Hand Tools Archive

The best teachers...

David Weaver
...are going to be the folks who have been recently introduced to something and meaningful failure and meaningful success will mean something to them.

There may be exceptions to that, but 40 years of reflexive work makes a lot of the little dos and don't go away, just like nobody leans over on a bike without counterbalancing themselves, someone who just learned a hard lesson about that might be able to describe it better.

My discussion earlier wasn't meant to suggest that there isn't historical reference to the cap iron - I kind of thing we've seen at least a half dozen solid references , all the way down to at least one of the issues of planecraft giving gnat's hair references, but it stuck to noone.

I notice that all of the English "joiners" or trained craftsmen (who spend more time selling videos and giving lessons) all say they were taught it, but none has anything material prior to 2012. Warren talked about it but I don't think he was that interested in anyone learning it - I was. I was because it is (along with basic saw sharpening and efficient tool sharpening) the link between dimensioning wood or not. I don't believe any hobbyist can manage half the productivity with single iron planes (and the experience will be miserable) unless they manage to find a perfect supply of lumber. If I were to try to get lumber so good as that, it would quadruple my material cost and as much rending of garments as there is about people spending too much on tools, making two or three furniture projects with a grand's worth of hardwood in them each year (to make furniture that nobody else really wants) really pushes back the retirement age for most.

Bill Tindall and I said something back in 2012 that once we started publishing articles, etc, that we'd see the armchair experts saying either they've done it the whole time or reading backwards in texts to find a reference and then claiming they knew it the whole time. Tom's comment about tapping the cap iron into the plane until the shaving straightens is one of the few plain correct references that I saw.

Bill makes a lot of furniture and he can correct me if I'm wrong, but what he mostly needs in a plane is something to trim and flush things and not subject him to huge amounts of work doing it. He's one of the few people I've seen who uses it all the time without dimensioning. Once someone gets into dimensioning, it's extremely foolish to avoid it.

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