Hand Tools Archive

Re: Birthday gift to myself

Hank Knight
Chuck, my daughter gave me a Norris A5 she found on Portobello Road in London years ago. I thought it would immediately give me unparalleled results. I was disappointed. It didn't behave much different from my Stanleys, and, in some cases it was much worse. I bought modern A2 replacement iron from Lie-Nielsen thinking that would make a huge difference. It didn't, it was worse. Without going into all the minute details, I kept working with the plane and little by little I got to know it. It is now my favorite smoother. Nothing else in my arsenal even comes close. It handles almost every smoothing task I've given it easily. I frequently use it for final smoothing in lieu sanding. it leaves a flawless surface in most any wood. My advice is to take it slow with your new plane and learn it as you go. Try the advice you get here and elsewhere, but don't be afraid to reject stuff that obviously doesn't work. Save the stuff that works. You'll eventually get to know your plane and you'll love it, just like I love my Norris.

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