Restoring the Jack . . . Plane Speaking

Should planes arrive sharp and ready to go or are we expecting something that is really of little if any consequence? Well, our expectations have changed a little. It’s true, at one time no one expected any woodworking hand tool to arrive with a refined, surgically sharp bevel to the edges. Beyond a coarse grinding at 25-degrees, it was up to the recipient to sharpen it further to the edge they wanted. Today everyone expects it to arrive sharp, otherwise, they’re onto their social media making adverse whining comments or the review section of the seller’s site giving bad feedback. But a chisel is not like receiving an alarm clock that doesn’t work brand new from Amazon. Even if it came sharp ready for paring and chopping, a chisel will usually need sharpening again within an hour or two for the rest of its working life. When did this change in expectations happen and why?

If you order a kitchen knife the knife will arrive sharp and ready to go from the box it came in. Most owners I have known will use any knife until it dulls, which in their book would be after a year or two of daily use. At that point they start considering buying a new knife to replace it and leave the dulled one aside in the same drawer and in the same tray, never to be used again. Whereas I sharpen my kitchen knives once a week or so, or better still as soon as I have to press it firmly to a tomato skin to penetrate. Even if it takes just the lightest of pressure, the knife gets sharpened immediately. Planes, chisels and spokeshaves work on harder stuff than fruit and vegetables. There are occasions when I plane wood that I need to sharpen every 15 minutes. Mostly, that’s not the case though. Most hardwoods I use, like cherry, oak, elm, ash and a few more, are easy on the planes and chisels. Because I tend to be high self-demand, I don’t care if tools arrive from any source dull. I’ve spent 56 years sharpening tools several times a day six days a week, I just sharpen them according to need. Now if the kitchen door is sticking and I am not a carpenter I might have a different expectation. I just want something to dig me out of a hole one time. This is the case for many homeowners. It’s cheaper than hiring a carpenter if it works. Anyone can ease a door!

How the #5 Stanley arrived.

Funnily enough, though this jack plane needs only minor restorative steps, the cutting iron was indeed sharpened with bright shiny macro and secondary bevels as per any textbook and all of which advocate a two-bevel system for no good reason. Why do I say that? These textbooks usually advocate mechanical grinding of the major primary bevel followed by honing the secondary bevel sometimes called the micro-bevel. I advocate a no-nonsense freehand method that starts at roughly 30-degrees and in a continuous sweep with each struck creates an elliptical quadrant that starts at 30-degrees and tapers off to somewhere around 20-degrees. This can be more or less. It’s quick to learn and highly effective for free-hand sharpening.

I will first just try the plane without doing anything just to see what I get. The big questions for most eBay and secondhand buyers are manifold. Is the sole flat? Are the sides square to the sole? Is the cutting iron flat, dead flat? Are all the parts there and do they all work? And what about that frog? Is it mated to the sole of the plane well and will it move easily when needed? Things like this race through a person’s mind according to how much the modern-day gurus have posted online somewhere. There is always a certain level of legalism tied to those who became teachers by staying one jump ahead of others new to the craft. There is also a legalism tied to those who say of themselves, “Well, I am just a perfectionist.” Usually, I find that this is less true of them than their being somewhat more arrogant and it serves as a way of excusing themselves with such statements in the same way people say that they are highly creative and sensitive in their work. That too is often not true too. Mostly they are too precious about themselves.

The kinds of planes sold at big box stores can be made to work just fine but mostly they are bought to shave the edge of a sticking door and rarely do they even get sharpened beyond the ground bevel they came with. I have all of these low-end planes working as well as any plane you care to name.

