Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
from my travels into guitar making...
Response To:
Cap Iron in Japan ()

David Weaver
...where things like fine thicknessing without tearout and surface preparation quickly without scraping softwoods would be useful...

....the industrial belt and drum sanders replaced planing and scraping long ago.

It's gotten to the point that makers consider any hand tooled area to be unfinished, even bracing. There's a video in japan at alvarez-yiari where someone is planing beautiful clear facets onto guitar tops (at a high rate of speed - it's in a factory in japan - guy is using very sharp japanese chisels that any of us would consider to be very sharp. An unusual thing to see in what is really a large factory and not just a boutique shop). The attendant leading the tour says at the end "when he is finished with the bracing, they will move to another department to be sanded so that they have an improved finished look.

I relayed to warren and others here before that my grandfather was friends with a clock and cabinet maker. That fellow did nice crisp work, much in the 40s through 70s - if he ever used hand tools, he removed all evidence of it. I suspect he had duplication setups for the curved parts and sanded them, and the flat parts looked like they went through a drum sander. Something like a beach oscillating drum sander would make short work of anything that would normally be planed. They can take a tiny amount off a surface or remove 1/8th of an inch at a time if you'd like them to and leave a 100 grit surface behind to be finish sanded.

If cabinetmakers stop using planes and scrapers, instrument makers use drum sanders to thickness guitar parts and sand to remove evidence of any hand tool use and the largest museums in the US determine they're from an era prior to cap iron use, what's left?

In japan, some high end interior woodwork is still left unfinished and while a lot of the shops show a guy doing the initial work with a portable planer or a super-surfacer, someone still needs to know how to plane the surfaces to finish. If they were sanded and left unfinished, they'd get dirty.

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