Clay, Application to Refinement

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Wheel Arch Plane 2

With all the holes drilled around the inside of the skeletal profile, unscrew the two blanks from the 3/4" plywood. Remove the blanks and trim out the inside of the plywood. This will enable you to easily file the inside of the blanks after removing the excess material.



Wooden blank for filing out the cut-outs of the wheel arch plane.


As you can see from the photograph on the left, most of the plywood was removed.


Use a bandsaw or a coping saw ( hand tool ) to run on the inside of the drill marks to remove the excess material. The remaining material is a support for the framework of the plane body.

With the excess material cut from the plywood support, re-attach the aluminum blanks to the plywood with the No. 6 screws and use a file to remove the material between the drill holes.


We can now clamp the whole fixture in a vise and file to the scribe lines. This will give you three clean sections for the skeletal framework.


The framework for the body of the plane should look like the image on the right.


Photograph of one of the finished sides of the wheel arch plane.


With the two side frames complete we can now remove them from the plywood support. All that needs to be done is to countersink the holes for the 6-32 x 1/2" countersunk machine screws. Make sure that the heads of the screws are just below the surface of the frame, this will give you an overall clean look to the plane.

Exploded view of the mechanism that will hold the blade in place for the wheel arch plane.

With the 2" x 1 3/8"x 1/4" aluminum block, mark-out the centers for the 6-32 x 1/2" machine screws.

Measure 3/8" down from the top of the block for the first center and 1 1/4" pitch from the first center to the second center. This should correspond to the holes in the side frames.

Set the block in a drill press vise and using a No.36 or 7/64" drill bit proceed to drill the holes for the machine screws ( 2 holes per side ) to a depth of 5/8". These holes can then be tapped with a 6-32 tap. Use plenty of lubricant to prevent binding.


The base of the block needs to be notched-out to accept the Surform blade. The angle of the notch should correspond to the tang or the hook of the Surform blade, this is achieved by clamping the block in a vise and filing the angle to suit. Also, allowance for the metal thickness of the hook needs to be filed out of the bottom of the block. This will enable the blade to be clamped flat to the framework of the plane.


To ensure a snug fit of the Surform blade, holes need to be drilled for the tang of the Surform blade to sit into. Mark in from the edge of the block on each side 3/8". This will give you the centers for the holes. Set up the block in a drill press vise at the same angle as the filed out notch. With a 1/4" drill bit, drill the holes through the block, clean the angle through with a file and square the sides of the hole down to the angle face. This will ensure that the Surform blade locks neatly into place. (See left illustration above)


With the 1 3/4"x 1 3/8"x 1/4" aluminum block we will conduct the same procedure. Mark-out the centers for the machine screws by measure down 3/8" from the top of the block for the first center. From that center measure 1" to the second center. This will give the positions for drilling the holes for securing the side frames into position. Drill and tap the holes using the same method as the previous block.

Mark the position for the retaining screw, 11/16" in from the edge will give the center of the block and 1" down from the top will give the center of the hole. At this point drill a clearance hole of 3/8". (See right illustration above)


All finished components for the wheel arch plane ready to assemble.

The locking plate is made from 1 7/8"x 7/8"x 0.048" steel plate.


Scribe on two lines across the width, one at 3/8"and one at 1 1/4". Bend the steel plate at the 3/8" mark to 90 degrees. This will give you a "L" shaped bracket.

On the second scribe line mark the center point, set up the steel plate in a drill press vise. Using a drill bit size, letter I or 17/64", drill through the plate. Tap the hole with a 5/16"-24 tap.


With the locking plate finalized, all components for the wheel arch plane are now finished. Now is the time to de-burr all edges and give a brushed finish to the aluminum components.

Using wet and dry paper, sand all surfaces to obtain a smooth surface.


Start the assembly by securing the two end plates with 6-32 x 1/2" countersunk machine screws. Apply a little removable thread lock liquid to the screws. This will prevent the screws from working loose during normal usage but will still leave you the option to unscrew for any repair work. At this stage your clay plane should look like the photograph above.

Attach the locking plate loosely to the end block with a 5/16"-24 x 3/4"cap head screw. We can now attach the last side plate with the 6-32 countersunk machine screws, again applying a little of the thread lock liquid to the screws.

Last but not least, attach the Surform blade by hooking over the notched end first. Hold secure while you wrap the blade around the body of the plane, tighten the locking plate by turning the cap head screw. The blade should now be firmly seated and tight against the base of the plane.


Aluminum wheel arch plane finished ready for use.


The finalized wheel arch plane above will take care of any modeling situation around the wheel opening, light and precise. Making quick work of any design changes.



Copyright © 2003 - 20 Steven Austin