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Handmade Planes

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francist

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#1
Okay first thing, I did not make these. Second thing, although these are woodworking tools I thought there was enough food for a machinist's mind to digest that it was safe to post.

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I've had these two creatures sitting upstairs in my old tool bonehouse for quite a few years now. They belonged to a coworker who really has no tool affinity himself, so he gave them to me. In case you haven't guessed already, they're a pair of match planes (planes for making matched tongue and groove joints), and they were made entirely from scratch by his grandfather. I'm thinking probably around the 1950's.

What I find really interesting about tools like this is the obvious determination of the maker that they bear witness to. You know darn well that there was no milling machine on the farm, no lathe, no fancy tools of any kind. More than likely just a hammer, screwdriver, hacksaw, egg-beater drill, and a few worn out files. But gall dang it, he was going to have fancy tongue and groove floor boards too just like the rich folks did!

I decided to put one of them to the test today, to see how it would actually cut a groove. And considering that it's all mild steel (including the cutter), it cut surprisingly well. There's a bunch of different configurations available depending on where you want your groove, how deep, etc and I'm not sure I got all the parts assembled properly to meet that criteria, but it did perform the task. I wouldn't want to plane a whole house worth of floorboards with it, but you could certainly do a few. Reminds me a bit of my own grandfather -- he spent ten years underground in the coal mine and would bring home the broken bits of rough scantling lumber to hand plane into Venetian blinds for the house. Talk about a project!

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The builder of these planes is long gone. Heck, stove bolts have all but disappeared from the landscape in the time he's been dead! But I guess in some ways his project still survives, even if it is only on a shelf in my house of old tool bones.

-frank

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Martin W

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#3
Very well done. Your friends grandfather must have been very innovative and resourceful.
Cheers
Martin
 

Dave Paine

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#4
Thanks for posting. Very interesting planes. The fellow did a very good job without much in the way of metal work machines.
 

f350ca

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#6
Thanks for posting Frank.
They were built when people couldn't afford every possible gadget.
The father of a frend out in Alberta built himself a saw mill for the farm. Crafted with pretty much the tools you described. Some parts weren't pretty but it did a fine job of cutting corral planks and lumber for the barn.

Greg
 
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