Friday, November 21, 2014

T-Shirts are Back

The Brese Plane "Just a Plane T-Shirt" is once again available. At one point we had discontinued offering the shirts even though we were still shipping them to customers that ordered planes and sometimes including them with planes as they were shipped.

We have restocked them in the Old Gold color and decided to offer them once again. These are heavy weight t-shirts of very nice quality.

Available on this blog page, see buy buttons below, and on the Brese Plane Web site Apparel page.

 1 ea. for $18.95 shipping included in the conus or anywhere a flat rate USPS package goes

Qty 1 Select Size Below

2 ea. for $34.95 shipping included in the conus or anywhere a flat rate USPS package goes

Qty 2 Select Size Below


"Don't let schooling interfere with your education", Mark Twain

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sometime Opportunity Knocks at Exactly the Wrong Time, Part 2

In an earlier blog post I featured the acquisition of a 1966 Powermatic 90 lathe that seem to make itself available at a time when the last thing I needed to do was stop to purchase a major piece of machinery. However It was apparent that I would be needing to upgrade my capability in a turning machine and sometimes you have to react when the right machine presents itself whether it's a convenient time or not.

The picture below shows the lathe as I received it. Not bad really but missing a few key components. It had received a paint job sometime in it's life in a high school shop and it was obvious that it was done by a student who was assigned the job for disciplinary reasons.

Don Gieger of Geiger solutions knows a lot of people in the turning community and he was kind enough to make a few phone calls in an attempt to locate a PM 90 tailstock for my lathe. He was successful and not only did he find one, it was for sale and it was in Atlanta less than 2 hours drive from me. That was the good news. The bad news is I paid more for the tailstock than I did the entire machine and it was a rusty nugget that needed a complete restoration including straightening the scroll screw.

The problem with having a fairly small work facility is there is no room for extra machines to await attention. When I bring something of this size into the shop I have to make time to do what needs to be done to make it serviceable so that I don't have to navigate around it for a month. Fortunately I sold my old lathe the next day.

I turned the knobs I would need for the planes I had in process at that time and then broke down the machine to do the functional part of the restoration. New headstock bearings, new 3 phase motor driven by VFD,  and new drive pulleys and belts. Yes my New/Old lathe would have digital variable speed in lieu of a Reeves drive.

While everything was apart for the functional repairs it made sense to go ahead with the cosmetic part of the restoration. No need to have to take it back apart again for painting.

Even though the paint it had received at the hands of the student was certainly not the neatest paint job I've seen it did however adhere very well so I just sanded the old paint, applied primer and 2 coats of the final color which is Rustoleum Sage Green.

I replaced all the assembly hardware. I purchased button socket head screws in a black oxide finish. I then polished the heads of the screws and applied gun bluing twice polishing them with steel wool between applications. Then I polished them on my buffer until I had something that looked like black chrome.  I acquired red fiber washers to accent the black.

I have the drive set up for a speed range that suits most of the work I turn on a regular basis. If I decide to branch into turning larger diameter items I may have to add a lower speed range option.

I found the outboard hand wheel on the auction site. Those do come available periodically. The PM 90 tail stocks not so much. Finally all the pieces of the puzzle were back together.

Even though this machine came along at exactly the wrong time and imposed on my shop schedule more than I wished I'm quite please with the end results of this restoration. Its ready to use and it resides in a permanent place in the shop. My shop has regained it's organization and I'm once again able to concentrate on plane making.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Lately at Brese Plane

I've not posted any new info on this blog in a while. I apologize for that but really it just means I've been quite busy.

As always work on planes is a constant and ongoing endeavor and the most recent plane completed is a custom version of the Winter Panel Plane.

The customer requested this plane with a plane body made from 440C stainless steel.

The brass bits of this plane were polished to a satin finish and then oiled and cured in my drying kiln. It makes the brass much less of a maintenance issue.

