Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Willie Davis Plane

Every once in a while you get a request to make something out of the ordinary. I have resisted the idea of making one of a kind planes because if a plane is worth making once it's worth making more than once. Besides there are many different combinations of metals and elements to explore and even though a plane may be the same model as another, with the differences in wood and other details all these tools really are one of a kind.

I like to refer to planes with special features as a Special Edition version of that model plane and that brings us to the Special Edition "Willie Davis" Winter Smoother.

This plane has several features not present on the standard version of this plane. For starters, the sole and bedding plate is made from 440C stainless steel. Secondly this plane features a new style lever cap screw not used on any Brese Plane to date. The most important visual change is the brass sides used on this plane and the Italian Olive wood tote and knob. The Italian wood has a unique look that is just a bit different than the African variety, but I like Olive Wood no matter it's origin.

The brass is treated a bit differently in that it's been oiled and the finish cured in my wood drying kiln. The surface is finished with Scotch Brite to a satin sheen and the oil gives it a deeper gold color. I think it looks pleasing and it's also pleasing to the touch and resist finger prints as well.

In case you're wondering, "Willie Davis" is not a famous blues musician. He's a friend and customer that happens to be a woodworker. It makes for such a catchy name I just couldn't resist using it as the name for this version of this plane.

Now, what's your name or nickname? (grin)


Monday, June 16, 2014

Olive Winter Smoother

The first of the Olive Wood Winter Smoothers is complete and on the way to it's new home. I looked forward to the completion of this tool with great anticipation. I was anxious to see how all the elements would play visually with the Olive wood.

Personally I was not disappointed, in fact I was delighted. My only disappointment was having to pack and ship this tool shortly after I had completed the final tuning and created the first shavings with this plane. Of course one of my motivations is to get these tools into the hand of the customers so there is a certain satisfaction in that as well.

Even though I offer a patina'd and oiled finish on the brass parts of my planes, I find the satin, oiled finish plays well with the lighter colored woods. The oil I apply to the brass parts gives it a deeper look than just the brass being left bright. Curing that oil in my wood kiln overnight gives the brass enough protection to resist finger printing.

This plane had no issues with this knarly piece of curly cherry. The edge I was planning was the quarter sawn edge with the curl face coming thru this edge. This kind of piece is usually a planing nightmare. Rock solid bedding, a rigid plane body,  .004 mouth aperture and an extremely sharp iron solves problems with a piece like this. Add in very nice ergonomics and the result is very pleasurable planing.


Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes (Jim Carrey)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Some Days it's Wood Fun-ning Instead of Wood-Working

Just before the Handworks events in 2013 I had the pleasure of working a piece of Olive wood for the tote and knob for one of my Winter Smoothers. I thought I would probably never get the chance to work a piece of Olive that was that amazing again.

I would be wrong. Mother nature always seems to deliver and she never ceases to amaze me.

I am often asked if I tire of making the same plane multiple times. The answer is "No". One piece of 0-1 tool steel looks pretty much like any other piece of 0-1 tool steel and the same goes for brass and bronze. However combining different metals with different woods and considering I get the opportunity to work some of the most beautiful woods that exist in this world, heck this stuff is so interesting I can hardly sleep at night!

Somedays it's working just like any other job but on days when you get to work pieces of wood like the ones pictures above....heck, it's more like wood fun-ning!

Excuse me, I think I hear some Ziricote calling me. (grin)