Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Long Day in the Shop

My wife and kids have been skiing at Mad River Glen with her entire family. I opted for bowl games on the radio.

17 irons ground
1 more knee carved (on the right) and the other two completed.
14 Hours...Mercy!


  1. I wish I could do that: the 14 hours, I mean. I also wish I could carve like you do. Maybe some day. Can't wait to see your finished project.

  2. WOW nice carvings indeed! You are very talented. Did you ever take a course?

    I miss new england the best sking bumper sticker out there "Ski mad river glen - if you can!"

    Is one of those irons for my plane? :)

    Chris K.

  3. A little off course here. :-0 Matt do you recommend loosening the wedge on your planes when they are not in use? I have heard pro's and con's both ways. I am sure you have a opinion as how you would want your planes treated. Thanks in advance for your time. John

  4. Jeff,
    This is the 4th project I've carved. There are a few very minor 'evening' things I've done in between. (Like when I tried to get an interview at Stanley Toolworks for an advertised job in their 'new' venture and couldn't get one. So I hand delivered a hand carved Stanley sign with my resume. I never got a phone call. I imagine I've been in front of as many people as they have since, if not more. But I digress...)

    I imagine many pros think it's a little self indulgent to attack something like this. It is, but I like it. If you're interested in carving get 4 gouges and do it. Try something harder every time.

    Plus, after you learn to sharpen a gouge you'll know how to sharpen a profiled plane.


  5. Chris,

    Mad River is a pretty intense mountain. My dad brought me a few times when I was in my early teens. A 'blue' slope there is as hard as any black diamond on the east coast. The double blacks at Mad River have no equal out here (there are full grown trees on the back of every fifth mogul). I've never been out west.

    My wife's family has a place right on the mountain. It's a full house on New Years.

    Your iron will probably be in the next batch.


  6. John,
    I leave the irons set because I use them every day.

    I probably shouldn't. I'll recommend backing the iron out. Due to the lean of the wedge, it retracts the iron into the plane on the sole and the sides. This protects the iron's edge and the blind side of the plane next to it.

    If there are seasons that you don't use them definitely back them out.

    The only pro I can think of is being able to grab one off the shelf and use it without taking 30 seconds to set it. It will also prevent the iron from falling out when you pick it up or slide it away.


  7. I was wondering how you profiled the irons? by jig? eye? Are you doing all the shaping with a power grinder? I am sending my friend the video link where you made a long moulding.. When we saw you at the show, his comment was that it was neat but you would never be able to compete with a router..

  8. Depending upon the goal about which we're talking, a router can't compete with me (or you). I bet I completed that astragal and reverse ogee 3 days quicker than he could, unless he paid for overnight delivery.

    Everything is done by hand. I get it very close on a grinder and put the final edge on with stones.

    Thanks for reading and for sending the link to your friend.


  9. I have admired your planes on the website. I have Larry Williams DVD on making side escapement planes and am planning to give it a go. Do you make your own irons? Do you have any advise on how to taper 1/8" O1 steel.

  10. Gary,

    I purchase my iron blanks from Lie Nielsen.

    Good Luck, I still use my original planes.