"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov

Ya ever seen my house?

Ya ever seen my house?
Neither have I Ted! You douchebag.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

De Planes, de planes...


Been thinking... Actually, I started wondering why the bevel on the M1910 Bolo was only on one side and - why, specifically, on the right side?
You wonder why I have no friends...
Harking back to my wood-worker origins (I spent over twenty years banging my head against the solid rock of "Making a Living From Woodworking" before I found knives - where I can starve in comparative comfort) I realized that the bevel is where it is for the same reason as the bevel on a side-hatchet(AKA hewing hatchet).
Not going to go into lots of detail here.
It makes it better for chopping.
Anyway, it got me thinking about all the other wood tools that have the bevel on only one side.
Ultimately, it lead me to a blog called Toolmonger.
The specific thing that caught my attention wasn't plane related.
It was a trio of tack hammers. Very nice tack hammers. If you clicked on the link above you could have seen them in all of their A2, hardened A2 or brass glory.
They're the pattern that Noah used to nail his door-casing on the ark.
The Warrington pattern. I've got one, the head anyway, made by Marples.
The handle from mine was lost in the Great January Workbench Fire of which I shall never speak again.
But, what with the head being the only bit of my hammer remaining, I'm in a bit of a unique position to cash in before I go to mounting another stick onto it.
If it's brass you want, I'm your guy.
I'll cast my head (my hammer head) in brass for a fraction of what Lie-Nielson wants for theirs.
I'm not actually wanting any takers, but I think my point is clear: $85 fucking dollars for a tack hammer?
Are they mental?
Okay, the fat's in the fire. Lie-Nielson is the purveyor of these fine tools, any of which will make short work of any tack-hammering tasks that are likely to come your way - very similarly to the way a $5.95 Woolworth's hammer would. They're tacks, not railroad spikes.
Right this second though, my thing is their planes.
Their planes kick ass. I've never held one in my hands but I'm sure that they're all they're cracked up to be. They're based on tried and true, Stanley patterns and they are the absolute tits.
Just for too much money.
Check out a link.
Top photo, my old friend and co-worker, G. E. Reeve - so named because that's where its first owner, Mr. Reeve, stamped his name - right on the corner so the casting wouldn't crack.
This was a pricey item back when G. E. bought it, around $50 to $60 in today's money.
It's, I believe, a series 8 and was manufactured between 1895 and 1905.
I bought it at the flea market about fifteen years ago for $18.
It had a "Sweetheart iron" in it. There's nothing special about that other than that it's simply a trademark that dates to the merger of the Stanley Rule and Level Co. and The Stanley Works.
It dates the iron to the mid '20's so, my thinking is that Mr. Reeve wore the first iron out over 20 to 30 years and purchased a new one just before retiring.
What a nice story - if true.
It's probably a nice story anyway.
G. E. is a Bailey #4.
The plane linked to is L-N's version in bronze and with the over-rated bedrock frog system.
The modern, Stanley Company's sorry offering of the same runs a bit cheaper, but is almost certainly a piece of crap.
They really don't make them like they used to - unless they're a boutique item.
Alas, I've wandered afield. I came to show off "my stock".

Next photo: This is my "finishing jack" plane. I took a base casting for a Bailey #5 (circa 1870's) and cobbled together a Brit style infill plane. An infill plane is what Karl Holtey reproduces.
If you pursue that a bit you can see that his prices are astronomical as well but, the European tool ethic is different than ours.
Still, this kid, needing a plane and having five grand would be far more likely to have a plane and $4900 left over.
Anyway, my fake Norris panel plane does a nice job. The iron's bedded at 50 degrees so it can handle gnarly stuff. It's nice and heavy - just a little fiddly to adjust but I've got time.

Photo above: my designated jack plane, a Stanley #27 made in 1906 (Why am I obsessed with dating my planes? Well... no one else will go out with me).
It was another flea market purchase. I love these old wood/hybrid planes.
Back when I was carpentering for a living, this was my job-site plane because it's so light-weight.
Alas, up next, three planes I hardly ever use.
The first is an old, wood-bodied, fore plane that I bought just for the iron.
I built (poorly) a scrub plane around the iron but then later put the original unit back together.
As is often the case, the rear tote was broken beyond repair so I just cut off that bit of the body, making it a razee style, whatever that is, and then mounted my madrone, firewood grip.
Next up: This is the plane that got me started on knives (long story - another time).
I built this dogwood panel-raiser in... looks like 2002, and it's raised exactly one panel since then. That lucky piece of scrap is now a nailing block holding the plumbing together in our kitchen island.
I just don't do the cabinet thing anymore. Not enough space for one thing.

On the subject of the above plane: It was started (partially) because I had available a 2, 1/4" Stanley iron.
It came from the plane below. I inherited this Bailey #5 1/2 and used a Woodcraft gift certificate to trick it out with a Hock, A2-Cryo iron (it was a while ago. I was more of a steel geek then).
I still never use it for one reason.
It's heavy as hell, 6, 3/4# vs 4# for the slim and trim #27 above (figures taken from Patrick's Blood and Gore where smart folks go to learn about Stanley planes).

Because of this... curse of being scrawny and "slender" - and just an all-around pansy, I'm selling this big lad, hoping that some husky fella has been yearning for just such a thing, having flung innumerable, lesser jack-planes through the wall in utter frustration - all due to an simple lack of mass (Wow! A Henry James sentence).
She's a series 15 dating from 1933 to 1940.
Tomorrow, (I'm lazy and tired) I'll post a more thorough, tool-geek description re such arcana as the Jappaning the state of the sole etc.
It's virtually new. The dings you see in the tote are the only evidence this thing didn't leave New Britian a month ago.

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