Woodworkers come in a wide variety of forms: professionals, hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers; architectural, furniture makers, boat builders, carvers; collectors and users; machinery only, handtool-only and hybrids. There are so many avenues that this silly medium, wood, leads us. Once it has us moving in one direction, may it turn us toward another?
I once spent a weekend in Springfield, Mass. at a large woodworking show making handmade moldings (Fig.1). During the weekend, many different woodworking varieties stopped by the booth and insisted that, with machinery, there were faster ways to do what I was doing, including using routers.
Many of these people brushed the demonstration off as irrelevant and walked away while some lingered in amusement as I rapidly made stick after stick of moldings. To many, I was dancing like a monkey for the cost of admission. To the few that deliberated my presentations, I illustrated what could be done by hand, quickly and efficiently, that machines cannot. In three minutes while using hand planes, I demonstrated the versatility that machines often lack: the idea of infinity.
Tools of the Trade
Hollows and rounds are among the most common profiled planes in existence, and the most versatile. The hollow has a concave sole and an iron that cuts a convex shape. The round has a convex sole and matching iron that creates a concave shape. These planes often come in sets of graduating radii from 1/8″ at the low end to 1-1/2″at the high end. A common half set includes 9 pairs, 18 planes.
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