Evan and I spent yesterday afternoon at Mark’s shop, making shavings with a variety of Lie-Nielsen planes, a Veritas smoother, and a couple of vintage Baileys. We explored the difference between Lie-Nielsen’s A-2, Stanley’s O-1, and Lee Valley’s PMV-11 blades.
There are a lot of choices out there in the new tool market, some of them with a rather hefty price tag. One advantage is that most of today’s new tool come ready to work. This is not the everyday shop experience: the opportunity to use and compare bench tools, and workbenches, set up and sharpened properly.
Vintage tools are rarely plug-and-play. They often require more than cleaning before they can be put to work, and while they can be wonderful to use, some of us don’t have that much spare time.
I spent most of last week tuning up a selection of wooden planes to make a small box, a couple of jack planes, a small beechwood smoother, several rabbet planes and block planes. Mostly, to make the point that it can be done that way. A few old tools, carefully restored, will make the basis of a woodwork shop.
The bench is some thirty years old; that early nineteenth century French-wedged plow plane has been gathering dust for years, and now it’s all tuned up. Let’s put it to work.