The wooden bits are Desert Iron wood. This is certainly a challenging wood to work. Besides the odd smell it requires much more diligence. It seems every process with this material takes 3 times longer as compared with other dense hardwoods.

There is nothing that looks quite like Desert Iron Wood. As I have often said, the results are worth the effort.


The quotable quote this week is from my 7 year old Granddarling even though she may have picked up this saying from her mother.

"You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit",     Katherine Mason

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Studley Exhibit at Handworks 2015, Not Sold least not yet

Issues with the web page for buying tickets for the Studley display at Handworks 2015 has led some to believe that the event was sold out the first day. Not so.

Follow the link below to Don William's blog for an explanation:


We learn from history that we do not learn from history.
   ~ George Wilhelm Hegel

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sometimes Opportunity Knocks at Exactly the Wrong Time

During the period of time when I made furniture on a full time basis I was not much of an enthusiast about turning. Basically I did what turning I had to do and I wasn't very accomplished so you could say that I had the ability to worry things into the shape that I wanted because I certainly could not say that I was very accomplished at these task.

Because I wasn't that interested in turning I didn't invest much in turning equipment or tools. I was working on a Grizzly 14 x 40 lathe that wasn't a bad machine but most seasoned turners would have laughed at the prospect of that being a proper lathe. I had mounted this lathe to a large cabinet made from plywood and also made a bed extension in order to increase it's between center capacity. Other than that it was what it was. The truth of the matter is that I did a lot of good work on that lathe. It now belongs to someone else and I'm sure it will serve them well also.

Fast forward several years and I find myself having designed a line of planes that require a custom front knob. Obviously I have to turn them. After a certain amount of time turning knobs I became a more proficient turner. That spurred an interest in turning other objects and so I set about making Shaker style stools for my grandchildren and other assorted items.

A couple of months ago my friend Charlie Levan took delivery of a Robust American Beauty lathe. I showed up one fine day along with several others to help put that machine into his shop. It then occurred to me that there were much better machines available for turning and if the opportunity arose I should probably consider the acquisition of a better lathe.

Of all the older machines I saw that were available the Powermatic 90 lathe appealed to me most and among the knowledgable people on the OWWM forum this lathe seems to have a formidable reputation as a fine machine. The other fact is there were many of these lathes in school shops because they were built like tanks and the kids couldn't hurt them.

As I began my informal search it seemed that most of the lathes in good condition were at least a 2 or 3 day drive from my location. I figured I didn't have one the day before so it wasn't a big deal if I didn't find one in short order and I really didn't want to drive for 2 days to see a lathe and then decided I did not want it.

As luck would have it a machine came up in an auction from the Dekalb County school system in Atlanta. An equipment dealer in Stone Mountain Ga. had purchased this and many other machines. This machine was only an hour and a half driving time from me, however it wasn't running and it did not have a tailstock.

Fortunately there is a lot of information about this machine online and I started researching this machine thoroughly. I had a pretty good idea what was wrong with this machine before I actually went to see it in person. I also knew that as long as the spindle was in good shape I could always convert this machine with new drive components driven by a 3 phase motor controlled by a variable frequency drive.

If course there was always a possibility that I could have been paying a premium price for a large bit of scrap metal and of course this opportunity came up at the worst possible time given my schedule for producing planes at the time. I finally decided it would only take half of a day to have a look and transport this machine home. As you can see in the above pictures of the lathe in my truck, that's exactly what happen. The dealer sweetened the deal considerably given that the machine was not running and because there were a few missing parts. I was now the new owner of a machine made in 1966 and the cost of this machine at that time was about the same as an automobile. Try wrapping your head around that one. A lathe and a 1966 Mustang having a similar price tag.

The lathe sat covered in the back of my truck for 2 days before I finally was able to get it up on casters and rolled into the shop. Once in the shop I had to return my focus to plane making for several days in order to keep my commitments to my customers.

