The last couple of months have been really busy. In that time, I have had the good fortune to work with some sensational materials - and not only wood this time!
First we have another Honduran Rosewood burl filled plane - a No.4 smoother. This one has a 2" wide blade bedded at 52.5 degrees.
I never get tired of working with Honduran Rosewood burl.
The next plane is an African Blackwood filled A5. This plane has a 2" wide blade and a 50 degree bed angle.
This plane was another reminder that the coldness of steel can still work with a warm wood like African Blackwood. The first all steel plane I made was infilled with Ebony and I could not imagine another infill material working as well. This plane proved me wrong.
This was my first experience working with Damascus steel. I have wanted to try it ever since seeing Brian Buckner’s stunning Damascus steel sided planes in Feb. 2005 at a Planemakers gathering hosted by Popular Woodworking.
I contacted Brian to see if he would be ok if I used Damascus in a plane - I did not want to step on his toes. Thankfully - he kindly agreed.
This is a No.4 smoother with a 2" wide blade and a bronze lever cap and lever cap screw. The ebony infill is quartersawn. This plane was tougher than I thought it would be. I started this one as a “spare”. The infills were installed and I was pondering the lever cap. I had fit a Naval brass lever cap and screw and then other more pressing work took me away from it. It sat on my bench for a few weeks. I looked at it several times every day and could not decided if I liked the Naval brass or not.
Then the phone rang.
And the plane was no longer a “spare”. I sent the below photo to the customer. The Naval brass lever cap is on the far right. I quickly duplicated the image in Photoshop and simulated a stainless steel lever cap and a bronze version.
The customer preferred the bronze and I have to say - I am so thankful, because the plane really does look the best with a bronze lever cap.
This next plane is one of those planes that will likely stand out in my memory after I retire from planemaking. The infill is Desert Ironwood, and while I have used Desert Ironwood before - this Ironwood is truly remarkable. Watching the color and grain come alive as I was working on it was amazing. I was pretty excited when I found this piece of Ironwood - but I did not expect it to be this striking.
It is also tricky wood to work with. It is extremely hard but there is a brittleness to it not unlike Madagascar Ebony. Add in all the burl and figure and it was a slow, nerve wracking process. In the end though - it was totally worth it.
This next plane is a Birds eye Boxwood XSNo.4 smoother. Steel sides and a 52.5 degree bed angle.
The infill was soaked in oil for 4 days and left to dry for a week or so. It is finished off with a coat of paste wax.
And last, but certainly not least - a curly Rosewood filled SNo.4 smoother. 1-3/4" wide blade, 52.5 degree bed angle.
I have 4 new planes in the works. One uses a crazy material, one is a variation to a plane that I have been dying to make for several years, and two are planes that have been on the list and am finally getting around to making. 2011 is shaping up to be an amazing year.