Creating the profiled coving in a hard and dense-grained hardwood like sapele is more problematic than say oak, or walnut, cherry and maple, simply because the grain direction alternates every half inch but it looks so beautiful. In a darker time of my life I would do these things with spindle moulders (shapers USA) using powerful power feeders compelling the wood through the cutterhead at so many feet per second. The wood came out the other side utterly soulless. On small-scale projects I once used the tablesaw method most woodworkers use and that was soulless too. No skilled work in either machine method at all you see. It was boring and took no muscle, sinew or real mental energy. Since those days I have done it by hand and feel the fulfilment and contentedness I need. I also get good and productive exercise too.
We have made planes for different aspects of the work we do on woodworkingmasterclasses (WWMC) and Joseph and I made different round-both-ways planes for instrument making a decade ago to make cellos and violins. We made one in WWMC to make the workbench/bar seats a few years back that has proven amazing, just amazing. I have made these planes from pine two by fours and from old beech taken from wooden and defunct planes. Anyway, I think this plane will remain my favourite during the coming years.
I pulled out my planes for making the coving and I sweat with the exercise of it. The coving was as even as the work I got with machines but so much smoother. I used to hate using my hand tools to refine the machine-made components. Mostly because it was counterfeit to me. Living in a culture where most people no longer make too much of anything any more, where most don’t know many if any that do make anything, my work seems to me to matter all the more. I’ve escaped the boredom of watching CNCs and still draw everything I make in my notebooks (real ones), sketchbooks, journals and on scraps of wood. I don’t think I could feel clever programming a computer to make the machines make what I want to make. I’d just be bored and feel cheated working with my hands.
What pleases me all the more is discovering thousand upon thousands now that feel just the same way.