I only started getting serious about woodworking this year. When I was setting up my shop I had a list of tools that I wanted to fill it with and hand planes were no where on my list. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them it was just that I was just learning things and my mind seemed to be focused on power tools. I had no interest or urge to do things by hand. Well as I was setting up my shop I was also learning that this is an expensive hobby. I realized that I would have to pass on a lot of my wish list tools until I had more money saved. One of the tools I planned on getting but didn’t have the money for was a planer or jointer. As I started building things I ran into a lot of problems with cupped boards and uneven edges. I kept trying to work around it by either sanding it or using jigs for my router or TS but that just turned into a pain in the ass. So I decided I would pick up a hand plane and use that. How hard could it be?
I ended up winning an auction for two old planes. I think I paid 6 dollars total. One of the planes was a Shelton Jack plane and the other one was a Craftsman #4 style smoothing plane. At the time I bought them I didn’t know one plane from another, I had no idea there were different sizes and I had no idea they were so complicated. Once I got the planes I picked up the jack plane and right away my whole woodworking life changed. I don’t know what it was but when I picked up the hunk of heavy steel something came over me. I was in love with it. Had not used it, had no idea how to use it, hell I didn’t even really know anything about it but I loved it. I couldn’t wait to use it so i grabbed a board and started planning. Due to the fact that I knew nothing about planes I didn’t give any thought to tuning it or sharpening the blade. I just started cutting. I went on to spend hours and hours trying to “figure” these tools out and little by little I was catching on. After some research and reading I decided to take them apart and restore them. I learned that the planes I had were not considered top quality but that didn’t matter. It was all a learning experience for me.
So I finished restoring the Shelton jack plane and was very happy with the new look. I restored that one completely by hand with brushes, sandpaper, oil and cleaners. I learned so much by doing it this way. I spent a lot of time with each and every part of this plane and it really helped me understand how the plans work and how to adjust them. However after it was restored I still didn’t have good results. I was getting closer though. Even with the poor results of my planing skills I still loved every minute I spent using them. I came in one night after hours and hours of planing, huge blisters on my hands and a few ruined boards but still felt like I had accomplished something.
I recently won an auction on ebay for a lot of planes. I have that sickness for hand planes now I guess. Among these planes were two Stanley planes and a couple others which I had never heard of. This weekend it was a bit to cold to work in the shop so I spent the weekend working on these planes. My boys even helped me. I have posted some pictures below. If anyone has any info on Trustworthy planes can you pass it along. I cant find anything on them.
I am still learning the art of planing and I am showing better results every time I use. I am also practicing my sharpening skills. Hand planes are the last tool I ever pictured myself owning let alone considering my favorite.
-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"