It’s funny really because, for so many jobs around the house, the condition of the plane’s sole and squareness to the sides, etc can often be of minimal or even no concern. It’s when we get to the workbench work that the greater refinements become critical and essential to our work. That’s why so many big box stores sell an inexpensive line of planes in their line of products. Planing off three shavings from the edge of a house door to stop it sticking might not need a £250 Clifton plane when a £15 import from Asia will likely do an acceptable job if there is enough muscle and weight behind the thrusts. A few ‘tramlines‘ left in the door’s edge by a ragged cutting edge in the edge of the door can be sanded out. Hey Presto! People buying modern-day Stanleys and Records actually have no idea where they are made and packaging is deliberately misleading. I bought two tools from a big-box store here in the UK where it clearly stated that the manufacturers were from the Netherlands and the UK. This statement was at the top of the package. 20 lines down and fairly well lost to obscurity in a long list of inconsequential information, it said, ‘Made in China’. I suspect that the whole product line of hundreds of pieces were made in China by a Chinese company purporting to be manufacturers in the different countries. Perhaps owning an office somewhere in Rotterdam or Ealing is enough.

Does dead-flatness really matter so much? We’ll look at this in the next post.

In my quest to encourage woodworkers past and present and then those yet to start their journey into real woodworking using their hands and bodies as the optimum power source has been ongoing since 1990. To do this, I have encouraged everyone to look to hand tools for their woodworking health, safety and wellbeing. It was slow going to pioneer a return to well-proven technologies but, strangely enough, it was new technologies that enabled me to reach those who were searching for the deeper things woodworking. In the beginning, when `i started to encourage others toward hand tools, it was almost impossible. The only open venues for me were shows that promoted the highest presence of machine sales. I felt discouraged at the first show I went to because the booths, all of them, were mostly for carpenters working on job sites. I thought that I didn’t stand a chance. That was until I started cutting a hand-cut double dovetail and sharpening a bench plane, both in under two minutes. Suddenly, the seats, passages and aisles were packed. The questions never stopped and at the end of an hour demonstrating the crowd around my bench was ten deep. I suddenly saw where the American woodworker’s heart was, and it’s the same around the world.

A newly acquired #4 produced shavings even though it had never been sharpened, so it would take a shaving off a sticking door edge.

What makes hand tools so doable for woodworkers at all levels is the low cost and availability of secondhand woodworking tools and nowhere in the world is this more apparent than here in the UK. The plethora of secondhand hand tools available via eBay and secondhand sources makes the art of real woodworking possible at much-lowered costs for just about everyone. To replace what I can buy secondhand with new or similar quality quadruples the cost at least. Someone planning their hand tool future will most likely be able to buy all their tools secondhand within a few days or weeks and if they want the lowest prices and are prepared to put in a little sweat equity or say twelve months, searching diligently and with patience, they can likely buy all the tools they will ever need for very little money. Whereas the days of the 99p Stanley #4 on eBay may not come around again, buying smart could result in such a plane for under £10. Don’t be surprised if an elderly uncle hears of your newfound craft and offers you his or his father’s tools. Neighbours might hear you tap-tapping with a mallet and come over with a saw or a chisel set.

My recently acquired Stanley #5 Jack plane was to prove a point. Surprisingly, it did work straight away from the packing as did the Stanley #4. Both planes were logically packed well and arrived undamaged. The #4 smoothing plane was actually new and most likely unused or if it was used it was for under ten minutes — the blade was unsharpened.

I will post another blog post to live up to the title of the blog shortly.

38 thoughts on “Restoring the Jack . . . Plane Speaking”

  1. I sheepishly admit that I too was one of those who bought a new knife after the old one dulled from a year or three’s worth of cutting. I felt terrible over the years for never learning to sharpen knives, let alone tools or saws. It was a shame but there was nobody around me that knew how to do these things. I am grateful to say that all changed when I found Mr. Paul Sellers websites and videos on YouTube. That man changed my life in ways he’ll never know – believe me it’s all true! He gave me the confidence to learn that even I could sharpen freehand and that it wasn’t a secret mystery. I am now working wood like mad, and my tools and knives are sharper than ever. Thank you and your crew of people for all you do – not only are you passing on much needed knowledge but changing lives for the better every single day. Please keep up the good work, we are indeed listening and following these examples.

