Sunday, September 13, 2015

Housekeeping note and some recent work

When I started this blog several years ago, it was mostly just for fun, to keep a log of some projects for friends and family. Along the way, my compulsion for planemaking got the better of me, I started to sell some planes, and then I decided to make it an actual business, as I announced in my last post.

This leaves the blog in an awkward situation. On the one hand, I really don't like reading blogs that are just mouthpieces for someone's business. On the other hand, I can't pretend that it's just a hobbyist blog any more.

I think the solution is to be as transparent as possible about what I write and why I write it. Going forward, the blog will be a mix of things:
  • Informational posts about planemaking techniques and methods. Notwithstanding the recent increase in online resources about planemaking, there's still a lot of ground to cover. I'm planning some posts on design and layout, float-making, and more.
  • Photos of recent planes (as below). These may or may not be for sale, and sometimes they'll be planes used to make other planes. 
  • Blatantly commercial announcements of products, prices, etc. I'll try to keep these to a merciful minimum.
  • Personal projects: furniture, tools not connected with the business, etc.
  • Other random stuff.
Hopefully, I can be clear about what is what, so casual readers won't feel like they're getting a sales pitch.


Anyway, enough of that. Here are some pics of a try plane I completed today. Actually, it still needs some more finish--it's only got one coat of oil at the moment, but I was impatient to give it a test run and take some pictures. I had a feeling this would be a special one, and I wasn't wrong…

I built the plane for my own personal use, and to have a demonstration plane at woodworking shows (I'm going to start showing my planes at some shows, starting with Lie Nielsen hand tool events next month). Its 23" long with a 2 1/2" Butcher iron. American quartersawn beech with a cocobolo strike button.

The quartersawn grain on this piece of beech is really something. It almost looks like little beads of water.

The next shot looks staged, like I'm holding the shaving up with my other hand, but I'm not. The combination of a well-tuned cap iron, set the right distance from the cutting edge, along with an appropriate depth of cut, makes the shavings shoot straight out of the escapement. I remember when it was common wisdom that cap irons cause wooden planes to clog. Used incorrectly, they certainly can, but used right, they eject the shavings with marvelous efficiency.

The surface left by the plane is quite nice; here it is on some quartersawn beech (what else?)

Can't have a plane photo session without the obligatory pile of shavings!

Hope you enjoyed it, and thanks for looking.


  1. No Comments!?!?

    Nicely done, and one of the more lovely sticks I've seen in 2 foot length- dead quartered and no twist at all.

    There is little that's more satisfying than pushing shavings straight up and out of the plane only to have them lay over next to the work when the cut terminates.

  2. Thanks Dave, I appreciate that. Yep, the nice straight shavings make work easier. I remember an old maxim from the machine shop, that a good machinist not only cuts a clean surface, he also directs the chips exactly where he wants them. I guess the same is true of planing. Perhaps 18th/19th C. workers had a keener appreciation of that--might explain, for example, why wooden joinery planes usually eject shavings onto the bench, while metal ones like the Stanley 45/55 eject the shavings on the ground, under foot and in the way.

    I can't figure out why this blog is causing comments to double post. If it happens again, just ignore it, and I'll delete the extra comment. It's happened to a bunch of people, so the problem is definitely on this end.

  3. Really nice! Simply outstanding. You wouldn't happen to be coming to Rochester, NY when the Rochester Woodworking Society is having Thomas Lie-Nielsen show up, would you?

    1. Steve, I wasn't planning to…Rochester is a long haul from here. I'm going to start locally (VA) and take it from there.