The next weekend I spent a Saturday morning trouble shooting the lathe. It was actually simpler than I thought. The inline switch was faulty and as soon as I bypassed that switch and put the speed control lever in the correct position the lathe started right up.

The lathe needed a few more tweaks to get it ready for use and I spent some spare time over the last couple of weeks getting those completed. I made a on/off switch enclosure with a magnetic base so it can attached to the late virtually anywhere there is ferrous metal, I installed a new belt and put the lathe on a mobile base. The base has a capacity of 600 lbs. I'm obviously very close to the limit on the base because I have to use a block and a pry bar to get it up on the wheels to make it mobile and I also have to let it down using the same block and pry bar lest it come down with a bang.

Turning on a lathe of this quality is a real pleasure and I'm now glad I took the time to seize the day on this tool, and luckily it looks as if I have found a tailstock.


The secret to getting ahead is getting started, Mark Twain

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Disbanding the Dovetail Saw Collection

I enjoyed putting together a collection of dovetail saws by nearly all of the contemporary saw makers over the last years. It was my way of doing business with people that operate very similarly to myself and it was also a way of investing in the hand tool community.

It was also a lot of fun for me and many others to be able to pull out all those saws and compare them side by side. I think a lot of my friends made decisions about which saw they might purchase after having the opportunity to go thru my collection and try each saw.

Lately I've started feeling a bit guilty about these wonderful tools not fulfilling their destiny and being used so I decided to liberate these tools into hands that will actually use them for cutting dovetails and building hand wrought furnishings.

The Wenzloff Harvery Peace saw was the first to go. I posted this for sale on The Woodnet "Swap and Sell" forum and it sold in a matter of minutes. This morning I've posted three more saws and the Medallion Toolworks saw (pictured below) also sold within minutes of posting.

The Gramercy Saw has a great looking etch on the plate and this saw was purchased completed from Tool For Woodworking. It was not a saw made from one of their kits.

 The Lie-Nielsen saw was one of the only saws that I did not purchase directly from the source. I actually got this from Bob Zajicek at Czeck Edge Hand Tools.

All of these saws have experienced very limited use which is why I stated that I was "liberating" them from my tool chest. They deserve to be used.

Once these are sold I have one more to list. Of the saws I've decided to sell I've saved one of the best for last. No it's not the Eccentric Toolworks saw from Andrew Lunn. Sorry.(grin)

FYI. All 3 saws are sold.


"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards." 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

and the Floor is Gray

I mentioned in my last post that I intended to paint my shop floor a light gray color. The floor is now gray.

We have red clay soil where I live and frankly the white floor looked pretty terrible. On Friday afternoon I looked around and estimated it would take me about 45 minutes to move everything out of the way and clean the floor in preparation of painting. Having tool chest on wheels greatly facilitated the process, even though it actually took an hour and a half, however before I quit for the day I had the edges cut in and one coat of paint on the floor.

Friday night the monsoon set in. It had not rained here in quite some time so I wasn't complaining about the rain, however it did put adding a second coat of paint in question. I decided to cut in the edges and see if that would dry. I was running the air conditioner to help dry out the air. Given the amount of rain that was falling outside I didn't know if this would make a difference. When finished with the second cut in I was off to the store for another gallon of paint. When I returned the cut in areas had indeed dried so I commenced to rolling on a second coat of paint.

I was able to let the floor dry all Saturday evening and most of the day on Sunday. The rain persisted thru the weekend and has continued off and on this week. Once again I'm not complaining about the rain, we need it and the paint has dried just fine.

One thing I noticed on Monday while returning tool chest and other assorted items to their proper location. The hard plastic wheels on the tool chest casters did not mark the floor. The softer rubber casters on the dollies I used for the items that did not have wheels did leave some black marks on the floor especially at the points where we made turns to arrive at the unloading position.

My shop is beginning to look like a proper place of work and I have to say that I'm enjoying the new environment immensely. Now it's time to use this space for it's intended purpose. Creating tools and works of wood.


The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.

Abraham Lincoln