One of the first things we did with Jim Krenov at the College of the Redwoods was learn to make and use a hand plane. 30+ years later I’m still making them, and introducing others to the experience. This session was in early January, 2017, with Christine, Josh, Mo, and DJ, and was among the most successful and satisfying classes I’ve held. Their planes were made from 12/4 hard maple, with walnut pins and wedges, sporting 1.5″ x 3.5″ Hock irons. The 3.2oz brass adjusting hammer heads are made in the shop, fitted to handles shaped by the students.
Hand planes are simple tools that need to be set up and maintained properly to work effectively. The definition or details of “properly” can differ, but in general it means a really sharp blade and a sole that is flat. Tangent factors such as chip breaker setting and fineness of the mouth opening certainly come into play, especially in certain circumstances, but for practical purposes sharp and flat are the essential qualities. With the blade set fine and parallel to the sole, great things happen. John, Mike, Josh, and I spent the weekend of Jan 21-22 sharpening, tuning, and using a variety of bench planes that they brought in.
The latest Mortise & Tenon workshop was held October 3-4, 2015. For this class we make a pair of Krenov-style shop stands, using both blind and through mortises and a bridle joint. These stands are remarkably useful and utilitarian, most folks end up making several pairs for use in the shop. We used some 4/4 ash in this case, I’ve made them from maple, oak, cherry, poplar, even kiln dried spruce 2×3’s from the big box store.