As I mentioned in my post on Monday, I had a great time at the Lie-Nielsen Tool Event hanging out with Jeff Miller and everyone. But as soon as I walked in the door I made a bee-line right over to the bench where Scott Meek had his hand planes set up and on display.
— Scott Meek (@SMeekWoodworks) April 12, 2014
I’m just going to go ahead and say it, Scott’s planes are absolutely gorgeous! They’re so well made, their fit and feel is amazing and the stock Scott uses is so beautiful it’s hard to believe they’re an actual tool and not an ornament (although we did half-jokingly point out how much easier it would be to hang one them on a wall for decoration versus the LN metal-bodied planes.)
For a lot of woodworkers who are first delving into the world of handplanes, wooden bodied planes are both a mystery and maybe even a little intimidating. Unlike the vast majority of metal-bodied planes there is no mechanical adjuster for positioning the blade. It’s all about tapping them in place with a mallet and learning how to set the wedge (two tasks I still struggle with!)
But aside from the steep learning curve on proper blade adjustment (which is less steep than I’m making it out to be and more about just practicing) wooden bodied planes are fantastic tools. My two favorite characteristics of using one is first, the immediate tactile feedback you get while planing.
What do I mean? A wooden bodied plane transfers the feeling of the wood being milled directly to your hands. You know immediately if you need to alter your depth of cut or even the angle of attack by the “feel” of the surface and how the plane is reacting to it.
Unlike a heavier metal bodied plane that gives you the advantage of mass to barrel through most situations, a wooden bodied plane is almost an extension of your fingertips. Giving you that immediate feedback on what you might need to do to get the result you desire.
My second favorite characteristic has everything to do with their weight. Depending on the stock itself, in almost every situation, wooden bodied planes will be lighter and easier to hold versus a comparable metal-bodied plane. This is a big reason for all that immediate feedback, but also it’s why you can work longer with the wooden bodied planes and not feel like you need a rub down at the end of the day.
Don’t take my word for it though, if you have an opportunity try one out for yourself. I think you might agree the wooden bodied planes are a nice way to go.
If you’re not familiar with Scott’s planes, checkout his website at www.scottmeekwoodworks.com.
There you’ll see the complete line of planes he builds and sells to interested woodworkers, and you’ll also find some other great options for plane making including online classes taught by Scott himself.
If you don’t have the time to take a class, consider picking up his recent DVD “Make a Wooden Smoothing Plane”.
Did I ever tell you about the time Scott and I were in a car and he told me about this crazy idea he had for starting a wooden hand plane business? I knew I should’ve offered to purchase one of his first planes just to say I had an original before they became as cool as they are now!