Honorable Mention at Del Mar fair

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Hello, fellow knuckle draggers - I received an honorable-mention ribbon for this No. 3 infill in the "Design in Wood" juried competition at the San Diego County Fair at Del Mar this week.


The wood is Honduran rosewood finished very simply - a hand rubbed coating of Tried and True Danish oil topped with three coats of Myland wax. The iron is A-2 pitched at 50 degrees; it's 1/4 inch thick, 1 3/4 inches wide. The sides are 1/4-inch mild steel dovetailed and pinned into the base, which is O-1 tool steel, also 1/4 inch thick.


That's a cyma curve on the tote, with radii in the proportions of a golden rectangle. The radical design of the tote is deliberate. I want the hand to rest not behind the tote, as it would on a plane with a traditional tote, but above and behind it. This relaxes the forearm, wrist and hand, creating a straight line vectored on the point where the rubber meets the road - the tip of the iron.


The design of the bun is deliberate, too. My theory is that what you're really doing when you use a hand plane is balancing the thing fore and aft so as to concentrate the force you create on the tip of the iron. I want the fingers of the front hand to wrap over and into the big mouth of the bun on my planes, and the web between thumb and first finger of the second hand to come to rest right under the crown of the tote. In this way, with either or both hands you can push down, push forward, or lift up as necessary to create the shaving you want.


Above all, I want the motion involved in planing a board to be relaxed and natural. Even a traditional hand plane has weight and mass, and the steel and brass in my planes only add to the heft. My goal in designing and making an infill hand plane is to marry design and mass such that the whole is coherent and focused on getting the job done as quickly and easily as possible - and if in the meantime I end up with something that's also nice to look at, that's all to the good.





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As regards the short grain on the bun, not to mention the delicate horn, or as I call it the crown, I can only say that I've never been a gambler, but I don't fear risk as such. There is risk in the design of both bun and crown, to be sure, but I think the benefits of the design outweigh the risk even as they call on the user of one of my planes to handle it with care.

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