    1. To be fair, I think those $10 “chef knifes” you buy at someplace like Target are meant to be used and tossed. They come pretty sharp and the edge holds a good while. Plus the steel is pretty thin. Like the saw from the big box sore.

      That said, a belt sander sharpens them quite well. Never had luck with stones, but using the sander I was able to restore the edge and I think they work better than my nicer knifes for things like cutting blocks of cheese where their thinness is an asset.

        1. Oh, not at all. More if you have that $10 throw away knife and it is dull and happen to have a belt sander of some type it is worth a try before tossing them in the garbage.

          Better to have good knifes that are made to be sharpened of course, but somehow I always end up with a few of those cheap ones in addition to the good ones and hate to toss them if I can keep them usable.

  2. Reading Paul’s recollection of his first woodworking show brings back a very fond memory of my first woodworking show. In March of 2012 Paul had a booth at The Woodworking Show in Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA. The show was much like Paul described in this post. There was even a woodworking “celebrity” from a television show here in the US. I remember being discouraged at the total absence of hand tool demonstrations until I found Paul’s booth. It was all the way in the back of the hall. However, when I came across it Paul’s class had already begun and I had to stand because every chair was occupied. At the end of the demonstration Paul came around to show us the dovetail joint he had cut and assembled in just a few minutes. He walked up the aisle stopping occasionally to say a few words to someone. Then he walked across the back row where I was standing with the rest of the late comers. Paul spoke to the man standing next to me and said something about power tools not being everything they are cracked up to be. Then he turned to me, looked me square in the eyes and said, “You understand that, don’t you?” Ever since that day I’ve turned to Paul’s videos, etc. whenever I have need of instruction.

  3. Went to the local *** Hardware Store the other day as I had temporarily ‘lost’ my Stanley marking knife, and thought that it never hurts to have a spare. Checked their website, and it told me they had it in stock at that store. Got there and couldn’t find it, and finally gave in to the offers of ‘help’ from the clerk – he told me they didn’t carry them – I countered with “it’s on your website”, and he still denied they carried them and refused to look on the store computer (open to their website) to verify. I commented how I used mine several times a day, and he asked “where do you buy replacement blades?” I just looked at him, said ‘thanks’, and came home to find and sharpen my knife.

  4. Great comments about hand tools, indeed I have bought most of the tools I need as well as made some and it has cost little in comparison to machine tools.

  5. I had to buy one of those AUD$30 planes and had to spend 14 to 18 hours and a lot of sandpaper trying to reduce the casting lines because they were very deep. Fortunately I had watched Paul’s and Matt’s “restore a plane” video so I knew the sole didn’t need to be flat all over. The lever thingy (memory issue and can’t remember the proper name) was jammed tight and wouldn’t move and I thought I was going to break it with the force I had to use to free it up.

    Bought a Stanley No. 4 disguised as a lump of rust online. Somewhere I must upload the before and after photos but unfortunately it was a Stanley with plastic knobs (and I know what they are called but just can’t remember right now) and doesn’t have the screw adjustment for the frog. Bad eyes make eyeballing the position in the mouth difficult and the screw adjustment would have made that so much easier and saved me having to pull it apart each time I had to move the frog. Must go and try to finish that.

    Even with the few tools I have a saw table would be handy for cutting large pieces of wood to size. I’m not a perfectionist and if I showed you all a mortice (mortise?) that I made you would be either horrified and repulsed or cause yourself an injury laughing so much. I would like to pick up a few more basic tools but we are in lockdown and in the last 18 months we have spent 32 weeks lockdown and can’t remember how many weeks with a curfew as well so going to garage sales just isn’t happening at the moment.

    Next “tool” project is to make a rag in a can and I found the perfect rag just yesterday. Yep, I am aiming high.

    1. If you’re buying a machine for cutting larger pieces of timber, I’d recommend a band saw over a table saw. You can just do a bit more with it, in terms of rip cutting and curves and so on. It’s much more complimentary to hand tool working I find. Most cross cutting can be done with a little effort with hand saws. I generally like to do long rip cuts with a hand saw too, but it’s definitely a workout!

