'd also highly recommend the narrrow blade holder for this instrument.

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Julie,

 

Thanks for sharing the video.  I was not aware these are available.  Use Shapton Glass ceramic for most of my sharpening but these really look like they will do the trick.  I also have some old Arkansas stones that I bought years ago that are curved which may do the job.  It appears the configuration of these would handle about any shape.

I don't have any ceramic stones but I do have some of these diamonds

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I absolutely agree with Vossie. I could never get a really decent edge on a blade until I got the Veritas (Lee Valley) honing guide. I'd also highly recommend the narrrow blade holder for this instrument.

I found the most success when I started putting a tertiary bevel on edge tools.  I have the MKII but usually do the sharpening freehand.  Once the honing guide has you dialed in, you can get a new edge freehand pretty easily.

 

I saw this Rob Cosman video and gave it a try.  It's pretty quick and does the job.

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That's what I really enjoy about this site.... you learn something new every day.  I love my old water stone and can sharpen a blade so that I can shave with it... but I am going to get a new water stone now, I shall try this out.

 

What we do not know however is how well this works on Birdseye maple....easy enough to pull a shaving off some sugar pine or spruce.

 

Michael

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That's what I really enjoy about this site.... you learn something new every day.  I love my old water stone and can sharpen a blade so that I can shave with it... but I am going to get a new water stone now, I shall try this out.

 

What we do not know however is how well this works on Birdseye maple....easy enough to pull a shaving off some sugar pine or spruce.

 

Michael

 

If you can get yourself one of the many Veritas planes with a PM-V11 iron. I was skeptical of the claims of easier to sharpen than A2 steel with a much longer-lasting edge as that seemed pretty unlikely, but there it is. The edges not only get pretty sharp as you see above but they will stay that way for an absurdly long time, to the point I can feel my cave-man brain insisting ever louder that this is some kind of dangerous wizardry.

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Michael,

 

I feel your pain with the birdseye maple.  I have sharpened plane irons to the point that if they even come close to a hair, the hair runs in fear.  I have skewed the plane, to little avail.  I have wetted the surface before planing, and that helps somewhat.  I have read to freeze the board, but haven't gone that far yet.  In the end I typically resort to either a scraper plane or drum sander.  But if you really want to experience frustration, try Hawaiian koa.  The tearout is unbelievable.

 

Vossiewulf,

 

Your experience with the PM-V11 iron has been strongly supported by Fine Woodworking in a review they did several months ago.  They gave Veritas a huge thumbs up on their new iron saying almost the exact same things you said here. 

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I love your mini tools. I just got this mini caliper from a surgeon who does micro surgery. It'll come in handy measuring in tight places where my giant caliper won't go.

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Vossiewulf, I only use the Veritas planes I have both the different low angle block planes and the Jack plane with said blades.

 

Julie I know what you mean about the Koa and there are a few others that are also notorious for the same reason.

 

On page 13 of this book there is a photograph of some tools by a young man called Michael Mott, two of the tools are hand planes the other one was a saw.

 

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I couldn't resist the third person reference.

 

The planes were badly damaged by a collapse of a storage shed many years ago.

This is the tool which I still enjoy using, it is a pull saw that I use to make dovetails. It is carved from "Birdseye" maple and was scraped with pieces of broken glass. (amazing all the soft curves that one can get by breaking an old 8x10 window pane)

 

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No sandpaper came anywhere near this tool or files just chisels and glass to create the finish. The blade was chopped out of an old handsaw and new teeth filed there is no set to the teeth.

 

Michael

 

 

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Michael, tell that young man I am very impressed.  Now did he get mad at the gnarly wood, throw it through a window then the light bulb turned on and behold!  The glass scraper!  :) 

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