Hand Tools

Re: The decline of the wooden plane in Nth America

I don't buy that summary. Infill planes are basically metal planes, just as much as Bailey planes are metal planes, despite the handles. Infill planes despite their renoun just yell "kludge" There aren't many features that actually are beneficial. The dovetail joinery is hardly a superior method of manufacture, and the wooden infil is not up to much.

We really don't know whether wooden planes declined to start with. We do know that mass manufacturing picked up. But it all sounds like saying modern generations are more accomplished musically because more people own Ipods. But then wait a second, are there less people playing real musical instruments today? In general there seem fewer people willing to master musical instruments, or much of anything else currently, but the population is so much higher, maybe the same number of serious performers still exist. I mean, you just can't seriously perform many of the same functions with metal planes. Today, if there was interest, CNC could be programed to turn out synthetic, or metal molding planes. Though it isn't happening yet. The quality of goods just declined overall, and in that sense many wooden planes did disappear, but it wasn't up with metal down with wood. Metal planes have never seriously got off the ground.

Serious woodworking cultures stuck with wooden planes. I do agree with that.

There seems to be this view that wooden planes were displaced by metal planes. That isn't what I see. The culture of bespoke everything took a dive. Steve Jobs, a billionaire wore jeans and a T-shirt. Mass manufacturing of cheap goods destroyed hand woodworking, and also gave us metal planes, the relationship is in manufacturing vs bespoke, not a transition to metal tools. It wasn't progress it was a revolution.

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