Hand Tools Archive

A new block plane question

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Disclaimer: This question is entirely a result of curiosity. I do not expect the answers to be of any practical value to me or others.

Without thinking I used a block plane today, when earlier I said I never used one. I overlooked a common planing operation.

I make traditional drawers. I face the same tasks to make a drawer as someone in 1840. What differs, more or less, are the tools we use. The drawers are made. I am refining the fit to the openings with a plane, an operation presumably identical to 1840. I am planing the sides to clean up dovetails and refine the clearance. I am using a metal plane vs wood in 1840. No significant difference in method or result, just the details of the tool.

Planing strokes are front to back along the drawer side. Pins on back board are unsupported end grain. They will splinter if the blade exits the unsupported back side. I, and I am guessing the 1840 drawer maker, chamfers the back vertical edge of the drawer to eliminate the risk splintering the end grain pin on the back side.

I used a block plane. A one handed plane was handy because I could position the drawer with one hand/arm and plane with the other. I did not need to fixture the drawer to the bench.

Presuming the 1840 drawer maker also chamfered this edge , what would they have used?

A more global question, the block plane is a one handed plane. Some planing operations are most handy done one handed on the plane. Are the coffin planes described earlier serviceable for the occasions where a one handed plane would be the best planing option? Some other means to this end in 1840?

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