My next step in the Great Kerfing Plane Saga was to go where I think kerfing plane evangelist Tom Fidgen started – kerfing planes with a fixed fence to produce a set width to the cut. My most typical use of resawing by hand is making hand-sawn veneers, so I decided to make my first kerfing plane part of that equation. Since I am not yet as skilled at veneer sawing as the craftsmen in the 18th century Parisian ateliers, who routinely harvested twelve sheets of veneer per inch of stock, I struck a more realistic task of cutting eight per inch. Thus, my need was for a dedicated kerfing plane set to 1/8″.
Falling back on my old habits and routine, I made the body of my plane from 13mm baltic birch plywood. I had first made a pattern for the tool, one I could use repeatedly. I derived the pattern template from a backsaw, which I traced onto 3mm plywood and cut out. The template now hangs overhead off a joist in the shop, awaiting for new kerfsaw-making urges to strike.
I traced the new kerf saw pattern on the thicker plywood, and drilled out holes where they would make the sawing the most amenable. I accomplished this with my coping saw in a couple minutes. Once I was done with the sawing I worked on the profiles of the handle with rasps and files so that it was comfortable in my hand.
I made a 3mm rectangle to be glued to the heavier plywood to provide for the cutting spacing.
The assembling continued apace with another scrap of bowsaw blade and a piece of scrap brass barstock to serve the retaining element to hold it all together.
The completed tool is a delightful amalgam of lightness with robustness for vigorous use, combined with comfort and precision for repeated cutting of veneer.
The test drive was perfect!
I followed up on this kerfing plane with one for some teaching I had upcoming, where the ultimate objective was to derive prepared oak boards of 1/4″ thickness from 5/4 stock. In this case I made the fixed cutting distance 3/8″ since this was the closest scrap I had handy, and in recognition that the folks I would be teaching had no woodworking experience and a bit extra waste would be advantageous. I will soon recount that tale, confirming the tool removed a huge potential hurdle to them completing their assignment and future task.
Thanks again Tom Fidgen for leading me down this path of simplicity for the sake of precision and efficiency.