No matter what you might think. No matter the flourish and flick of the magician plane salesman’s wrist,  or the expert presentation of magazine writers or the gurus of woodworking shows, planes remain an evolutionary work in progress.

Planes come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and working on my new book has brought a more critical assessment of the essential value of each of the types developed through the centuries. In our present wisdom we wonder why craftsmen of old took 40 years to accept those with infinite adjustment. Truth is there were and are some things that the modern counterparts still cannot do and still do not have.

Anyway, my new plane book is well under way and the planes I use, have used and will us in the future are all featured in such a way that you will glean from my work and my ways of working the planes on wood.

 

Today I worked for 5 hours on a series of different bench planes made by different makers over the past 80 years. My findings changed from plane to plane and nothing was as predictable as I thought. Bevel-up, bevel-down, Stanley, Woden, Sorby, Veritas, Norris, smoothers, jacks and jointers, thin irons thick irons A1, O2, chrome vanadium, carbon steel all gave quite, quite  remarkable results that defy the modern-day exponents in their two-page magazine evaluations and assessments.

 

Something I realised today is this. There was a time when engineers asked we craftsmen what we wanted. We knew and we told them. They made it and we used it.

 

Things changed; handles, irons, weights, thicknesses and so on. Engineers have strayed from  trying to understand what we craftsmen want to telling us what we need. Some of the questions I encounter leave me bemused as I discover by my planing, new facts to challenge the sciences.

 

1 Comment

  1. don kertesz on 11 April 2019 at 10:53 pm

    paul,ijust wanted to tell you about a plane I made a while back .this plane was copied from a plane found at an archaeological dig in Yorkshire England several years ago ,it dates back to circa 200 a.d. and was made of ivory with an iron sole .the most interesting thing about the design was that it had hand holding slots fore and aft instead of tote and knob . I had to duplicate it which I did in air dried ash using the krenov method. I have to tell you its a joy to use ! because my fingers fit into the open slots and give good control this plane is much easier to use with my some what arthritic hands (im 71) . thanks



  • Michael Geiger on Furniture For Your HomeThis post has got my hands itching. My wife and I have just began to push the canoe of a big venture into the waters. We've purchased our first house (awaiting home loan approval a…
  • Sylvain on It’s All in the Joinery- Grant, if the two sides of your assembly were adjacent cut from a same board, they will be showing the same compressibility property. - Paul, very interesting this drawing. Now m…
  • Sylvain on Furniture For Your Home- funny to see your reflection in two window glasses on the second picture. - many women complain that men leaves too much life-management mental-strain on them. That comes from th…
  • Paul Sellers on It’s All in the JoineryI am always struck by how many people go to such great lengths to flatten the flat face of their plane irons when the lever cap presses the blade along the whole of the fore-edge t…
  • William Nenna on It’s All in the JoineryHonestly, I find your concerns on sharpening a thicker blade moot if handled differently. Doing a grind at whatever bevel angle you are using on the primary bevel down to just shor…
  • Garrett Swalwell on It’s All in the JoineryMy first dovetail box has gaps. Currently working on a commissioned coin box for a work friend.
  • Jim on Furniture For Your HomeJust imagine Paul, that with all of the skills that you have taught us if we lived during the middle ages we could be building cross bows for the kings army!