My favourite plane until now has been a very cute and tiny wooden smoother. It was small enough for me to manage the restoration, nice in the hand and just sweet. Time seems to get the better of me so I’m still very much at that stage of enjoying making shavings rather than much else, but with a considerable amount of help I have seen it to the end of a couple of small pieces.
My attempts to joint a narrow board have been made with my restored wooden jack. I’ve also tried Richard’s Lie Nielsen No 8 just for kicks but it’s heavy and in control of me. Generally I’ll shrink the board right down to nothing before the edge is anything close to square and then one ‘final’ stroke puts it way off again. Practice has improved things but it still feels like I’m missing something. It’s like walking a Jack Russell; with luck on your side you might get to where you want to be.
I tried the wooden jointer Richard made prior to it having a handle – well it was just sitting there so why not? It was light but cumbersome and I couldn’t really get a grasp.
When the handle was attached Richard set up a narrow board of pine in the vice, ruined the edge of it and then gave me the plane. With a handle the plane was now comfortable and unlike the metal jointer I could actually lift it and it wasn’t top heavy. I sat it on the wood and after a few strokes getting down the high spots I was planing lovely full shavings. Better than the shavings was the feeling of balance. The plane was straight and boxy it referenced itself and felt like it was doing the work for me. I laughed at how for the first time ever it felt like I’d planed square, but as I reached to put the square up I knew full well that it would be all over the shot. But it was perfect, no light. Further down the board the same story. I’d done it right, and it hadn’t felt like pot luck.
I know I shouldn’t blame the tools if I’m struggling with something, but this really was a case of one tool suiting a task and a hand more than another. I still love my smoother of course, but with a light weight jointer in the mix I really feel like I can progress with some real prepping of boards and getting things made, rather than simply making lots of lovely shavings.
Whilst Richard’s new jointer is barely finished, it now lives on my bench.
Edit: We now have a full video build of Richard’s wooden Jack plane – you can sign up to watch the full thing HERE.