Over a week ago I contacted Lowe’s for a replacement lever cap or swap for a new Kobalt No. 4 plane. They gave me the only new plane on the shelf, which I checked over at the service counter before leaving for home. Not only was the sheet metal spring for the lever in perfect shape and connected to the cap properly, the throat was better formed and the frog sat better to my eye. It just looked better overall.
Before cleaning it up and putting it to use, I spent some time with the Korean made ATK block plane’s blade to see if I could sharpen it up using wet/dry sandpaper and the Italian marble pieces I bought a while back. Two observations were made. The first is what most of you would have known or guessed: the blade won’t hold an edge. It is untempered, low-grade soft steel. I could get an edge that would work for about four passes before the actually pressure on the plane caused the wood to bend over the edge and polish the new bevel. I picked up a fine diamond stone today, so when the ordered honing blade guide comes in next week from Rockler, I plan on one more try to see if my freehand technique was the problem more so than the blade. Thereafter, it get thrown in the trash bin if it won’t work.
The other reason for hitting Lowe’s today was to get myself a 12” planer. I need to get some milling done faster and much more precise than I can ever accomplish by hand at this point. I had intended on getting the Porter-Cable 12” model that runs for $269.99. They no longer stock it, so I had to accept an upsell to a DeWalt DW734 for another $139.00 more.
The wife said it was a go. The tightwad in me wanted to wait. The heart slapped me upside the head and looked at me like I was crazy to even think of backing out. I listened to my heart. It sits on the kitchen floor right now, waiting for me to find room for it in the mess I call the dungeon.
A jointer is definitely out of the picture for a while, maybe not until next year. I’ll have to joint use my router table with an offset to the outfeed fence for now. But now I can plane the better reclaimed lumber I have been accumulating and get to work making the dungeon workshop’s infrastructure.
One final note: I had to return the dehumidifier. It doubled our electric bill in one month. No way I can justify that kind of monthly expenditure to bring the humidity down. With winter coming, the humidity will be tolerable. Next spring I will have to consider what options will be available to control humidity in the shop.
-- -- Paul Bucalo, Upstate NY USA