Hand Tools Archive

Re: chariot?
Response To:
chariot? ()

Sgian Dubh
David, I must admit I'm pretty sure I've never used a chariot plane, and to be honest, I don't think I've ever seen one close up. Apart from standard bench planes, i.e., block plane to try plane, plus routers, shoulder planes and the like, I've also never really used moulding planes in anger. I'm a bit limited I suppose on many of those planes that fall into the category of old style specialist planes still in use by purist hand tool woodworkers.

The nature of the living I've made in this furniture game has always pushed me more towards machine woodworking than to hand tools. Having said that, I am fond of, and enjoy, the hand tools I do use, and they have more often than not formed an essential element of what I've made over the years. For instance, something I think I've mentioned before elsewhere, I enjoy prepping (when the job and/or time allows) wood surfaces polish ready with my little squad of smoothing planes, i.e., a Spiers infill set fairly coarse because it holds a good edge for a long time, followed by a Recod No 4, not quite so coarse that needs sharpening quite often, and a Clifton smoother set fine to finish off that seems to hold a good edge for a long time, and almost always a bit of scraping and/or sanding to finish off.

I'm not a hand tool purist, don't wish to be either, and the greater my involvement in the commercial furniture/woodworking sector has been at various times in my career, the lesser has been my use of hand tools, basically because in that sector, the production schedules and the volume of production required just won't allow for it.

Still, I've a fair amount of experience teaching woodworking learners too, and for those learners there's real value in developing a decent understanding and facility in the use of hand tools, which rather chimes with your mention of the union carpenter and the requirement in his past to buy planes, chisels, saws and the like. I think it's a truism that the lessons learnt about how wood reacts to working relatively slowly with hand tools transfers readily to working wood with machines, but the lessons don't work so well the other way around, i.e., beginning with machines and then trying to transfer what's been learned to hand woodworking. Slainte.

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