09 May. 2006|
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When I was breaking down yellow birch for the last production of moulding planes for Time Warp Tool Works, I ended up with one block about 3 inches square and 10 inches long, with a partial live edge along one surface.
I used West Systems epoxy to attach a lignum vitae sole for smooth planing and a hard-wearing surface. One of the most common questions I am asked is how I flatten the large pieces of wood I often use in my work.
Perhaps one of the quickest ways to surface a board is to feed it through a thickness planer which removes material from the top. Unlike the jointer and thickness planer, hand-held surfacing tools have no capacity limits (but to require more skill and stamina). When I am faced with a lot of material that needs to be removed, especially over a large area, I start with my power planer.
After having done the preliminary flattening with the power planer, I use hand planes to refine the surface, removing any ridges or tearout. Hand-held tools, while not always as efficient as machinery, allow me to work with any size and shape of material I choose. To fair the complex surfaces of the wood, I used short-soled planes and sanders (some day, I want to make a plane with a 2-3″ sole specifically for this purpose). Of all the bench planes (bevel-down) I have acquired, the Veritas ones have been by far the easiest to adjust and for that, I love them.
Three years ago, I made a new tote and knob for my Veritas #4 which is my favourite bench plane.
Most woodworkers think of a block plane as a hand plane about 6″ long without a tote (rear handle) that can be held in one hand easily.
One definition of a block plane is a hand plane with blade installed on a low-angle bed (commonly 12 or 20 degrees), bevel-up. But I cannot think of any way to stretch the definition to include a plane such as this one. Emmerich Company, whose blade is installed bevel-down on a 50-degree bed does not qualify as a block plane, yet it is described as one.