Meet Jack... the stripper #1: Meet Jack... the stripper

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Blog entry by RedWoodzard posted 11-04-2009 07:59 AM 4183 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Hi thanks for stopping by.
I am currently in the process of learning wood working, and before I jumped right into it I wanted to take my time to go and learn how the old school guys did things before my time. Sure you can go out and buy one of them fancy planers or jointers, and complete a job a little faster, but doing things that way there is no learning involved. Once you have put the wood thru the planer and it comes out the other side, thats it buddy, your on to the next step of what ever your making or building. But had you hand planed that wood you would have burned off many calories breaking a sweat as you did so. Maybe you would have encountered a problem, and if so then more than likely that would have brought upon a new experience, something to learn, something to solve, and most of all something to share. It is very nice to have and use power tools, heck yeah they rock, but let us all not allow technology to dictate our future building, exclude thoes who are less fortunate money wise, or forget from whence it came. It is your job, and now mines also to not let our industry be swept under a rug… made in china!

Now with that said I want to take a minute to introduce you to Jack. I am unsure of his real name, but I have heard many others refer to guys who look like him as Jack Plane. He’s a short older guy with a very worn sole. I first came across him in a flea market located in the small town I live in called Guerneville. He was very down on his luck, but so was I… I mean come on I was in a flea market ha ha. However, after browsing around for a few minutes I decided to offer Jack a job. It wasnt going to be a full time job, but something part time… you know, to see how he works and all that. Well, we had a long talk on the way to my house. We had a beer once we got there and discussed the job thoroughly. Well the next morning Jack showed up late for work, and that really pissed me off… of course, but not only did he show up late. But he also refused to work for me.. I mean at all! I showed him the wood, and he just chatted and chatted along, and even damaged my nice wood. I looked carefully into Jacks sole, and thats where I found the problem. Jack wouldnt work for me because he had major issues with his sole. It was as if somebody worked Jack over for many years with out ever paying him. I did not have the experience to look Jack over before offering him the job, but for $3 I thought… well what the hell.

So like many others who had worked with Jack in the past I promised him that I would take care of him, and began working him over big time. There were times when I didnt get done working with Jack untill after 7pm. Well after 1 week of work I started to see improvement, and that was big time motivation. I first gave Jack $50, but that was a little rough on him, so I decided to go ahead and give him $100, but then I read that maybe $120 would be the best place to start. So its been a few weeks now, and were still working together. Infact things are going so well that I have planed to go ahead and take Jack up to $220 in the next few days. So things are going well, very well in fact, but there is still one thing that is puzzling me. And that is what is Jack Plane’s real name? I have included a mug shot of this guy. If anybody can tell me what this guys real name is I would greatly appreciate it. I looked all over for some kind of tattoo or numbers but I see nothing but stanley, and that he was born in USA… but thats always great though… isnt it?

I have other pics to share but at the moment the site i use for linking had a hack attack. I will update as theyre site is up and running.. better, thanks for stopping by… I feel special ha ha ha
bye 4 now.

-- Your Job, or Your Country... the choice is yours

13 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#1 posted 11-04-2009 01:43 PM

Louis, I have always had a great deal of respect for woodworkers who choose to follow more traditional routes. I just have never invested the time necessary to develop my hand skills. I think that what you are doing is commendable. This was an interesting blog and I look forward to seeing more from you as you continue your woodworking journey.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3232 days

#2 posted 11-04-2009 02:16 PM

Looks pretty short, it might just be a #4 smoothing plane – which are usually 8-10” long. Jack planes are a little bigger, up to 15” or so. Here’s a good overview.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4158 days

#3 posted 11-04-2009 03:30 PM

a great blog!!! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3162 days

#4 posted 11-04-2009 05:45 PM

Enjoyed your story…...I’ll be back for more.

Don’t know as much about planes as you. I have one plane, an old Stanley Bailey #4 I bought new, probably about 1970. The conscensus is to keep it and fix it up, garnered here on the forums when I asked the question.

