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.