I was wisely advised not to buy tools before I needed them and to buy the best ones I could. After feeling the frustration of working with non-square stock in my first two projects, I knew it was time for a plane. And since my birthday was coming up, I knew I could splurge a bit in the quality department by asking everyone in the family to simply buy me gift certificates.
After way too much online research, I chose a Lie-Nielson low angle jack plane for its versatility and quality. I considered buying a vintage Stanley on e-bay but I really didn’t feel comfortable in my abilities to pick a good one or know when I’ve tuned it to its potential. I decided that for my first plane I wanted to (1) minimize frustration and discouragement and (2) set the standard high so I know when a future plane needed some work.
After the gift certificates were gratefully accepted, the order was placed, and the UPS realtime tracking was monitored until it arrived at the office today. The workday never seemed longer.
Once I got home, I clamped up a simple board to act as a bench stop (a great tip from Sharon Rogers at Renaissance Woodworker, the video) and took it for a joyous spin.
The main motivation for the plane, at least for now, was for squaring up stock that I saw. So over the last weekend while I was inpatiently waiting for the plane’s arrival, I started puting together a shooting board from the Lie-Nielson plans, using MDF, plywood, and some scraps. Now I’ll take this chance to note that even though most web guides on shooting boards make it sound like a piece of cake, many of them don’t mention that the glue up and clamping is pretty tricky (for a novice). I had a few panic attacks when my carefully squared pieces swiveled under the clamping pressure. I’m eager to hear if anyone has any suggestions for accurate glue+clamping edge/face pieces.
Followed by screws (I didn’t have a countersink bit, but my hand brace came in handy to make the screws flush).
Then it was time to give it a shot with a humble piece of pine cut-off.
I was happy—confident that my next project has the chance to be marginally better than the last, and even more fun.
-- "As I’ve said to myself many times before: Try to live the way you are, be the person in your work that you are in the rest of your life. Easy to say!” - James Krenov