Wednesday, 5 January 2011

A Mystery solved & the last plane of 2010

Nothing like waiting until the last minute. I filed the mouth on this 16-1/2" A1 panel plane on December 31st 2010.It is filled with mystery Rosewood. And... I think the mystery of Mystery Rosewood has been solved. I received an email from a very skilled guitar maker in England who was quite certain he knew what the Mystery Rosewood was. Madagascar Rosewood (Dalbergia Baronii). I have seen Dalbergia Baronii many times and it does not look anything like my Mystery Rosewood. He assured me that it was and that I was using what he called “ridiculous premium grade Madagascar Rosewood ”. After a few back and forth emails, some photos and the shipping of a small sample - I am quite certain that the Dalbergia Baronii he is using is the same stuff that I have been calling Mystery Rosewood. It seems strangely fitting that on this second last Mystery Rosewood filled plane - it is finally identified. Thanks Anthony for helping with this.

Here are a few more photos.

This A5 was a surprise Christmas gift. It was all I could do to keep from posting these photos. This plane is infilled with some stunning East Indian Rosewood. It was an a infill set that I had roughed out in 2004. I knew it would make for an incredible plane. Here are a bunch of photos.

The sun was streaming in when I was filing the mouth on the A5. I could not resist taking a quick photo of the grain.

An Amboyna burl test shaving from the above A5.

And now for something completely unrelated.

Jill and I found the perfect piece of artwork for above our fireplace. A dear friend of ours, Noriko Maeda, is a phenomenal Japanese calligrapher. We have always loved her work (take a moment and check it out). Noriko stopped in just before Christmas to show us a few of her pieces. This one stood out right away. It is curious that it is based on the Japanese character for water. A fitting home above the fireplace I think.

The above photo has not been messed with in Photoshop, and I could not help but think that the strange purple glow inside the fire is someone traveling by floo powder. Lucas suggested this may be how Santa travels.

Over the holidays, I was re-introduced to an old friend. This is the very first infill plane I owned - an un-handled Spiers coffin smoother. For all intents and purposes - this is the plane that started it all. It has been living in a small display cabinet in the shop. The iron it came with (which was not the original iron) was just about done - there was only 3/4" in front of the slot. I had lapped the sole 12 years ago (and noticed that I had not done a particularly good job of it) so I decided to do a little work on it. It really needed a new blade. This was a pretty big deal for me. It felt a little weird putting one of my blades in a Spiers plane. The new blade was a little thicker which meant I had to file the mouth open a few thousandths of an inch. Filing the mouth felt strange too - I was a little nervous despite having done this hundreds of times on my own planes.

This is the only plane I have with a 45 degree bed angle and I have to say, it is kinda fun using it again. I have been working with Basswood over the last few weeks (much more on this later:) and have been enjoying the lower bed angle in this easy to plane wood. And as Garrett Hack says - planing Basswood makes anyone feel like a hero!

I am going to stop this post here. I have several more new topics to introduce in the next few weeks. My first experiences with hide glue, my camera nightmares and building a 59LP.


Blogger aaron said...

Konrad, I know how you feel. I have a small smoother made by James Krenov. A few weeks ago i added an insert to tighten up the throat. Although i have done this many times, i was a little nervous as i approached the plane with the trim router.

5 January 2011 at 20:46  
Blogger Jonathan Hartford said...


If Spiers were around to inspect it, I'm sure he'd tell you that he would be proud to have one of your blades riding around in his plane!

6 January 2011 at 10:20  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for this note. You experienced the same thing I did with your Krenov plane. I would have a similar feeling about working on one of James's planes as well.


10 January 2011 at 15:47  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Jonathan. It is that very connection to history that makes the whole thing feel weird. But now that I have done it - it does feel pretty cool having a blade in his plane.


10 January 2011 at 15:50  
Blogger Albert A Rasch said...


I don't know which is more beautiful, they all seem to be wonderful expressions of your skill with and love for the materials you work with!

Love the fireplace and artwork!

Best Regards,
Albert Rasch In Afghanistan™
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch

14 January 2011 at 07:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Konrad,

The fireplace exudes huge character, beautiful.

Just a question on the floor. How is the humidity in your home and has it had any noticable effect on your floor?


20 January 2011 at 23:49  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Albert,

Thanks for your kind comments. I noticed you have posted on a few early blog entries as well. Thanks for all the comments.


21 January 2011 at 00:36  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Wayne,

Thankfully - the floor had not moved at all. Everything is still very tight and there are no squeaks or pops when we walk on it. We are in an un-air conditioned house, so this past summer the humidity was up around 80% on bad days. This winter has been quite cold and dry - I suspect the humidity is really low around 15%. That is a pretty amazing swing in humidity and I am all the more thankful that the flooring was very good quality quarter sawn material.


21 January 2011 at 00:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>We are in an un-air conditioned
>house, so this past summer the >humidity was up around 80% on bad >days. This winter has been quite >cold and dry - I suspect the >humidity is really low around 15%

Yep thats what I thought, whilst my home is not of the same era as yours it gets the same swings in humidity. We primarily use wood for heat and tend to dislike air conditioning. I think the fact that you used QS is probably helping in your case. We are laying 3/4" engineered european made 7" American black walnut, lengths are between 6ft and 8ft. Its high quality flooring which you rarely see at the flooring shops here in Ontario. I have spoken to a few other folks who have installed in homes without any humidity control and they all tend to say the same, that is it really hasn't affected the floor all that much.
Currently there is 5/8" ply, I'm going to glue and screw another layer of 3/8" to firm it up a little more. Then the engineered boards. I'm going to add a decretive border to the dining room, an idea I got from your floor. I really like the way your border turned out and am hoping to achieve a similar result using different tones.

I really appreciate your effort to document the work you have done. It helps a lot to see how others go about it and your documentation is terrific.


23 January 2011 at 21:39  

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