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February Update

Hey folks-

well here we are, already well into February and these past two weeks have left me little time in the wood shop other than teaching wood working classes.

Between snow storms, family activities and other commitments, I really haven’t had much time to get into the shop.  This past Saturday, my student brought along his Lie Nielsen No. 8, jointing plane. This is the first time I’ve  used this model and I was completely blown away by it. The sheer weight and mass of the tool ( 10 lbs) is pretty incredible and flattening a piece of cherry, about 5-in. wide and 24-in. long took only a minute or two. I often wondered over the years if the $475. dollar price tag would be worth investing in such a tool and after using it on the weekend, it made me think again. Pretty impressive indeed.

8_lgI’m curious if the extra weight would tire me out on a daily use but with the over-sized width of the iron, 2 5/8-in. wide, combined with the length ( 24-in. long)  really made quick work of the hardwood. Once you get this thing moving, it’s like a freight train plowing its way through the stock. If you have the budget, and are looking for a massive hand plane then you certainly wouldn’t be disappointed with the No. 8. by Lie Nielsen.

I have a class today but wanted to post a quick note saying I’m still here and working on some video edits for the toolchest build which should wrap up by Sunday or early next week.

If you’re interested in booking a session here in the wood shop, I’m currently booked until mid-March for weekdays with all of my Saturdays full until the second week of April. Seems like a wave of students these days are eager to get into hand tools and I couldn’t be happier about that!

In some other, non-wood working news, my old manager was apparently clearing out a storage space and came across a few boxes of my Human by Trade CD. I recorded this one in 1998 and am putting them up for sale if anyone is interested.

The CD is priced at $15. which includes world wide shipping. human-by-trade-cover

I know most of us these days listen to our music in digital format but after discovering this new-old stock I thought I’d offer them here. We thought these were completely sold out many years ago and it’s a nice surprise to find some hard copies available. Needless to say, this CD won’t be manufactured again and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Tom Fidgen- Human by Trade CD 1998




  1. Posted by Steve Jensen on Feb 12th, 2013

    any chance we will see your new book in the near future? Your recent post on the Lie Nielsen No. 8 made me think about my own internal debate on which jack plane to purchase, the 5 or 5 1/2. For someone who can only afford to buy one of these guys, would you recommend the 5 1/2 with the extra weight and wider blade? Thanks

  2. Posted by tom on Feb 12th, 2013

    Hey Steve,
    thanks for the comments. My new book is scheduled for a September release through The Taunton Press. I’m hoping to see the final artwork and lay-out either this week or next and am excited to get it out there!
    As for the Jack plane, I purchased the 5 1/2 for the extra width/ mass and never looked back. It’s an excellent tool and I’d highly recommend it.
    Last summer while in Cape Breton, one of my best friends said he was interested to start wood working with hand tools so I loaned it to him for the year. That and my LN No. 4 in bronze. I figured he might as well start at the top when it comes to hand planes and I’m sure he’s putting them to good use.
    I’ve been using my Veritas bevel-up Jack these days and also find it a wonderful tool. Whenever you purchase quality made hand tools from the likes of Lie Nielsen, Lee Valley etc.. you can expect top notch quality and performance and I can say I’ve never been disappointed with the results.

  3. Posted by Patrick on Feb 13th, 2013

    Hi Tom,
    I recently received a No. 8 and too appreciate the heft, inertia and wider path it carries.
    For a few of years now I have been using a system of 4 1/2, 5 1/2, and #7 from LN. The beauty is that the blades are interchangeable as they are all the same width- 2 3/8 inches. So having an extra sharp blade is a good friend to have on deck. Can also keep a straight and a cambered blade that can be swapped out.

  4. Posted by tom on Feb 14th, 2013

    Thanks for the comments Patrick. It is handy to share the irons with that series of planes. I do the same thing with my bevel-up Veritas line.
    all the best

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