      1. Agreed. I wasted money on a table saw that was only good for ripping and cutting dimensional lumber. Oh and it was great at trying to kill me too.

  6. Love reading your blogs and have learned so much from your videos, Paul. Most of my hand planes were bought on eBay or at the peddlers mall for, on average, $12. Some were in dire need of care while others only needed a little work. It’s well worth the effort to restore old tools that even with the years of use by prior owners, are still far better quality than most of the modern tools. The average woodworker doesn’t have the budget to pay out high prices for the high end tools. Why spend $200 on a tool when I can get the same results from a $12 Took I restored. Looking forward to your next blog and video. Stay safe and God bless.

  7. I was given a Stanley spoke shave when I was around 11.
    I couldn’t get it to work for years. Finally after having it around for 15 years or so it dawned on me that it might need to be sharpened.
    Worked like a charm after that! No one had ever taught me that hand tools needed to be sharpened so how was I supposed to know? It was a lesson learned and extends to my kitchen knives that I sharpen every week.

  8. I have two Stanley No. 5s. When planing the edge of a board, one will reliably produce a belly (a concavity along the long edge), and the other will produce a hump in the board. Of course I can correct this by targeting where I take my shavings, but I find it interesting how differently two almost identical planes (sharpened exactly the same way) behave on the wood. I might be missing something, but it makes me think that sole flatness definitely does make a difference to how the plane behaves.

    1. Yes, sole flatness does make a difference in the way you describe, but I suppose the question is: does it matter? As long as you’re recognising the hollows or humps, they can be quickly rectified with the non-flat plane. Often second hand planes are flat for about 90% of their surface but at either and seem to bend slightly, which “transfers” to the workpiece. I saw an interesting video worth watching on YouTube a few weeks back about this by a guy called “David W”, who is flattening a number 6. He uses blue dykem to identify the high spots and then goes at them with a block of wood with some sandpaper, before a touch up at the end. It’s interesting (overkill probably, but interesting) and reasonably quick. I’ve got a few annoying spots on a number four that I can’t get down to, as well as a couple of scratches that are taking quite a while to get out with sandpaper (I do 5-10 minutes on this particular plane each time I’m out at the garage). I realise I don’t really need to, but it just feels nice. I tend to take my planes to 80 grit on a glass plate, then maybe something lower if I can be bothered, but often the 80 grit I just leave and it’s great.

    2. According to Graham Blackman, another English “Master’ of hand tools, a board can only be flattened as flat as the sole of the plane.

  9. This applies even more to hand saws – in the past high end hand saws were sold and needed to be sharpened before use. A lot of people who brought them like me probably never had the skills or tools to sharpen the saws before use so were never used.

    Some tools like Auger bits & drills were sold sharp but others seemed to assume the users would sharpen them to their requirements before use. Is it related to the fact that some tools are sharpened at different angles depending on the wood and the users preference.

    I think card scrapers are still only sold blunt but I am not sure what other tools other than planes and spokeshaves are sold which then require sharpening.

  10. The best argument I have for having a tool arrive fully fettled is to set a new owner’s expectations for what the tool should be capable of. That may not matter to folks with prior experience, it may not matter to the hypothetical one-time homeowner user, but for us relative novices, and especially those who don’t have input like Paul’s videos, I think preventing the possible “this is a crappy tool, or the wrong tool, or this is too hard and I should stick to rough carpentry” reactions does have some value.

    Of course if you buy cheapest you should probably expect that setup is sloppy and understand that you’re expected to finish that… but few newbies will have had that explained to them these days, even if they do understand that maintenance is part of using the tool. One of the things we’ve lost as we’ve lost mentorship.

    So for some of us, maybe the higher price of a tool that will work near-perfectly right out of the box is worth paying, at least first time out — just as some of us would rather get a nearly-new car and not have to worry about it for a while even if an old “beater” plus some initial reconditioning would be more cost-effective. If the goal is to learn woodworking, seeing some progress before learning sharpening etc. may be significantly more motivating.

