I took the opportunity, on my recent project, to use a Stanley 45 combination plane to do the edge beading (I think that’s what it’s called) instead of setting up my router or shaper. I’m trying to do more and more with hand tools as a way of connecting to the fundamentals of the hobby/skill/pastime/avocation. (whatever this really is called)
I’m also, of course, doing it to keep telling myself that I’m not a collector, I’m a user. (Hello, my name is Tom, and I’m a plane-o-holic….[group response, “hi, Tom”]
From a time standpoint, at least on a small project, it actually seems to be a bit faster than the machine set up, but if I really wanted to save time, I’d just buy whatever it was I was making, so let’s just take that out of the equation altogether.
As I’ve begun to work on my (to this point somewhat limited) skills with hand planes, I’ve had the occasion to think back to 8th grade woodworking class. A time, for many on this site I venture to say, that was before they existed…when “Leave it to Beaver” had yet to hit the rerun circuit.
I was handed a tri square (try square?) and plane and shown how to square up a board. It looked so easy when he did it. Then I tried to square (try square?) it up. It took a long time and the board got a lot smaller along the way.
As I practice this now, I think I’m a little more proficient at it than I was then, or maybe I’m just starting with a bigger board.
One thing I do know, though, is that every stroke I take in some small way takes me on a journey back to that class…to that time. A time when my dad was around and we’d go down in the basement and I’d watch him work on his/my Shopsmith (see my recent tool review), and he’d show me how to do stuff. (God, he was proud of that machine)
As I make more shavings, and I’ve made a bunch, I try to imagine what it must have been like to be a woodworker back when my great grandfather (1880’s) used those skills to make a living. I have a few of those planes and, holding them, I am sometimes overwhelmed at the idea of doing what he did.
What I do know, and what I do feel is a kind of kinship with those craftsman…not because I’m even remotely able do what they could (I have a long ways to go in that regard) but because when I hold one of those planes, take that stroke and watch the shaving curl up, I feel the kind of satisfaction in the result that I believe you can only feel when you truly work the wood by hand…the feeling they had.
It may take me a long time to develop the skill to be as precise as today’s power tools…maybe I never will… but I’m going to keep on trying…. because that feels so good -SST
-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you