The last post on this blog was about a workbench build I was about to commence. However Summer got in the way and the more I thought about it the less I wanted to start a major project during the hottest part of the year so I apologize for no updates regarding the bench. That is still to come when the weather is more conducive to hefting large bench members of maple.
Julie and I just returned from a 17 day stint in Brooklyn, NY where we supervised and assisted with the daily activities of our six and two year old grand boys while their parents traipsed over Italy, France and England. We were reminded why young adults have children. Kids that age have an abundance of energy.........we do not. All is well and we are back home. If you are one of our acquaintances in the Brooklyn area we apologize for not taking the time to visit during our stay. Frankly, we had our hands full and did well to cover the ground needed to make sure the boys got to all of their summer activities, not to mention the fact that we logged a lot of playground hours during our stay.
As summer draws to a close I am now turning my attention back to shop related work. I was distracted during these past warmer months by the myriad of projects that needed tending to in the yard. We have close to 3 acres and as great as that sounds it also has it downside. Upkeep on that much property can be a physical and financial burden at times. We've recently had 9 trees removed due to Beetle and lightning damage. Some of these trees were precariously placed and removal even by an expert was tedious at times, therefore this was a pricey endeavor.
I have been making some planes over the summer and at times I have taken the time to pursue some very different ideas. The Macassar Jack/Panel plane pictured below is one of those tangents I found myself on during the late spring-early summer time.
The multifaceted wedge makes for an interesting look and provides easier access for striking.
The brass wear shown below provides some wear resistance to an otherwise vulnerable part of the mouth
The brass strike button is actually mostly decorative. I found that I could reduce the depth of cut easily by tapping the top of the wedge.
This plane works quite well. In fact it exceeded my expectations in performance. My experience with wooden bodied planes during my furniture making career was that they were great on easy to plane materials, but when I needed to plane demanding hardwoods the lack of mass made them inadequate for that task and forced the user to work quite hard to keep them engaged in the cut. The mass afforded this plane by the Macassar Ebony body makes surfacing hardwoods quite an enjoyable task.
Another recently completed plane was the 650-55 "J" plane with Gabon Ebony infill. I've not made an infill for a while with most of my order list being populated by the Brute shooting plane, the Winter Smoother and Winter Panel planes.
This little plane is a challenging build when you consider that the brass plane sides and the infill have to come together perfectly tangent to one another in four places around the opening in the plane. Two of those points are where a curve meets a straight line on the infill. Of course it's a fun challenge and one I've accomplished many times. The serial number on this plane was number 36.
Lately I've also been working on a new product offering which seems strange given that I am not taking new orders for planes. The reason is, the new offering will not be a plane. In fact it will not be a tool at all.
Stay tuned. If we get a change in the weather I might actually make some progress on the bench build.
To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.