    It’s all tradeoffs.

    (As is the microbevel issue. Yes, freehand sharpening may effectively produce the same result as a result of curving the surface slightly. But flat plus microbevel is easier for someone learning unaided to get right the first time out, especially if learning without instruction.)

    Yes, if you know what you’re doing there are less expensive solutions, or faster solutions, or both. The problem is that “if”. I’d like to see just a bit more sympathy for those who need a few training wheels to keep them from getting discouraged and moving on to another activity… while still saying “but here’s how to do it better and cheaper, and you’re going to need to learn this soon anyway so include it in your plans.”

    1. I’m sure all the way through my work, including two substantive books and a dozen or more blogs etc, that I have suggested using a sharpening aid like the Eclipse honing guide. Some have said that they just cannot get the irons sharp freehand and I have said stick with the honing guide, no problem at all. As to planes ready to go from the box, I will never advocate anyone spending upwards of £200 and more likely £300 (you name the currency) just so that they can experience what a plane should feel like. Better to take a one-day beginner’s course somewhere and get value for money and the insights they need. There seems to me to be no such thing as a lack of instruction these days and especially when it comes to instruction on hand planes.

  11. Last Saturday a #4 Stanley came from my auction buy on Ebay. It also had never had the sole flattened, or the back of the blade flattened or sharpened. still had the factory grind. It had a little surface rust. Looks like someone acquired it as a birthday present and just put it on the shelf. So tuned it and flattened and sharpened the blade, also removed the purple coating from the tote and knob and shaped them to fit my hand. It is beach. I now have a very nice plane for 60 bucks. Thank you Paul for getting me out of my machining comfort zone and into hand tools. It has been a fun journey.

  12. Just on Ebay looking for something i might be interested in.
    Prices here in US are unbelievable right now even compared to 6 months ago. Saw a #3 stanley which was said to be in good shape and ready to go. No major defects but blade and chip breaker needed to be reground for sure. Type 19 only $259 to buy now. Way out of line on price.
    A #5 stanley that was a rust bucket, handle broken in two places, no screw to hold handle in place. Adjusting knob appeared to be from some other plane maker. Only 175 dollars to buy now.
    Those prices were without shipping add 25 to each for shipping costs.
    Thank god i bought my stanley’ planes a few years ago most on ebay. Most expensive was $75.
    Two years ago i was looking for a beat up #3 to use as a. scrub plane. Found a #3 with a blade modified to a big camber exactly what I wanted It was $30 at wood show in Saratoga , NY 2 years ago. I also use that #3 with a straight blade for regular smoothing. Best deal I ever had.
    Things are crazy on ebay done deals to be had but others are unbelievable high prices.
    Thank you for all the teaching videos and philosophy you put in your blogs. The detail and thoroughness of your videos goes far beyond what most ‘teaching videios’ show.
    I feel i am eith uou every step of the process

  13. Our great island nation was built upon these planes. It was back in the glory days when British carpenters would all use Yankee screwdrivers and no5 jack planes for their work. It is truly saddening that the carpenters now use heavy, expensive and noisy machines all in the name of quick work. There seems to be no pride in a carpenters work anymore. This is one of the reasons why our great nation -the united kingdom- is failing now. God save the queen and god save our jack planes from being forgotten about.

  14. Paul, I have to disagree that the big box planes can be made to work fine. Maybe by someone will a high amount of skill or experience, but I tried and tried to get one working, even just as a scrub plane, but never could. Closest I was able to get was a few good shavings, three or four, in pine before had to fiddle with it again. Blade would not hold an edge for any length of time, it would slip in the top iron no matter how tight, …, just never ending issues.

    This is in the US, maybe they sell better ones in the UK, but IMO the quality hit the point where there is no saving them.

      1. No, Kobalt brand. From Lowes. Was my first plane. I didn’t know any better and I think I paid $50 USD for it.

        I tried, I really did, but I eventually had to give up on it. Almost made me give up on learning hand tools (a poor craftsman blames their tools), but I took another shot with a known good quality and was able to confidently say that 80% of my issues were that plane.

