hey guys, im gonna be starting a hand plane and if that goes well maybe an alaia (not getting into that yet) but what wood would anyone recommend? i was thinking balsa then what kind of sealant should i use? thakns for any and all help. and yes i searched the forums for this but couldnt exactly find my answer.
There's a guy named George who builds beautiful hand planes in the Bayhead area. If you're in Ortley, stop in at Greenlight in Manasquan and see a few he's got in there. He's a devoted body surfer and handplane guy, and he's been doing it a while and has it down. George isn't around much, but you could probably talk to Brian or Matt about his construction method and design.
I've used paulownia and made a couple with black walnut as stringers. You could also use red cedar since it's light if you don't mind splinters. As for finish I just use tung oil, I have never had any luck with any of the linseed mixes that people make. Paulownia would be good to try first especially if you are planning on making an alaia out of it. A hand plane would be good cheap practice.
X2 on Tung Oil. HOWEVER: DO NOT GET THE FAKE CRAP. Order some real stuff from Woodworker's Supply or your local woodworking shop if you have one. It's really expensive, but you dilute the real stuff 1 part to 4 parts mineral spirits.
Making a hand plan is very fun. I just made my first one 3 weeks ago to use in Nica...I got pounded though!
If you can find the exotic woods, such as paulownia, then that would be great. Go to a lumber yard for your wood, and a big box retailer for your stains, oils, and hardware. I used white cedar for it lightness and strength. You'll want a wood in which the grain runs in long direction for added strength.
1. Draw a template. Add a swallow tail unless you like a rooster tail in your face.
2. Clamp and use a jig saw.
3. Use a belt sander to do the bulk of the shaping, foiling, and rocker.
4. Sharpen the rails down (water side)
5. Fine sand...100->220->300
6. Add art work, i.e. etchings, or even lightly burn with a blow torch
7. Stain if desired
8. **Mix 2 parts Boiled Linseed oil with 1 part Turpentine** for sealant. Just one coat, though keep the monster cans for future seals or other planes you might make. (Home Depot or equivalent)
9. Let dry for at least 48 hours, then add hardware. You find all of the items at West Marine.