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Planes...

Hand Planes to be more precise...

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Mike Riley02/05/2008 00:07:00
337 forum posts
5 photos
5 articles
Don't need a number 7? Bah every boy needs a number 7! Cheers Mike
Paul Sellers02/05/2008 04:51:00
8 forum posts

Hi again,

There are dozens of variables in long planes like the #7. They do of course flex under pressure, no matter the maker. They have enough memory to spring back to their former condition, flat or straight. That said, your personal plane becomes intuitive. As a boy in the fifties and sixties, the men I worked under had planes that were not flat and ever one of them was different. I seem to recall that they could each make their personal planes plane true and yet could not plane straight with each others. It's that intuition that only comes through the using of your own plane. I don't always understand it, but it's there. I guess some things are beyond reason. I've used my planes every day of almost forty four years now. Stanleys, Records, Marples and their more modern counterparts, Lie Nielsen, Veritas and of course Clifton. The difference may be the difference between a Ford and a Rolls Royce but I still turn to my favorite first. I am indeed thankful that these latter plane makers have taken the effort to up the standards for our benefit. Some say that they are pricey, but I remember buying my first Stanley #4 and it cost me a weeks wages, which as an apprentice wasn't much I know. Not many people are spending a weeks wage to buy there plane today. I think they are all good vale for money.

Regards,

Paul Sellers 

Doug02/05/2008 06:19:00
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3415 forum posts
35 photos

Mike could it be you don`t own a plane?

Just a guess.

Baz.

Mike Garnham02/05/2008 08:32:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos

Well, the reason I say nothing about planes is that I own only two, and these are they:

/sites/5/images/member_albums/6440/One-handed_plane_2.jpg


/sites/5/images/member_albums/6440/One-handed_plane_1.jpg


/sites/5/images/member_albums/6440/Big_Plane_2.jpg


/sites/5/images/member_albums/6440/Big_Plane_1.jpg

So, as you can see, possibly the worst two planes in the country!

The little one, (a Stanley no. 220, for those interested!), I acquired second hand from a garage clearance, and has obviously been smashed in the past. It has been brazed back together, and adjustment is achieved only by tapping it gently with a hammer.

I have no idea at all what the big one is, nor can I remember where I got it. It is about 9.5" x 2.5". The handle is broken, as you can see. (Incidentally, the fact that this broken handle still works perfectly well is a great example of the principle of "post-tensioning", and amuses me enough to stop me replacing the broken part).

I had never heard of "fettling" until I joined this forum a couple of months ago......and I haven't even contemplated attempting it on these two.

The point is, these two embarrasments work absolutely perfectly!


Mike Garnham02/05/2008 08:34:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos

........(cont.)

I am just completely bemused by all the intricacies discussed by plane experts. Mike Riley and Andy King would probably die rather than use my planes! I am in absolute awe of their expertise in this and other fields, but with planing, I just don't "get it". These two tools do exactly what I want them to do. As long as you keep them sharp, which I do, they work really well.

This isn't because I do everything with a belt sander! I do lots of planing. But the combination of planer/ thicknesser, belt sander, and lately, scraper has meant that straightening up the edge of boards is the most common job for the big plane (see, I don't even know the proper terms for these tools!) and chamfering is the most common job for the one-hander. But they do lots of other work too.

I used the big one the other day to plane across the grain on the arms of the two oak settles I am making (see my gallery) after they had been cut out on the bandsaw. It evened the blanks out quickly and efficiently, and caused only the merest hint of break-out on the rear edge, which was of no consequence.

Think of it this way: the old expression "a bad workman blames his tools" can also work in reverse. I am actually a good workman, and that is despite, and not because of, my tools! A bad workman doesn't become good just because he has the best tools, any more than a good workman becomes bad because his tools aren't the best in the world. The biggest handicap my planes present to me is that they make me take a lot more care over my planing. 

As I read in a thread sometime back, generations of fantastic craftsmen have made wonderful furniture for centuries with planes that were probably no better than mine. I bet they never thought there was anything wrong with their planes. If it didn't work properly, they sharpened and adjusted. Exactly what I do.

This is about a lot more than planes: this is philosophy. "Zen and the Art of Planing".

