Sunday, March 10, 2013


Jonas informed me that my Swedish plane was made in Denmark with Swedish steel as was common with JPBO planes. As you can see in the photo, it took very little time to tune it to get thin shavings from a bit of cherry. It is a smoothing plane, so is not intended to remove much material at a time. The mouth loads up with wood chips if you try to use it on wood that has not already been planed, and it works best when longer shavings can arise through the mouth. The surface it leaves needs no sanding. Adjusting the plane to get just the right thickness of shaving requires a bit of trial and error, as described here: Adjusting Wooden Planes.

If the plane is hard to push, you are working yourself and the plane too hard, as a series of light strokes quickly done will surpass heavier work in less time, and give better results. If it is hard to push, raise the blade by striking the metal post at the back of the plane body and tap the wedge to lock the iron in place. If the plane is not working hard enough, then tap the top of the iron very slightly with a wood or brass mallet to take a deeper cut. As with all hand-tool operations, less said and the more done is best. You will learn more by doing than what I can tell, and if I play teacher for a moment, I'll remind you that the best teacher would be 1-2% instructor and 98-99% encouragement and role model.

The illustration by R.J. Drillis may be useful in helping to establish the most effective tempo. The longer the piece being planed, the slower the tempo, as it takes longer for each stroke. That said, you will want your planing on short stock to be more like filing and less like shoveling, so that it will be less tiring and more fun.

Last Wednesday, one of my third grade students noticed how easy sawing wood has become for her. It is important that children get a sense that things get easier over time and just because something was difficult at one time, it will not always be that way. Unfortunately, much of education does not impart to each child their own sense of unlimited potential.

Reading is very much a matter in the same book. Some children do not read as easily as others, and yet schools treat kids as stupid if they are not reading at grade level. Just as in sawing, as muscles grow in strength, and the control in the hand becomes easier, in reading the brain matures, the eyes learn to better track letters on the page and children learn to connect what they've read with their own experience. Putting huge pressure on kids is like trying to plane with the iron too deep. You'll come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with the tool or the operator, when the sole problem was failing to have it set at the right depth.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Anonymous9:26 PM

    I own a very similar plane that I picked up at a yard sale. The bottom is curved though. I'm curious what the purpose of that is.

  2. Curved which way, concave or convex?