The Slippery Slope #2: The arrival, and so much more.

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Blog entry by Douglas Bordner posted 11-16-2007 07:11 AM 5698 reads 0 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Escape from the rust bucket! Part 2 of The Slippery Slope series Part 3: Scary Sharp - My way. »

Well it’s a red letter day here in Nebraska. My Sargent 410 showed up in the mail, and it’s rusty, finished is cracked, but it’s functional and will be ready for it’s bath soon. But this blog is about to be hijacked by an event of more personal significance, albeit a galootish event as well.

Long story short, I have done a little side work on some photos for Thomas Angle, who is working up a web page for Owyhee Design, the woodworking arm of his two businesses (The other being Thos. Angle Saddlery). Now I’m not good at naming figures for my work, and I proposed that Tom make me something and we could swap time dollars. I admired his jointer plane fence and his Aspen doors project with it’s wonderful woodburnt scene.
With a slight sense that I was pushing my luck a bit, I asked him to make me one, and if it wasn’t too much to ask, could he wood-burn a Buffalo bull at the top where the curve echoes the curved top of the casting on Bailey pattern planes. And I asked him (pushing it a bit harder) to sign it. He readily agreed, and I made a joke that if he sent me a load more pictures I might be able to charge him the exact amount necessary to get a Hock Krenov style blade and chipbreaker for a homemade wooden plane. I think he had recently posted his first effort at this endeavor, and I thought I might like to give it a shot.

I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t encroaching on his time for his business and his kitchen remodeling at home, and all the sundry other things that suck the hours out of a week. No rush, by spring maybe. Well I got home today and my Sargent had showed up and there was a package from Jordan Valley, OR. Tom had called last night to tell me to keep an eye on the mail, so I had expected a package around Saturday. But this was a bigger box than I had anticipated. I took out my pocket knife, cutting the tape off carefully so I could keep the return address legible, pulled the lid back and caught a glimpse of reddish wood. I knew that the fence was to be in maple so I was a bit mystified. There was a card, but at this point I was getting a lump in my throat, so I went back into the package, and this is what I found…

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket.

Thomas Angle, you old fox. Notice the smooth plane posting only shows one side. This is what was on the other side. I haven’t received so great and so wonderful a present since I was a five-year old. The significance is so much more than the wood and metal (it’s a Lie Nielson iron, heftier than a Hock), more than the time involved (he has about a gazillion hours of photo-editing on account at this point). This was handmade for me by a man I have come to respect immensely for his wisdom, common sense, experience, friendliness, and good will. I suspect that a few of you have the same impression.

I come from farm people and hung around with some grain elevator folks in my late teens. I did a summer harvest, got to beat out some burning cow manure with a wet burlap sack as part of the Lane Co., Kansas Volunteer Fire Department response to a house and range fire. I lived as a renter for 5 years on a cattle ranch (no chores involving the livestock). So I have a soft spot for, and some experience with ranchers and farmers (both lifestyles can stove you in, but they are different) and know a little about the Gypsies of the Plains – the custom cutters that follow the harvest of rice, oats, wheat and corn up from south to north each growing season. I married a cattle vet’s daughter.

But I’m a city boy and I don’t have touch with the field and the range much any more. I drive to work out of my way to watch the seasons advance, to note the crop rotation year by year in some gerrymandered fields in the midst of Omaha’s sprawl. So it has been a treat to meet my Cowboy friend on these pages, and shoot a few e-mails around. Now I’m forever indebted to him. And I couldn’t be more tickled about it. Thanks, Tom. There aren’t words enough…

As a parting shot, here I am – Two Gun Pete.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Better start learning to shoot (with shooting board). I promised Angle these would not become shelf dwellers.

Oh and that fence. Keep your eyes peeled. I think Tom will be showing the other magnificent gift on his own.
Boy, Howdy Bob! I’m one lucky man.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

31 comments so far

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4164 days

#1 posted 11-16-2007 07:16 AM

Douglas -

That is way too cool! Awesome plane and a very neat story.


View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4115 days

#2 posted 11-16-2007 07:21 AM

Excellent trade!

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14173 posts in 4008 days

#3 posted 11-16-2007 07:22 AM


One awesome blog !


-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4089 days

#4 posted 11-16-2007 07:23 AM

David, I’m about teary and snot-nosed about it. Let’s hope I learn how to use it to the effect it’s capable of. Tom sent me the test board he planed with it. No edge beads or ridges, just smooth burnished wood. What a day!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4425 days

#5 posted 11-16-2007 07:26 AM

Great Douglas, And great job Tom.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4164 days

#6 posted 11-16-2007 08:19 AM

Douglas -

I am sure this will be a great journey . . . the photo of you with that plane was priceless! It was so neat to share your special friendship with Tom.


View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4091 days

#7 posted 11-16-2007 11:11 AM

Thanks for the great story Douglas. I am more impressed everyday with Thomas, seems like quite a guy. Oh, he also does some beautiful work. Now go make something nice Douglas.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4113 days

#8 posted 11-16-2007 12:45 PM

Does this change the definition of “Bordnerizing”?

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4186 days

#9 posted 11-16-2007 12:45 PM

Obi .. don’t look.. tears in the workshop :)


-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3987 days

#10 posted 11-16-2007 02:29 PM

Alright, enough. I won’t be able to get my hat on with all this BS floating around. Douglas forgot to tell you what a great job he did for me on the photos and what a great big pile of them there were. I actually think I got the better of him in this deal. It actually worked out pretty well; any a time 2 horse traders walk away both thinking they got the better deal it’s a red letter day. Thanks Douglas for your efforts, not only for me but on this site as well.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4089 days

#11 posted 11-16-2007 02:39 PM

Tom, you got a whole plane’s worth of time dollars coming. Plus a hunk of alder. Better get ‘em posted on the sharing site. I’ll warm up a bucket of pixels…

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3907 days

#12 posted 11-16-2007 03:17 PM

Thanks guys, I’m all chocked up.

Go Lumberjocks!

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3964 days

#13 posted 11-16-2007 03:38 PM

How does one respond to such a story but to say, Wow. Is the place great, or what? A better group of folks is not to be found.

-- Working at Woodworking

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#14 posted 11-16-2007 03:39 PM

Great story, Doug! But I can just picture your wife looking at that photo of you lovingly holding those two planes, looking like you’re about to cry, and thinking “Wow…and they think women get emotional over weird stuff!”

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4004 days

#15 posted 11-16-2007 03:47 PM


When I first contacted you about helping on the website photos, Tom had no idea I was going to do that. I didn’t tell him , just in case you didn’t have the time.

Plus I figured like all of us, we’re proud, and don’t like asking for help. Something I hate to do, but strangely, don’t mind asking for someone else.

Tom has sent several copies of the retouched photos, along with comments about how great they looked, and also how glad he was that he didn’t have to do it, since he never would have gotten them to look so good!

This post, and another, posted by Tom, of your requested buffalo, shows the great character you both have.

You are both FINE men!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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