Thursday, August 22, 2013

Plane Intimacy

 Perfect Board--Part 1

Last Saturday, Jim Budlong introduced the Perfect Board exercise.  This is a slow, tortuous process that begins with taking a piece of wood, ripping it with a bandsaw, and then using only the handplanes we just made, we must flatten and square the edges for a perfect fit.  Initially this didn't sound so difficult but after a couple of hours of planing, well mostly tuning up our planes, most of us were beginning to realize just how challenging this exercise really was.

At the end of the day, 8 hours later, only a handful of students were successful.  Gloom hung over my world as I left for the evening.  To brighten it up, I headed over to Piaci's, Fort Bragg's best communal spot to get a great pizza, where if you show up alone, it's guaranteed someone will talk to you....even when all you want to do is drown yourself in your sorrows.  Yes, the man next to me wanted to talk.  What about?  The woodworking program.  He seemed like such a nice I didn't tell him about the perfect board workout.

Monday.  It was Laura Mays' turn to put up with my fussiness regarding my board.  I was hoping the "new" teacher on the block would be easier than Jim.  Not a chance.  It took me another 4 hours before I finally got her approval.

And this was only the first step to making a perfect board......


  1. During a Chris Schwarz class, we had a 'perfect board' contest (it was using the planes we'd brought, though, not planes we'd made).

    It was, as you said, harder than I thought it would be. But I learned a lot about my planes in the process.

    I had some aspirations of making a small memento box out of the board with smiley faces on each face, indicating they'd passed his inspection. But I still just have a board with smiley faces on it. Maybe it's better that way...

  2. I'm still working on the faces of my board and would give anything to have one of those smiley faces. But, you're right, I'm learning more than I ever thought I would about my planes.