For the manner in which men live is so different from the way in which they ought to live, that he who leaves the common course for that which he ought to follow will find that it leads him to ruin rather than safety.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Flat Platen Done...

...and all I need now is the work rest. This has been quite the project. I put a lot of time into it. I'm one of those people who has more time than time is how I get what I want.

This is my morning's work. Before heading out to the family dinner, I spent some time in the shop to keep this going. The platen plate is in the mill. At this point, it was square and one face flat. It still needs holes for mounting screws. I also mostly completed the angle plate.

After returning from dinner, this is the completed flat platen, minus a work rest.

The platen plate is mounted to the angle plate via four 1/4-20 screws. The angle plate is slotted to allow the platen to be moved from side to side. Also, since the belts I use are 2'' wide, I made the platen a hair under that. If the platen is wider than the belt, you can't plunge the blade. That was something I learned early on with my Kalamazoo grinder.

The mating of the angle plate and platen plate. All mating surfaces are machined to ensure flatness and squareness. I also machined the working face of the platen plate. Machining the surfaces flat eliminates variables from the equation. By making sure that the tooling is correct and square, it is easier to troubleshoot problems...essentially making them operator error.

This is something I want to change. Fortunately, the only part that has to change is the platen plate. I had through bolts with nuts stuck in my head and made it that way. Not my best idea, luckily, not my worst ever either. I would benefit from making a new platen plate with threaded holes and running the screws in from this side. That way I only need an Allen wrench to make adjustments. As it stands now, you need an Allen wrench and a 7/16" wrench.
The reason behind the removable platen plate, versus just using the angle plate is versatility. First off, if it wears out, it's a lot easier to machine a flat plate than an entire angle plate. Secondly, I can radius the edges for different plunge effects on the blades. And lastly (because I may never go this far) is to cut the entire face as a radius. Imagine that instead of being flat, it has an arc along its length at a certain radius. I could then get a hollow grind without using an expensive wheel. There are few, if any, contact wheels above 12" that are within my budget. Even 12" is pushing it. I could, for example, cut a platen plate with an 18" arc. That would be the equivalent of using an 18" contact wheel. If I was a production knife maker, I would just buy the appropriate wheels. But I'm not. It might, in some cases, be to my advantage to just make my own platen plate for a particular knife instead of purchasing a $300-$500 contact wheel...some are even more!

The last step is the work rest. I'm still up in the air over what exactly I want it to be. Since I have no plans on leaving the house tomorrow (being my most hated day of the year: Black Friday) I should be able to get it done.

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