Thursday, October 20, 2011

feeling edgy

Now, if you were being paid by the hour, or if you were particularly bound up in being efficient then the overhang of the soundboard would be removed by a flush trim router set-up. But if you can afford the luxury of trying to work nicely instead of only aiming for efficiency, you may be surprised, after a few years, how small a difference it makes in time, and how much more suitably you can spend the time available.

I'm not against the use of machines, and I'm certainly not a purist who advocates any sort of un-thinking rigidity. I have lots of machines, and sometimes I'm quite lazy. But I do try to add value to as many tasks as I can, to make the experience one that has an accumulative effect on my skills, and one that is as memorable and meaningful as possible.

I can't tell you what pleasure I find in using this little plane. It was one of the first that I made, and I've used it so often and it has served me so well that it only took maybe fifteen extra minutes to remove the overhang with it than it would have taken with the router.

 The two experiences would have been so utterly different. The router would be very noisy and dusty, the set up time would be as long as the time to do the job, and there would be tension in the room because a mistake with a machine happens very quickly and with a lot more possible consequences. But the real reason I chose the plane in this instance was because I wanted to do something pleasurable.

This particular plane was the first I made to my new design in 1993. It was fabricated from sheet brass, folded and silver soldered at the joints. The blade is made from a cut and ground portion of a used power hacksaw blade- being fine grade high speed steel. It holds an edge remarkably and has been doing so for nearly twenty years. Some of the other planes were made from cast bronze. There is a picture of a few of them in my first post here. If there is interest I can expand the information on these.

 In the narrow and tight curve of the waist, a chisel and knife, cutting obliquely, and always going 'downhill' on the grain can take the edge flush. The sides have then had a bit of a scrape to make the wood feel alive and fresh and eager to meet the world.

 The corpus has been out of the mold for inspection, but is back in there for support while edging.