Review of Quangsheng No. 5 bedrock jack plane

Posted by on Nov 8, 2013 in Newsletter articles | No Comments

In recent years Quangsheng planes from China have been providing an economic alternative to the more up market offerings from Lie Neilsen and Clifton. In this article I find out whether the cheaper alternative is worth considering.

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Refurbishing a plane for Africa

Refurbishing a plane for Africa

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Blog | No Comments

On my tool sharpening & maintenance course and beginners woodwork four day course we spend some time refurbishing planes. Often students come on the course without a plane to fettle, to cater for them I usually buy planes on ebay. On my last beginners course I ran out of ebay planes, so there was no plane for Dirk, a student from Belgium, to work on. Fortunately I am also involved in the local Tools for Self Reliance group, so I also have an additional stock of tools to draw on.

Tools for Self Reliance is an excellent charity which collects unwanted tools, refurbishes them and sends them out to crafts people in Africa. TFSR is based around a network of local groups who undertake the collection and refurbishment. As a craftsman who knows the importance of hand tools I have supported TFSR for over 25 years.

refurbishing vintage Stanley 51/2 plane, made between 1910 to 1918

refurbishing vintage Stanley 51/2 plane, made between 1910 to 1918

I selected for Dirk a lovely vintage Stanley 51/2 plane, made between 1910 to 1918, with beautiful undamaged rosewood handles.

The joy of planing

The joy of planing

Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

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Recently I went to the BBC in Leeds to record a piece on the joy of planing for Radio 4. I talked about how planing appeals to all the senses; the lovely sound that a really sharp plane makes as the shaving swishes off the blade; the beautiful burnished surface that is left; the smell from certain woods as you plane them, the peppery smell form walnut, the perfume from rosewood and the aromatic smell of cedar of Lebanon. Of course I didn’t realize until I had left the studio that probably the most satisfying thing about hand planing is the sheer physicality of it. The rhythm of planing, putting your weight into the stroke and the sense of control from using a tool that responds to your skill. It’s about the hand to eye relationship between you and the tool. Its a unique feeling that you just can’t get when using machines.

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