Archive for June, 2013

Lost in the Supermarket

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I was in the local Orange Behemoth not long ago, and saw some woodworking magazine with the phrase ‘CNC magic’ on the cover. The picture was a geometric bowlish object – one of those things that looks like it was made with the 3D equivalent of a spirograph. I made an involuntary noise. ‘Bless you’ chimed the woman at the nearest register.

I don’t begrudge anyone their hobbies. And I know that there’s a lot of mental skill involved in programming one of those bowls into the machine. But for the life of me I can’t see how those skills have much to do with woodworking, anymore than I think playing ‘annoying birds’ is like learning physics. Maybe I’m kidding myself, but to my thinking CNC bowls are to woodworking as Big Macs are to beef. Technically speaking, they may be part of the same general category, but that doesn’t make the insinuation any less offensive to a ribeye.

Me? I’ve gotten very clear that I’m at my best when I spend my time and money on skills rather than on machines. It’s not the smart move. The smart move is to get an MBA and pay some ‘skilled laborer’ to make my stuff for me.

But personally I am pretty comfortable with having traded any possibility of a McLaren in for the chance to make things with my hands.

I try not to sob in public.

This week my hands made up a screen and ceiling shade for a client’s kitchen. This is the sound of speed.

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DT2 Index plane – for sale

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Last year when I introduced the DT planes, I had a tough time working out what to call them. Genetically, the planes are an outgrowth of the traditional british thumb plane, but there are pretty substantial differences compared to, say, a Norris 32.

Most significantly, the DT series wedge and front bun are designed for significantly different ergonomics than a traditional thumb plane – with the goal being a range of grips that are comfortable and allow very subtle control both one- and two- handed.

After my initial post about these planes, UK carpenter Greg Reid contacted me with a brilliant suggestion: why not call them ‘index’ planes? In well under a second I’d bought into the idea completely. It describes the critical control focus (the index finger rather than thumb), but also conveys a sense of precision that I think gets at the sort of picture I have of the planes.

So: index planes they are. Thanks Greg – easily the best suggestion I’ve ever received through my blog.

Around the same time, another client asked me if I could imagine a slight redesign of the DT-1 sidewalls that would have a more traditional ‘feel’ than the very modern lines on the original. I liked the idea, and loved the final plane. Here’s a shot of both versions of the DT-1 in ironwood to show the sidewall differences clearly. The DT-1 modern is in the foreground, and the DT-1 traditional in the rear.

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I honestly cannot decide which I prefer – so I’ll be making both styles. Which brings me to:

PLANE FOR SALE: DT-2 traditional profile.

This is the first plane I’ve made in the larger DT-2 size with this profile. The plane has a 1-1/2-inch blade, a sole length of 6-1/2″, and weighs about 2 lbs. 4 oz. African blackwood infills.

It’s a sick plane, if I do say so myself.

Price: $1700. I still need to build a mallet for the plane, so it will be available for shipping by the end of next week.

First ‘I’ll take it’ email gets it. raney@daedtoolworks.com

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