Hand Tools

Re: Surface quality from the plane question

Warren in Lancaster, PA
Back in the 1980s I took a cherry table to a craft show where I was demonstrating the pole lathe. A woman came around and looked over the table; her husband was a very fine cabinetmaker. She said "that's a beautiful piece of cherry." This table top had nice color, but very little figure, just a few dimples. So I wondered if she really thought this plain piece of cherry was beautiful, or if that is just what she said when she had nothing else to say. I was still thinking about the remark the next day.

A few years later I had this same table on display (easy to carry) and here is this woman again saying the cherry was beautiful. Then I realized what it was. She had probably never seen a no sand piece of furniture before.

The planed surface has a depth, clarity, and a liveliness that sanding deadens. It takes some skill. I would not recommend finish planing with an iron that has planed 3000 feet. It is a lot easier to sharpen the iron than to go through the sanding, sanding sealer rigamarole.

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