Hand Tools

Re: Super article by Steve Voigt in PW...

John Aniano in Central NJ
Hello Wiley,

Thanks for the kind words, but all bow makers are a bit anal retentive and attention to details is a prerequisite to the craft! Having worked as an engineer for 20 years only makes is worse...

I'll have to measure the pair of ~4-1/2" single bladed coffin smoothers I have. One, a ~1890's (?) Marshall, Glasgow, in beech, is in very nice condition, except for the wedge tips - they seem too short, as per your comments, and a bit mangled. I was thinking that I could attempt to splice (glue) new tips to the wedge to improve them, but honestly, I haven't even sharpened the blade to see how it performs at present. Might be just fine, I don't know.

The other plane, the boxwood one, marked "Matthews" (possibly E. L. Matthews of Baltimore) has a beech wedge from another plane and the blued (burnt!) end of the blade is too narrow, as per comments from Bob Rozieski's site. The mouth opening is a full 1-1/2" and the iron is 1/8" less, so no wedge tips would properly hold the blade and guide chips from the mouth. This plane is in need of both a new blade and a new wedge. I'll have to dig through my small stash of irons to see if anything might work. I think I have a Peugeot Freres blade that I could cut to size.

Since these planes have no chip breakers, is it advisable to close up the mouth with a Dutchman patch? They are small detail planes and would never be used to smooth a large panel. I can see them breaking an edge or beveling a board but not much else, imo.

Small planes (and boxwood tools!) always follow me home and I'd enjoy getting this little Matthews smoother back to useable condition.


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