Thursday, June 6, 2013

Once Again......Did I Mention that I Like Olive Wood?

When I returned from the HandWorks Event I had a couple of days of paper work to take care. Mostly stuff I put off while finishing up the last few planes I needed to ship out to Iowa. That was okay because frankly I was pretty physically exhausted and need some downtime to re-charge.

When I returned to the shop I was reminded that I had an 812-50S plane very nearly complete sans wooden bits. This plane was for my good friend Steve Walls and I had tried my best to complete this plane so as to have it displayed at HandWorks but it was just not to be. Time ran out.

Sometimes haste makes waste and the piece of wood that was to go into this plane was not one you would want to be rushed in working. Quite a while back on a visit to my shop Steve had noticed this piece of Olive and inquired as to whether it was available for a plane of his choosing. I told him it certainly was but that it would be a while before it was dry enough to use, to which he replied, "I can wait".

The wait is over. I had anticipated the day I would turn this piece into plane parts because I knew if it survived the drying process it would be special. All looked good until I roughed out the rear profile of the tote. An internal stress check was revealed right above the curve leading into the neck area of the tote. To say I was disappointed would have been an understatement.

Misery loves company so I immediately called Steve to tell him the bad news. As I was talking to Steve it occurred to me that maybe I was throwing in the towel on this piece a bit too quickly so I decided the piece was special enough to invest a bit more time just to see how it would turn out. I'm glad I persevered. I set about forming a plan for repairing the defect in a way that would look natural with the rest of the piece. This piece has many dark contrasting streaks so I went with a dark repair that I hoped would blend. Sometimes faith and perseverance pay off.

When Steve and our mutual friend Charlie Levan make the trip to my shop to pick up a just completed plane for one of them it has become a tradition that I always make an apple pie which we mostly consume after lunch.

There will be apple pie at my house tomorrow and I'm looking forward to the pie and the company.

Oh, did I mention that I really, really like Olive Wood? Yep, I thought so. I like pie too.



  1. Ron,
    Outstanding plane!!! Yes, that olive wood is amazing. Is it easy to work? And do you have any more?

    Thanks for the pics.


  2. Michael Olive wood is great to work. It's not always the easiest wood to plane but it turns wonderfully and it finishes great. It will clog abrasives but the natural oil in this material enables it to take a fine polish.

    It's a pleasant wood to work because it smells great. I have accumulated quite a bit of olive but pieces with marbling and spider webbing are rare.


  3. Ron

    I am so glad that you persevered on the tote of this plane. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve at Handworks. He seemed like a great guy. He spent quite a few minutes telling me how his plane was being made with a special piece of Olive. He was extremely excited. Well I can see why. While all your planes are fantastic, I believe that this is one of the most exceptional pieces of wood I have seen on one of your planes. Congrats to both of you. Except now I need to make a trip down for the pie.