Hand Tools

Re: decline of wooden plane - green vs dry lumber?

John Aniano in Central NJ
Hello Tom and Stewie,

An existential thought came to me about this subject. Perhaps the shift from wood to metal bodied planes was due in part to craftsman no longer using rived, green wood as their basic source material. We all know that planing green wood, especially oaks, often leaves brown or even black marks from the interaction between the moisture in the wood and the metal plane bottom. Wooden bottom planes in general do not have this problem. Might it be possible that during the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, as kiln dried wood became the norm, and as metal planes became available, the marking problem became a non-issue? There has always been furniture made from air dried wood making the type of plane bottom irrelevant. I'm just noting that the wholesale switch in the US from wood to metal planes may have coincided with greater availability of non-rived, kiln dried lumber. Is this just a coincidence or a true cause and effect? We will probably never know.


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