A place for me to display some of the varied projects that come out of my shop, as well as to "talk" about some of my experiences working with wood.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Beautiful new planes land in new home

I just got back from one of my all too regular trips to Toronto, but this time I got to do a little something for myself for a change. I rented a car and drove up to Kitchener to visit Konrad Sauer to pick up my new infill planes he has been building for me. More about the planes in a little bit; but first I need to say Konrad is one of the good guys in this business and a real pleasure to meet in person, after many months of online dialog.

Of course I got a tour of his awesome shop, but we had a chance to talk about everything from the business to our boys - like running into an old friend I have not seen for years. A couple hours went by all too quickly and I had to hit the road to catch my plane home.

From my reading and personal observation, Konrad is one of the pre-eminent plane builders working today - and Canadian too! His approach very much seeks a complete balance between form and function - his planes have a stunning visual presentation, as well as dreamy usability. I had a chance to look over a number of his works in progress, and there are many other lucky woodworkers out there, all sizes and styles of planes, matched with exquisite wood choices - illustrating the true artist at work.

The first plane I ordered many months ago was a small Norris No. 7 Shoulder plane to give me the tool to clean out dadoes as well as tenon shoulders. I picked the small one to give me the flexibility to cover most sizes. I am very pleased with this little guy, executed in Brazilian Rosewood infill and bronze sides, it looks and feel amazing in my hand. And oh yeah, it is sharp as a razor and leaves a flawless smooth edge in its wake.

After I waited a few weeks for the No. 7, I felt now was the time to replace my Record No. 6 with an infill. I use that plane for rough jointing of lumber by hand to better control the process, and often to waste less material, I will finish it with a tiny skim on the power jointer to make sure its square and flat after the plane is done. While I do not do much surface prep by hand, I feel if I had the hand tool to do so, I would go this route over other more aggressive options - like the belt sander!

This plane is an A1 Panel Plane, which serves many purposes from true jointer to flattening flat surfaces for finishing. I chose Brazilian Rosewood for the infill as I love the colour and Konrad had more from the same piece the No. 7 was made from, so why not? This picture shows this magnificent beast in all its 16.5" glory. A little shorter than the No. 6, but much heavier and much smoother to use. It takes shavings you can see through with virtually no effort.

These two planes will have a permanent place of honour in my shop as well my go-to planes for many uses. I am also sure my grandchildren will get many years of use before they hand them off to their children, a true heirloom piece I am honoured to be the custodian of for future generations.


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