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The Kerfing Plane Part Three

March 6, 2014

In the last two video posts, The Kerfing Plane part one and part two,

the fixed fence model was made from a nice, heavy 4/4 piece of quarter sawn cherry.

I recommend using quarter-sawn stock when you make your planes too.

It’ll make for a more stable tool.

Again, if you don’t have any quarter sawn stock?

Don’t loose any sleep over it- use whatever hardwood you have on hand.

Adjustable Fence Model Kerfing Plane

If you’ve read my book, The Unplugged Woodshop,

you’ll know that I made some hand planes out of a piece of 8/4 walnut I had here in my shop.

Here we are, almost three years later, and those planes are doing fine with little to no signs of wear on the sole.

Would they last longer, or perform better, if I made them from a dense tropical hardwood?

Yeah, probably.

But the walnut will still last a few decades, and considering they only took me a few hours to make,

and involved using a very small amount of material I had on hand, that’s OK by me.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]You’ve got to keep things in perspective when it comes to material choices in the wood shop. [/inlinetweet] ( Tweet that )

We get lost in the over-building and perfect material arguments that sometimes we simply loose sight of the making.

Here’s a quick story I often tell my students-

When I bought my house in Cape Breton back in 2000, there was an old drawer left behind one of the sheds.

It was butt joined and nailed and looks like it was probably made from a local soft wood, maybe spruce or fir.

Now this drawer actually sat outside, behind one of the outbuildings, through our East Coast winters and summers;

it’s probably close to 100 years old and you know what?

I took it inside, cleaned it up and gave it a quick coat of paint, and it’s absolutely fine.

Butt joints and softwood- left outside in the elements for years and years.

It just goes to show that you don’t always need hardwoods and dovetails.

Yes, the hardwoods and dovetails may last for literally a few hundred years,

but that shouldn’t dictate me building something quickly today, out of whatever species I have on hand in my shop.

So to put an end to this little rant-

use what you have. ( but quarter sawn hardwood is probably best -; )

I used a little off-cut of mahogany I had in my boat shop out East for my fence.

The threaded screws were made from a cherry dowel, and the nuts were from some flat sawn cherry.

It all looks a little ‘Fred Flintstone‘  but it worked!

If you have any questions or comments about the kerfing plane and the adjustable fence conversion,

pick up a copy of my book-

if you still have some concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Until next time,

here’s the third and final part of the Kerfing Plane.


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