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.