Hand Tools Archive

Lignum Vitae plane *PIC*

Glen Yoder
About 20 years ago I was at a meet where a guy was selling his deceased father's collection of wood. The guy was making blocks for kids to play with and he had cocbolo, ebony, and such in large chunks. The large chunks were $20 each. I bought a chunk of lignum vitae that was 3" x 3-1/2" x 24".

Our orders are down so this week we were only working 9 hour days instead of the usual 10. Thus I had an hour at the end of the day to use the shop. I decided to build a smoothing plane out of the lignum vitae. I had purchased a 2" iron and chipbreaker from Ron Hock previously for this purpose.

This was built entirely with power tools. I have about 4 hours into it at this point. The wood is an orange color when cut and turns to the dark brown rapidly. The side I photgraphed has a large sapwood streak in it but it is only about 1/4" deep. I need to flatten the sole yet and then grind and hone the iron. I made some shavings with it but it does not work well at this point. It was a fun project, weighs about 3 pounds, and I am very happy with the results.

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