Fair Woodworking

May 18, 2014

1st Annual Day of the Jack Plane!

If you don’t know already. It’s been decreed, and I for one am all for it!

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Now I know what many of you are thinking, I am just one of many mindless Schwarz’onian zombies, blindly following his every word.

I assure you I am not, and what better day to set the record straight than on Jack plane day?!

Way back in my early hand tool days, my original hand tool mentors on Hand Tool forums told me that scrub planes were the ultimate roughing tool, and I accepted this as gospel. Meanwhile, some scrawny journalist, that was actually building stuff with his tools, kept saying that scrub planes were more of a carpentry tool, and woodworkers were better off with the use of a Jack Plane. “What a dork”, I thought, because everybody knows that scrub planes are better.

Well a couple of years ago, on a whim, I finally bought a #5 jack plane. It sat on a shelf for months until one day I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I put one of my cambered blades into it, and tried it out as a roughing tool.


I own a scrub plane. I can’t remember the last time I used it, and EVERY project I build gets dimensioned with hand planes. Chris was right, but was he really? He read somewhere that the jack plane was the better tool for the aplication. He tried it, and agreed with what he read. That doesn’t make him right, it makes him educated on a practical level.

So then he discovers the Moxton Vice, and I hated using that thing. He promotes the use of tool chests, and I said ya right I like my shelf. He is hard core on using sharpening jigs, and that drives me nuts! I personally think that until you are at the very least confident with sharpening by hand you need to avoid jigs. Why? Because god forbid your blessed jig gets damaged or lost and you are unable to sharpen anything until the UPS delivery guy knocks on your door with your replacement. The ability to sharpen tools is more important to hand tool woodworking than your ability to put on pants. Sorry Chris, I still think you are a little off on this one. Anyways, It’s funny how quick I am to disagree, with his “new” ideas, and also how often in practice they prove to simply be, time tested historically accurate gems of truth.


Now he is telling us to “tooth” our bench tops!

What is this guy on?!!!

I have to admit, although it sounds nuts, I’d really love to give it a try some day. I have a sneaking suspicion I will like it, but I’ll stick with “it sounds crazy” until I do, because I have no hands on experience with toothed bench tops.

Bottom line is, don’t blindly preach what anyone else says. Gather as much information as you want, but test it before you preach it.

I think you will be surprised at how few big name woodworkers you will quote after the testing is done, and that is why I preach so much Schwarz’onian drivel.


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