I am quite happy to own the worst two planes on the forum!

Mike

(PS I've never been told before that my reponse was too long!.......Thus this message being spread over 2)  

derek willis02/05/2008 08:50:00
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2314 forum posts
1 articles

Mike,

We've even got Good Wood magazine involved now, just got the mag, and they talk about me starting this stir up and them Mathew taking it up for the more delectable tools that I won't mention, I am with you as you know about these things, why should I change what has been good for me for more than fifty years. 

Derek. 

Mike Riley02/05/2008 09:25:00
337 forum posts
5 photos
5 articles
MIke Much truth spoken, though I would question my being called an expert - that doesn't ring true, flattering though. Zen and the Art of Planing encapsulates it all quit nicely I think, as you say the tools themselves are kind of irrelevant. As I've said many times in centuries past people were working with their fingrnails. Today if one is going down the hand tool root for whatever reason one has a choice as to which point on the scale one wishes to buy in and we are fortunate to have some choice in the matter. The point is that, particularly where hand work is concerned, what works for one is exactly that - what works. Your little plane may be ugly but slap a sharp iron in it and it serves your purpose, In actual fact it looks in about the same state as my block plane which is next to unusable in my eyes because of the ridiculous camber the previous owner has put on the iron which I haven't got rid off yet but thats a different story. For someone who does all their stock prep by hand (like me) then it is worth paying a little more attention to the state of the tools purely because it makes the work easier. Cheers (the other ) Mike
Mike Garnham02/05/2008 09:40:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos

Thanks Mike......a  considered response.

I would just add that I have only had a planer/thicknesser for a year or two, and that prior to that I did all my stock preparation using the big plane (someone tell me what it is really called, please!). Goodness knows how many cubic metres of shavings it has created over the years!

Mike 

Mike Riley02/05/2008 09:59:00
337 forum posts
5 photos
5 articles
The big plane in your picture looks like a no 4 or 4 1/2 if you did all your stock prep with that size I take my hat off to you seriously but at the same time I suspect you were expending a lot of unnecessary effort that might have been avoided with the addition perhaps one one more bigger plane - a number 7. There's something about a number 7 I swear the wood flattens itself out of fear when I start waving mine around. Cheers Mike
derek willis02/05/2008 10:11:00
avatar
2314 forum posts
1 articles

Mike,

Probably called a jointer.

Derek. 

Mike Garnham02/05/2008 10:59:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos

My dad died a couple of years ago, and I know his estate in Australia is about to be shared out........including a shed full of hand-tools.  I remember from childhood that he had a series of planes of different sizes, as well as some wooden planes. My brothers have no interest in this stuff, so it will eventually head my way. I happen to know that he has a cracking set of old spokeshaves and drawknives (if the termites haven't eaten them!).

Who knows, there may even be a number 7 amongst that lot! It could revolutionise my workshop.......

By the way Mike, surely you didn't really call my little plane "ugly"? I think of it more as "injured" .....

Mike Riley02/05/2008 11:07:00
337 forum posts
5 photos
5 articles
But injured suggests impairment which your plane is not while ugliness is purely in the eye of the beholder ...
derek willis02/05/2008 11:19:00
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2314 forum posts
1 articles

What a load of old bulls---t

derek. 

Mike Garnham02/05/2008 12:37:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos

Derek,

I'm not  really sure what you consider to be bullshit......

I have put an alternative viewpoint about planes forward, one that I think can be applied to many other tools as well. Mike Riley, a great advocate for hand-tools and regular writer on the subject,  has commented sensibly and added a little more to my knowledge. I think this has been an interesting little exchange, finished with a quip, an aside. If it was those last little humourous comments you objected to.....well, it would be a dull old world without the odd bit of humour.

Incidentally, and changing subjects completely, thank you for the "Woodfit" suggestion. They had exactly the handles I was looking for, so I should, at last, get my settle/telephone table finished this weekend.

Mike 

Mike Riley02/05/2008 12:50:00
337 forum posts
5 photos
5 articles
Thank you Mike I was rather at a loss for words myself unsure as I remain as to Derek's meaning. Cheers Mike

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