Some years ago…a friend of mine took up long-distance running. After training for a summer, he and a group of fellow runners entered the Dublin Marathon. During most of that time we had been building a timber frame, sharing my tools. I had given him some framing chisels, he had searched Dublin’s pubs and antiques shops and pubs to bring me back a proper Irish workman’s plane (back row, third from left). Just a common beechwood carpenters smoother with a fingerprint sized blob of green paint on one side. In the way that all babies look alike until you have one of your own, all wooden planes look pretty much alike.
A month or so later, Christmas, and my friend showed up on Boxing Day with a smaller wooden plane (really lovely, York pitch, Marples iron, a furniture maker’s Precious) which he asked if he could leave at my house for a while. Something about an issue with his girlfriend…
A Handplane’s Tale
…we opened presents at Katie’s parents’ house on Christmas eve, there was this one present that I opened, then put aside without remarking. Katie had given me a Lie-Nielsen #102 with engraved initials, a really nice little plane. I had shown so little interest in the present set aside, she slipped back in to check out the wrappings after everybody had moved on.
“Who’s Kelli?” Oh, just one of the other runners I hung out with in Dublin (innocent, ambiguous, gender-neutral) “Then why does Kelli sign her name in green glitter ink with a little heart over the i?” So, I thought the plane might be safer here until she cools off a bit.