After a couple of good days in the 'shop, reasonable progress has been made on the Robert Inghamish style box.
Firstly, I wanted to be able to inlay the ebony into the grooves and planing the sides parallel is a bit fraught...take one shaving too much and you've got a sloppy fit. However, tape a little piece of card to the shute to cant over the inlay and the edge now becomes bevelled, so that all I needed to do was to fit it half way into the groove for a perfect fit. Simply remove, apply a little TBIII and squish between a couple of decent G-cramps...sorted. How simple is that?
What wasn't quite so simple was cleaning the ebony afterwards...no matter what plane I used (even my LV BU smoother with a very fine mouth), taking shavings across the grain (even with the plane skewed) was giving nasty tear out. I tried the Veritas No 80 scraper with more success but it was a bit unwieldy for small pieces like this. In an ideal world a LN scraper would have been just the tool to do the job...except I didn't have one!
I went to bed last night with a bit of a problem, which required a little deep pondering to solve...
Then I had one of those 'eureka' moments...a back-beveled plane iron! In case your unfamiliar with the concept, I used a back-beveled iron in my little Cuban Mahogany smoother (in the second pic) The single iron is set at 55deg (so it's already quite steep) but by honing another small 25deg bevel on the back of the blade, it now has an effective pitch (the actual cutting angle that the wood sees) of 80deg, which almost makes it into a scraper plane. The result of this brain storm is that I now had an effective tool to smooth the ebony...and it worked a treat.
The LN scraper would be better though...and I really, really need one.
It's a crying shame but you know what they say about the road to Hell...I can see that Plan A has been well and truly trashed.