Shaving and Racing

Sometimes things move along much faster than you expected. Today in the shop I took care of what has been one of the most intimidating things I have had to do. Along with many other hand tools, I inherited 2 planes from my wife's grandfather when he passed. a #5 jack plane and a #4 smoother. The Jack plane is a Stanly / Bailey plane, very nice, but it has never worked for me. Early on I did not have the know how, and later on I was just a little scared to take the thing apart and get it to work. That little self doubt voice that rings loudest in the back of your head was holding me down. I have read everything I can find about hand planes, "The Handplane Book" by Garret Hack is on top of that list, also many articles written in woodworking magazines, most by Christopher Shwarz.

Usually I can figure something out by reading about it. I do it all the time, but hand planes still were kind of a mystery. the #5 never worked, the #4 worked intermittently, depending on the grain of the wood, time of day, weather in Lima, and migratory patterns of monarch butterflies. What it took was to get over myself and pull these guys apart, now I get it, pulling them apart told me all the rest I needed to put the pieces in place and tell me how to use them. Kind of funny really.

I thought these guys would need some serious work to get the running. Pulled the all the way apart, cleaned out all the gathered crap in the nooks and crannies. (including old spider egg bundles, one in each plane tucked between the blade and the frog) scrubbed the rust off things, oiled all the screws and adjusters, and flattened and sharpened the blades. Ta Da!!! It's amazing how well they work. I figured out how to dial in the thickness of shavings and got things set just right and it took a whole lot less work than I imagined.

Two planes down, several more to go but that wasn't the whole day in the shop for me. I also got to spend a few hours with my nephew Bailey. He's a boy scout and pine wood derby season is on the way. The uncle with all the woodworking tools is back in town and how can you say no to spending a little time making saw dust with the kid. He started with a bunch of energy, but after we got to doing some hands on, he really showed a lot of patience and ability. I'm gonna look forward to more projects with him.




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