NPD! New Plane Day

In the online guitarist community, people always post about a NGD! (new guitar day) or a NAD! (new amp day).  Today I took delivery of my new M.S. Bickford planes: a boxed rabbet, a #6 and a #10 hollow and round.  One of the advantages of taking a class with Matt is you get a chance to buy some of the new planes he brings to the class.  He brings them home, cleans up any fingerprints, resharpens them, and they are as good as new.  In my case, I also wanted a rabbet plane and decided to get the boxing just as insurance.  I believe his normal backlog is pretty long and likely to get longer once his book is released.

I also got to see Matt’s shop which made me wish I situated my shop someplace with natural light rather than in my basement.  Windows, skylights–even on one of the few rainy days this summer, it was awash in gorgeous light.  The first thing I did was to unwrap the planes (they had been prep’ed for shipping), then with a piece of poplar already in a sticking board, I tried my planes for the first time.  Ah the sweet sound of wood curling off a rabbet plane.  I’m sure the only sweeter sound would be hearing that from a plane you made yourself.  We talked about plane setup, just as a refresher–I got a little excited and tried using the hollow without a proper chamfer.  Matt showed me some planes with nice little marks on the sole from doing that.  Hmm, ok chamfer first, follow the steps or your new planes will look a bit raggedy-andy in a year or so.

We also BS’ed for a while about woodworking and work things, including that we both work out of our house (he making planes, me writing software code).  Despite only being about 5 miles as the crow flies from where my shop and office are, the roads are such that it took 20 minutes (and a few wrong turns) to get there.  I was kind of surprised when he told me how few people from the state (Connecticut) had bought planes from him, esp considering how many woodworkers there are around here.  I guess there are either enough vintage planes to satisfy demand or most people just use routers.

I already have a sticking board, so it will be time to sharpen up my side bead (if needed), prep some more poplar blanks, and start making some paint-ready picture frames.  Should be good practice.

Rabbet plane (all are beech):

#6 Hollow and Round

#10 Hollow and Round

And all five together.

Amazing what you can make with these five planes.  And you can see the care Matt takes to match the appearance of the billets.  I’m not sure I’ve ever bought anything with this kind of attention to detail, and it’s so great to be able to support a local plane builder.  He had the planes all wrapped up ready for shipping, and the rabbet was already set perfectly, which is a bit of a trick w/o knowing the proper amount the blade should project from the edge of the plane in order to not cut little stair steps.  It’s not much, but it also is not flush with the edge of the plane.

I already have an idea for a first ‘real’ project: moldings for a fancy, dandy DVD cabinet to blend into my living room and hide my DVDs.  Another idea is a real high-class amplifier cabinet or speaker enclosure, one that looks like it was designed by Chippendale or Sheraton after sitting in Leo Fender’s workshop.  Newport kneehole desks are awesome (and someday I’d like to build one), but I also need some furniture that looks nice and fulfills a need.  My ‘need’– a 2 x 12 speaker cabinet that closes up to look like a nice piece of furniture, matches the furniture in my living room, and yet still sounds great.

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11 Comments

  1. Hey Joe,

    Happy NPD! Nice pictures, too.

    I’m curious why you ordered #6s and #10s. Is that what Matt recommended? I know that Shannon Rogers recommends a pair of #6s and #8s.

    Chris

    Reply
  2. Hi Chris,
    Yes, that is what Matt brought to class, and those were the planes available to students to buy who took the class. The only one I ordered was the rabbet. I’ll likely get a #4 and 8 eventually (I already have a vintage #12) and possibly a #2, though I think I’d get a snipes bill before I got a #2 just because the snipes bill would be more useful for larger moldings, for example for starting rabbets on angled stock rather than on square stock.

    From what I understand, he will be using these two sizes (6 and 10) for many of the moldings in his upcoming book. But I’m sure if you already have a 6 and 8, you should be able to adapt many of the moldings to what you have.

    Joe

    Reply
    • Joe,

      I can tell by your reply that you are quite comfortable talking moulding planes! I’m really looking forwards to seeing Matt’s book.

      Chris

      Reply
  3. Amazing what a couple days in a class will do :) Matt does a great job of making us all pretty comfortable making moldings and talking about them. There still is a lot to learn!

    Reply
  4. Congrats Joe. I have several of Matt’s planes myself. (took advantage of the class deal myself) and they just get better with use. Honestly I think you can make a case for any pair of planes whether it be 6&8 or 6&10. I think the 6 is the utility player most of the time.

    Reply
  5. Hoss

     /  August 3, 2012

    Those are beautiful. Great blog by the way. I stumbled across it a few days ago. I am also looking forward to Matt’s book. I am planning to make my own planes. I have the Don Williams DVD and am currently making some floats. Lots of filing….You guys out on the east coast are very lucky to have such great “old school” resources so close. Seems out in California most woodworkers use power. But there are the few who enjoy older methods.

    Hoss

    Reply
  6. Thanks Shannon and Hoss.

    Hoss, we are pretty lucky here on the east coast with our access to quality vintage tools. I also have the Don Williams DVD and got some quarter-sawn beech, and hope to try my hand at making some (maybe with a few practice ones in maple or cherry) as well. I lived out in California for a long while (Mountain View, home of Google), so I know the pickings out there are slim for vintage tools. I go to local auctions pretty often, so if you have something you are looking for I can keep an eye out for you. Thanks for reading!

    Reply
  7. sonny

     /  August 25, 2012

    Hi Joe,
    you mentioned you wanted to build speaker cabinets. do you have any references on how to make them the right way. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • Hi Sonny, no I’ve actually found very few resources on them, but I figure I’ll get the speakers, build the box, and fit the speaker to a separate inset at the front.

      Reply
      • sonny

         /  September 3, 2012

        Thanks Joe. If I do find anything I’ll send you the info.

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