Hand Tools Archive

The reward for making your own tools...

david weaver
Is using them. I desperately want to make just planes. No kitchen cabinets, no nothing else, but my econo bench with a 1.25" thick top and thin legs has served me for almost ten years now, but parts of it are starting to fail.


I've been waiting for hardwoods to be inexpensive, and no truck. West Penn lumber had or has a sale going on for domestic lumber, and ash was relatively inexpensive, and free freight. So for just a hair over $400, I got 155 bf of 8/4 ash, they pick, so that 155 BF is going to turn out to be just about the right amount to make a bench (they pick means not the widths I'd have picked). It'll leave me with long narrow scrap that I can always use in teh garden, anyway.

The real treat in all of this, given that I'm not interested in making a bench, is that I get to use my planes as much as I want, and on something a little harder than cherry. That said, the ash works easy and the shavings that come from edge jointing are fantastic. An easy 7-8 thousandths. The action of the plane is so much better than the LN 7 that I had, and the other metal planes, I wish I would've switched to wooden planes much earlier, but wouldn't have known how to make them properly, I guess. There's a world of difference between a plane just made or tight from use and older ones, too.

Fantastic continuous shavings spring from it.


The japanese stone that is just barely capable of cutting the hardest chisels I have is totally in love with vintage steel, too. The iron in the try plane is a vintage butcher that Jim Andrews on SMC sold to me for a song, and it's not particularly soft for an old iron, but nothing in hardness compared to ouchi and kiyotada stuff. I think I've found a new finish stone to play with for a while, just not on the tools I expected to use it on.

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