Friday 2 November 2012

Getting started

Where to start? Well I guess I should talk about why I started making planes. As an apprentice in Canada in 2003, our first project was a dovetailed foot stool that was constructed using only hand tools and I fell in love with working wood in this manner. My instructor was using a wooden plane that he had made. I was struck by how beautifully it worked and how he had customized the shape to fit his hands. He was very generous and offered to help me make my first plane. Here is a picture.

Rock maple and rosewood

This is basically a copy of his plane, except I carved a horn in the front of mine. The scrolled wedge was his design. This plane was made using Rock Maple and Rosewood.

From here I continued to make and use wooden planes. Here is a picture of my next two planes. A 19 inch Try plane and an 8 inch Smoother with custom adjustment hammer. These planes were constructed using Beech and Wenge. As my skills increased I could incorporate the sliding dovetail sole.

beech wood and wenge

As I began to gain more woodworking experience and try out different styles of planes. I realised that the shape of my earlier Smoothers was not really that comfortable. Then I made a couple of these Smoothing planes.

Pearwood and Cocobolo

The shape is basically a more organic version of the ECE Primus wooden Smoothing planes. The body is Pearwood and the sole is Cocobolo. Another difference in this style plane was incorporating a knurled screw in the lever cap as opposed to a wedge. This makes adjusting the plane much easier. When you tap the body of the plane to adjust the depth of cut, only the blade moves, not the blade and wedge.

In my next blog I will talk about how I progressed to making the infill planes that you can see in my gallery. Here are a few more pictures of some of my wooden planes. The low profile, radius bottom plane was made from a beautiful piece of heartwood Pear and Cocobolo.

Pearwood and Cocobolo

Heartwood Pear and Cocobolo

Heartwood Pear and Cocobolo