It’ll be fun to see how your plane comes out.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3725 days

#5 posted 11-04-2009 06:07 PM

what is the money going toward that you are putting into the plane? New blades/chipbreakers?

I like the writing style.

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4167 days

#6 posted 11-04-2009 06:28 PM

Many people who teach machine woodworking recommend starting with hand tools. Sounds great.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4095 days

#7 posted 11-04-2009 07:17 PM

I think the cost reference is grit of the sandpaper he is using to flatten the sole. It looks like a #4 Handyman from the 50’s to me….

Photo looks to me like lapping the sole on granate using sandpaper.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3893 days

#8 posted 11-04-2009 08:57 PM

I’m not sure what plane it is – but I do think the chip breaker is on upside down.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4095 days

#9 posted 11-04-2009 09:42 PM

Actually looks like upside down and backwards. Assuming this is because he is lapping the sole.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 3346 days

#10 posted 11-04-2009 10:14 PM


While I understand your storyline (and therefore don’t actually know how serious your comment about the use of a planner is) given that you state you are learning woodworking I would like to offer a few words of caution. To think that there is no learning involved with the use of any woodworking machine is liable to produce either a disappointing result and/or an injury . Certainly when compared to the skill of hand planning, using a planner is simpler to learn (and far more potentially dangerous) but even in this seemly easy to use machine there are several subtle skills that if not understood can cause poor results. For example, when using a planner there is the issue of controlling snipe and reducing/eliminating tear out through the use of properly set in and out feed tables, proper reading of the grain and proper depth of cut. So even with a machine as ‘simple’ as a planner there is skill/knowledge involved to get good results (not to mention the skill to operate it safely). If you apply the same interest to understanding the use of a hand plane to all tools you should be able to develop good woodworking skills safely. Good luck.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View IkeandBerry's profile


45 posts in 3262 days

#11 posted 11-04-2009 11:20 PM

I am also heading down the same road using hand tools. I have power tools in my shop and know how to use them, but the more I use hand tools the more I find myself reaching for them before I go to a power tool. I feel safer using the hand tools and it sometimes even saves me time to not setup the power tool. I admit planing a board with a powered thickness planer is a lot easier, but I have actually lost weight in realm of 20lbs from using hand planes to flatten boards. I cannot agree with you more.

-- There is nothing like the sound of a hand plane passing across a board in an otherwise quiet shop.

View RedWoodzard's profile


13 posts in 3167 days

#12 posted 11-06-2009 05:35 PM

Wow.. thanks everybody for having a look at my little blog. And an extended thanks to those of you who left a comment. I first have to admit something funny. I didnt think anybody could read this unless they first went to my profile. Im new and didnt realize that every blog was also viewable under the blog tab, which is not a bad thing at all. I just didnt realize it, so im really caught off guard, and surprised to all the views and comments, so thanks again. I been looking for a more step by step how to for hand planes and didnt find much at first. But I recently got lucky, so I wanted to share a link in case somebody wanted to know more.

So lets see… um yes the blade/guard/chipper is upside down as I am trying to true the sole of the plane to the slab of granite beneath the sand paper. Had I not flipped it over, and out the way of the sand paper i’d be sanding my blade/guard/chipper away. Also the money amounts do represent sand paper grits. Im sorry if any of this was confusing to anybody. But please keep in mind that I didnt think this was going to be viewable to everybody. I thought only people I directed to my profile could read my blog… you know like people that I know, or at least have spoken to before, therfore who might know me, and my goofball/fun personality better than just some guy in a public fourm. So sorry if I confused you trying to be funny… it will never happen again… I promise…PLEASE DONT HIT ME!... lol

-- Your Job, or Your Country... the choice is yours

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3162 days

#13 posted 11-06-2009 06:03 PM

There is a hazard to posts on LJ’s….....they will be read…....and you will come under scrutiny. And anyone with a compulsive need to comment and help….....(that may be a definition of LJ or at least a requirement to join) will be here commenting on your work. I seem to fit the definition well…...............(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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