Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Bench planes work best as a team - using a smoother to do all your planing work is not the most efficient way to work. A Jack plane will bring a rough board quickly into a workable state, ready to be made "tried and true" with a Try plane. The Try plane (or Jointer) has the longest sole of all bech planes and excels at making surfaces and edges flat and straight. The longer the sole, the truer it will plane. Even if you use machines to prepare your timber you will be surprised just how far from true those boards can be - a quick swipe with a Try plane will reveal the truth!
We had a quite a few long planes leaving the workshop over the last few months, some 30 inches long. That's longer than a #8! We are also able to customise planes to your intended purpose, so high/low pitch angles, different blade widths, timber choices and even 18 Century features like offset totes are available - you have only to ask.
Back to the bench....
Sunday, May 08, 2011
When it comes to working timber with difficult grain (and it's always the pretty timbers that are the hardest to work!) a sharp iron and a tight mouth sometimes isn't enough. And that's when a high angle plane makes all the difference. My "Coffin Smoother" plane is bedded at 55 degrees - this is a great angle for a smoother as it has a positive effect on tear-out but is still pretty easy to push. But the toughest timbers sometimes need more and 60 degrees is what you need.
A customer asked for a pair of planes with 60 degree beds, a smoother and a Try plane. The smoother (above) is made from English Box, a very slow growing and dense timber. Box was used for the finest grade planes and tools in days past and I was pleased to be able to make this plane from this wonderful timber.
The second plane is an 18 inch Try plane in Goncalo Alves and this is an excellent tool to compliment the Smoother. The longer sole allows you to easily flatten boards, and, as the plane has the high angle bed, tear-out is not an issue.