Hand Tools Archive

The lens that we all view through...

david weaver
I recall Larry's insistence on single iron planes and when I was working through using the double iron (which to me was not intended to just be some planing, but a life change - learning something that would actually allow me to work mostly or completely by hand without just making it some little novelty where I make boxes or guitars - but articles like kitchen cabinets and doors if I want to do them by hand.

I just couldn't figure out how someone wouldn't get the whistling sh*ts of trying to dimension wood with single iron planes. It gets old in a hurry, and I had a selection of single iron planes that was pretty dandy.

I watched larry's excellent video on making side escapement planes since then. He skews a 55 degree smoother to get it to plane a plane blank. The plane blank is the key - you can tolerate that kind of faffing if you don't have a pile of a half dozen door parts and panels to work around, or you aren't planing around the corner on a door frame.

What larry does in the video isn't how he works day by day, his work is a lot more automated. I'm sure he has a process for grinding and setting the bevel on new irons. I'm not a customer of his, but imagine that planes show up practically ready to be used.

Once I start using any of my H&Rs, however much or little one will be used, I do as little as I can to grind anything. I don't know if they'll ever need to see anything other than slips for the hollows and other profile planes with inside profiles or bench stones for the rounds.

I'm glad that I didn't waste the money on a foredom system, because I wouldn't use it to carve (maybe it would be worth the money then), and the cones, I've used a little bit, but for the sake of not rolling past the edge of an iron, I'd prefer a file.

Nevertheless, someone who is buying (used) or making planes will probably feel at first like they're really in need of finding a fast way to grind plane irons, and use conicals. But after that, unless you're a glutton for punishment, you'll probably baby the planes and rarely grind them again unless there's an issue.

This lens is probably what causes half or more of the arguments on the internet, I'd guess. The other half being people who don't know what lens to even look through, but who want to be in the discussion, anyway.

The saw jointing debate brought up the same thing - I couldn't imagine jointing saws all the time, but if I had a business sharpening old saws or resharpening saws for rough users, maybe that's necessary. I'd hate to do that day to day. Most people would hate to use hand tools for more than just novelty things.

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