        On the bright side, in my quest to make that Kobalt work, I acquired everything I needed to tune up a vintage plane.

        1. I have two Kobalt brand planes.
          The block planes have crap blades. (I replaced it with a decent hock blade that fit.)
          The number 4 is surprisingly good, and it was $35 two months ago. It has a good sole, the handles are not junk, the adjusters all work. I used it for a scrub plane and the blade holds a really good edge.

          That block plane blade was just……bad.

          More of an FYI for others out there, not disagreeing with you.

          I have had more issues with the Rockler brand planes than Kobalt. Their hand router is fine, but the 4 1/2 has taken an extreme amount of work to get it to plane correctly compared to the Kobalt stuff funny enough. Luckily the Rockler stuff was on sale or a gift from someone, so not a lot of money lost there.

        2. I have 3 kolbalt #4 size planes, one is a scrub plane. The frog pads on the scrub body were all cast at diffrent hights. This might be the cause.

  15. I heartily concur with Paul, I work part time in a drug and alcohol rehab center teaching basic wood working, when I teach sharpening a range of knives and home tools appear from their families visiting, occasionally a new plane or chisel never sharpened. I went to a local tool seller and asked the boy assistant where they kept plane irons, he directed me to the area where they sold kitchen appliances. No wonder we shop on line.

  16. I’m lucky: I have tools from my father and brother, both of whom I suspect would be surprised to see me using them so well. That’s thanks to Paul, who is as endlessly-encouraging as my flute teacher (who doesn’t complain when I demonstrably haven’t practised, just looks disappointed – a most effective motivation). Thank you, Paul.

  17. I have two Buck Brothers planes I bought at Home Depot years ago for 17 dollars each. I believe they sell now for 35 dollars. The totes and handles don’t feel as good as Stanley planes but they both work really well. The soles aren’t perfectly flat but the blades, chip breakers and frogs are solid. Honestly, I love those two planes. Same with all my chisels. Every last one are inexpensive Home Depot purchases, either Buck Brother or Stanley, and I’ve flattened the backs and refined them and they work wonderfully. The mallet I use for my chisels is an old reclining handle from a Lazy Boy chair. It has a perfect angle and nice heft.

  18. As posted previously. I just purchased 10 planes and scrapers from a school district auction, in Texas. Paid $80.00 for the lot. All Stanley. 4 No 5’s, 1 No 4, 1 No 151 spokeshave, 3 No 80 scrapers, 1 No 82 scraper. All of the planes were complete, blades had never been sharpened and no rust. The scrapers were missing blades except for 1 No 80. I am looking forward to getting them all in useable working order.

  19. Once again I find myself starting by thinking I’m reading a piece about doing, when in fact I’m reading a piece about being.

    I love reading your posts but rarely comment as there’s often little I can contribute other than a nod and thumbs up…but I felt an urge to congratulate you on addressing, in a sensitive and subtle way, some of the negative attributes of the maker mindset.

    It’s all too easy to approach projects with a need for validation for the investments we make in tools and machines. By doing that as you quite rightly infer, the joy becomes less about the personal sense of achievement in growing your skillset, but more about the praise from others on the completion of a project.

    By doing so we risk missing out on the innate pleasures that crafting can bring, as it simply becomes a process; one of following prescribed steps dictated by others to reach a goal.

    I do love finishing a project, but I also love getting clean thin paring cuts and beautiful twizzles of shavings…It’s actually this love of the process that has dissuaded me from pursuing furniture making as a way to make a living….having visited an number of so called ‘artisan’ workshops, buzzing with machinery, I was left with the distinct impression that the day to day was more furniture assembly than furniture making.

    I hope you never stop digging around in the mindset of the worldwide workers of wood.

