Hand Tools Archive

A Plane for an ape.. *PIC*

david weaver

(one more showing just how clownish the handle of this plane for the ape-handed man is - my try plane is in the background.)

About 8 years ago, a local guy introduced me to woodworking. I wasn't originally from the area, and his wife thought we had similarly inappropriate senses of humor, and the same disinterest in the normal male social scene.

He also introduced me to david charlesworth DVDs and lie nielsen planes, though he is almost entirely a machine woodworker, and fanatical about treating wood as if it's a piece of metal being machined.

He's gotten overburdened at work, and I've gone and had two kids in the last 6 years and that has really quashed our ability to get together and exercise our humor without making our wives angry (which happens to both of us if either of us share what we think is funny with our wives).

I still talk to him from time to time - twice a year maybe, and two weeks ago , I asked him if he'd like a plane to put with his other planes that he doesn't use, and he said sure. I told him I'd build a try plane and asked him to measure his hands across the web below the knuckles. i have only ever seen one person who had bigger hands than this guy without having acromegaly (and I'm not sure the guy with larger hands might doesn't have acromegaly, he does have some of the attributes). My buddy's hands are part gorilla - 4.75" across the knuckles...clown hands, and he's a big guy, probably 300 pounds.

I finished his plane today, a 24" try plane and I'll drop it off next week. I thought I'd show it just because of how ridiculous the handle looks, and this is a size that is pretty much spot on for his hand, just over 4.75" under the horn, and just over 5" total height. It might be the tiniest bit snug, but he won't use it that much, anyway, he's got a DC 580 planer with a micrometer setup for depth, and a helical head jointer.

Behind it is my plane with a normal sized handle (my hand is 3.5" across at the knuckles).

I really like making planes. If I sold them (not that I'd expect they'd be easy to sell), I'm pretty sure I wouldn't, because the small problems that come with making them entirely by hand would really irritate me (notice the slight overcut at the mortise front next to the right eye, I didn't even see that until the plane was oiled). I don't expect people to appreciate the aspects of making them entirely by hand, or troubling over making a double iron plane instead of single iron plane - especially for someone who calls on the phone and the nicest thing he refers to me as is luddite. That makes dropping this plane off in his shop just that much more fun - the fact that he never lets the opportunity pass to tell me how dumb he thinks working mostly with hand tools is :)

Oh, and one other random thought. Never let anyone tell you a transitional is totally worthless. I had a nice one up to last week that I didn't know what to do with, knowing the iron was worth as much as the plane, and probably more if it was sold without a picture of a transitional plane. I like to put a screw through the front of my handles, and the front of the handle being long like that isn't that common to begin with. A screw like that exists in one of my planes, but I understand it is not period correct for the early 1800s. I have trouble finding something that's looks OK for this (slotted, flush fit, long with good thread) and by chance, the screw from a transitional knob is perfect for the job. It is long and coarsely threaded. So transitionals are good for something - they're good for tearing apart to get at the irons and the screws and throwing the rest away (and arguably, people could make chisel handles out of the beech).

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