As I recently posted that rather blatant advertisement for Workshop Heaven’s ‘Free Shipping Fortnight‘ on these pages recently, I may as well show you what I ended up buying. I didn’t spend nearly as much as I would have like; most of the small items I purchased will simply aid me in my day-job, where we regularly have to drill precisely-sized holes in combinations of timber and plywood.
One thing I neglected to mention is that, after moving premises recently, Workshop Heaven have also revamped their website. There may still be products to be added to the database and, at these early stages, you may encounter one or two ‘hiccups’ with site navigation but, it has to be said; it is even cleaner and much faster to load than their previous pages.
So, I started off with a few low-priced drill bits from the Famag range. Spade bits are great for use with power tools and will cut both quickly and cleanly while they’re sharp. I went for a 14mm and 18mm flat bit, simply because these sizes aren’t commonly supplied in your average packaged set of the most commonly used widths. I also needed a set of smaller drills for drilling clearance holes for steel screws and, in my opinion, there isn’t much better than a lip-and-spur bit for drilling wood. With a central point in between two cutting spurs, you don’t have to mark the centre with a punch or bradawl. Usually, a pencil mark is enough. This five-piece set, by the way, looks almost identical to a set of DeWalt bits I purchased, a few months ago…
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they were produced in the same factory, probably in the Far East. Goods news though, is that those ‘other yellow’ bits have served me very well so far. They’re very sharp and do cut quickly. I once bought a similar set of seven bits for only £2.99… Once they lost their edge (which didn’t take too long), I found they wouldn’t take another. There’s something to be said for buying good quality accessories for your power tools.
I purchased this to test out a theory that’s been in my mind for a good two or three years now, since I first used one of these under-rated ‘specialist’ planes at college. They really are superb at cleaning up saw marks and creating smooth, consistent curved edges (not something that’s easy to do with a spokeshave or bobbin sander). I bought mine earlier this year (second-hand) and would like to see whether replacing the original cap iron with a thicker piece of steel will reduce the chattering which effects the final finish.
As the mouth is surrounded by rivets and the base itself must be thin enough so that it can flex to match both convex and concave forms, fitting a thicker iron didn’t seem like much of a possibility, as I would have had to attempt to open the width of the mouth with a file (usually by at least 5mm, which could have affected the performance and functionality of my plane).
I haven’t given myself much of a chance to test this theory out but, initial trials on some scraps of sycamore (cutting against the grain direction) leave a finish that’s reasonable enough to suggest I may have made the right move, here. All going well then, perhaps I can help people to maintain a level of faith in the compass plane… They’re not easy to get to grips with, if you haven’t used one before. Setting the base correctly is one thing but, even then, you have to move ‘with’ the plane as it finds its way along the edge of your timber.
I’ll save that for a future post!
Thanks for reading.