  20. Hi Paul,
    I couldn’t agree more that having a plane sharp enough to use right out of the box is not very important, however I ram convinced it is an indicator of the overall materials and manufacturing quality. The first plane I bought was a brand new Stanley No. 4 (sometime in the 90s). It was one of those cheapened “marketing” era planes Stanley sold then (and I suppose still does) with the warped sole, the wobbly frog that doesn’t fit right and soft blade I’ll fitted to the soft chip breaker. It took hours to get that plane to work right, but only after weeks of research to find out what I needed to do. For a person who had never used a plane before or had the chance to feel a sharp tuned plane move across a board the experience left an impression about “el cheap-I” manufacturers that has stayed with me for 25 years. That plane was $60 of pain. . .and a tremendous learning experience.
    From then forward, I buy from the used market. I look for a plane with a well worn blade . . . indicating it is a good one – because the prior owner liked it and used it a lot. I have also bought Lie Nielsen and Veritas planes finding them exceptionally well turned and ready to go from a fettled perspective, although I still honed the blade before putting them to work.
    So to your point, yes I agree the used market planes are the way to go and blade sharpness is not important, however quality matters.

    1. Well, whereas it saddens me that your one bad experience can discolour the whole for those who could never afford a premium plane they really don’t need in the first place and people might be left with the overall impression that your experience will be the same for them. I doubt that that will happen as much as I doubt that I have restored less than 200 Stanley #4 planes over the years (and all the other sizes they made too) and then Record versions as well, for myself and for others and then for the schools and classes I have used them in. These restorations did include brand new versions too. I have yet to have one that took more than an hour to restore to working condition and in the majority of cases more likely half an hour. The cap irons (erroneously called a chip breaker the term of which belongs to a planing machine) have always been fit for purpose and the cutting irons have never been of soft metal, so to anyone reading your comment, I can assure them that they are unlikely to come across any plane as low-grade as this if buying on eBay or another secondhand stream. I am afraid that US Stanleys did go down the tubes a long time before their English counterparts and, of course, new Stanleys made in recent decades failed to live up to the earlier pre-1970s versions. Whether the ones sold in the US were made in the UK at that time were offered as a lower grade output I don’t know but I do know that the US and other western countries drive down the buying price and manufacturers are told to produce with particular price limit or they will not buy. The end result in these tactics is that we must face the reality of quality decline.

  21. I started working with hand tools about two years ago. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting pre WW2 Stanley planes and working them into shape. I found some pretty good deals because I was willing to make knobs and totes for them. I was able to because of your videos. I know I don’t need premium back saws but I really love the look of them. Given their cost, I believe I’ll give making one a shot. I sourced a piece of brass and some 1095 sheet steel. With patience I’ll find the perfect piece of wood for the handle. You’ve inspired me to make furniture and tools that I couldn’t otherwise afford. In more ways than one I’m a richer man for it. Thank you so much Mr. Sellers for sharing your expertise.

  22. Since I started hand tool woodworking my wife has noticed a marked increase in the sharpness of our kitchen knives.

    I am on a bathroom vanity build using Padauk. I had been having a little trouble with tearout and, as it happens, I have a spare Taylor no. 5 that I acquired via a story too long to hold anyone’s interest, but it’s been in the box in my shop for months and I decided to see if I could make it cut without tearout because I didn’t want to muck about with my no. 7…it’s really nicely set up. Took me about fifteen minutes but I got the throat closed up nice and tight and then I put a razor-sharp edge on the iron. I just received a 6000 grit stone because, while I’ve always been satisfied with the 1500 grit I use, I wanted to just see how much sharper I could get an edge tool. Turns out it does make a difference. After polishing the edge with the 6k grit, I buffed it with compound to refine it further. To make a long story interminable, the tearout disappeared in two passes. Whatever else I do to screw up this bathroom vanity, the legs will be as slick as snot on a doorknob. And man, Padauk is gorgeous, isn’t it? This is the first time I’ve worked with it and I am infatuated. That color is stunning. I want to take shavings and use them for Christmas ribbon. If I have any left over, I may just do that to decorate the house this December.

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