Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Blog

I have been a full time planemaker for 8 months now. I haven't been on the golf course for at least that.

During these past months I've been holed-up in my basement for weeks on end, only coming out for trips to tool shows, excursions to semi-local sawyers, running to meet the UPS delivery truck coming from Lie Nielsen, or checking the internet and other woodworking blogs.

At the tool shows I field a lot of questions that run the full range. I've talked about tool steel, wood selection, antiques, modern makers, and even lawn and driveway maintenance.

I try to put a plane in everybody's hand that looks at my table for a few seconds because my planes are always much different from everything else in the room. Many people have not used profiled planes. Most have not used them successfully.

Many woodworkers, whether they know what it is I make or not, are often curious as to how I make the planes I sell and how much of it is done by hand. After all, they're woodworkers at a hand tool event. The answer is about 4-6 hours a week are spent away from my bench, most at the grinder.

Those that have seen the video that switched me from a tool restorer to a tool maker (Making Traditional Side Escapement Planes with Larry Williams of Clark & Williams) always seem to ask the same question: Do you use gimlet bits like Larry does in the video?

My declaration to them and to you, my new blog reader, is this: There are woodworking blogs out there by those we consider the best machinists, the best sawmakers, planemakers, designers, the best writers, teachers and largest proponents of the craft. So let this be the blog of the best drill press operator when it comes to small drifting bits at steep angles.

Hint: you have to play your slice...

Big Pink displaying 0.125” drill bit with final mortise width of 0.14” drilled at 55, 60 and 65 degrees


P.S. In fairness, the next one ended up against the wall in the burn pile


  1. I have had much better luck in a variety of planemaking tasks with a simple cordless drill (sorry to the purists) and some feel than with setting up drill presses. Not all things, but things especially like drilling totes and drilling exactly what you've shown. Tried a very expensive drill press that someone had and a special long bit on plane totes for a while before I gave up on that. Wander is very real! it sucks!

    Gimlets work well, and they're out there. One has to keep eyes open when rummaging through antique shops or tool seller booths, but they're out there cheap from time to time. Nobody probably knows what to do with them.

    Glad to see the new blog.


  2. I have to say, this would be the first question I would ask of you as well. I've looked all over for gimlet bits and have had no luck. Thanks for this.


  3. I followed Larry Williams directions (kind of), and the gimlet bit works surprisingly well.