Tool Gloats


Here you see the Bedrock and the Universal plane again with a box or two of its cutters. They give an idea of relative size. The two small planes that look like mirror images of each other are a #98 and #99, side rabbet planes. They're very handy little guys and saved my bacon on a couple of projects. Side rabbet planes do what no other tool can do. They can trim and fit the sides of dados, grooves, and, er, well... rabbets. (maybe that's why they call them that.) There are two of these so you can approach a cut from both ends and avoid pushing out a hunk of end grain at the edges. They can also undercut a dado to make a sliding dovetail. I'm gonna have to try that some day.

The tool on top of the canvas and in front of the big honking iron holdfast is my Craftsman #45. The #45 is the precursor to the #55 and does many of the same things, save the complex moldings. This one was offered by Sears and Sears tools don't get lot of respect in the oldtool world. Sargent (a competitor to Stanley) made this one so at least it works. This one holds a special place in my heart because it is largely responsible for my interest in hand tool use. It was given to my grandfather during WWII from his staff at the PX he ran in New Jersey. He didn't have much luck with it. My dad had it next with similar results. And when I got I had great plans for all the stuff it was gonna help me make. I couldn't even figure out how to get the cutters in. Then I went out and bought an electric router. I figured the #45 out, eventually, and the router collects dust while the Craftsman sings with all the beads and grooves I make it do. The #55 COULD replace it, it does all the same stuff and more. It never will. Too much heritage. It is a connection to the past where I actually know the galoots that used it. Or tried to use it, at least.