Identifying mystery planes: Bespoke plane-maker?

In a the comments section recently, a reader (Jim K) asked me to help identify a plane. It is a bullnose plane, from the U.K. with the initials “LLN” on its side. I managed to find a similar plane online, a shoulder rebate plane with the same LLN marking. Given my literature, it was seemingly impossible to find any information relating to these planes. Online it was similarly challenging (although online always is).

It seems like a plane that could have commonly existed, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of sales out there in the inter-web. Were theses planes constructed in some small town industry, or was it a bespoke planemaker? There are inherent similarities between the shoulder plane and the Record shoulder rebate plane No.041. The design shares the same curves and structure, so I imagine this plane might have been modelled after it?

The mystery LLN bullnose plane
The shoulder rebate plane

The planes were both sold on eBay and described as being made of bronze. This might be because hand-machining bronze might be easier than other ferrous metals? On first inspection it doesn’t have the same colour as brasses commonly used in modern planes, but given there are many differing type of brass, with differing percentages of copper and zinc, it is hard to determine the exact type (short of some type of testing, see Refs.). The bullnose plane has a blade made by Edward Preston & Sons, but blades don’t tell the full story, as they are easily substituted.

Were these hand-made once-offs? There may be some tell-tale signs. Here are some of my thoughts (using some close-up pictures provided by Jim K.):

  • The planes have a large percentage of their sides dedicated to decorative depressions. Traditionally, larger manufacturers added these depressions sparingly (probably due to their expense). Edward Preston produced a lot of planes with very decorative sides.
  • On many rebate planes, the depressions are textured, but in these planes they are not. The depressions have a coarse look to them, implying that they were cast, or roughly machined in some manner.
Image showing the depression regions of the sides of the bullnose plane (JimK)
  • Sometimes the depressions are made in the process of “sculpting” a relief to form a logo, or other letters. Some manufacturers, when adding markings such as ‘MADE IN ENGLAND” form them in such as manner that the top of the letters are cut slightly lower than the side of the plane. The LLN markings are not.
  • These planes are generally cast, then machined. There seem to be milling marks on some edges of the plane (e.g. top), which is not unrealistic given the nature of bronze, The image below shows this in addition to the rough casting internally. The lines of the curves of the plane body, don’t seem precise, there are places where they seem a bit jagged.
Rough milling marks (JimK)
  • There are a lot of parts on the lever cap that seem roughly finished after casting.
Rough finishing (JimK)
  • The LLN mark is different on both planes, leading one to believe the maker was experimenting. Most manufacturers don’t use such large markings on the side of the plane.
  • On the shoulder plane, the knurling on the blade depth adjustment mechanism differs from that on the lever cap (an inconsistency which a manufacturer wouldn’t allow).
Textured detail on a Preston rebate plane

It is therefore quite conceivable that both these planes were bespoke planes made by a planemaker in a local area, not unlike modern planemakers. Popular Mechanics ran articles on casting with bronze throughout the years, so it would have been somewhat easy to do in a good home workshop. Here is an article from Sauer&Steiner who talks about five unfinished bullnose plane castings he bought from England.

NB: It is possible some parts on these planes were cannibalized from other broken planes, and the bodies built around them. If anyone else has ever seen this make, please let me know.

R.E. Edwards, “Casting Bronzes in the Home Workshop”, Popular Mechanics, May 1932, pp.867-869
“Simple Methods Identify Metal of Broken Castings”, Popular Mechanics, Sept. 1940, pp.477-479

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The twelve tools of Christmas, 2020

2020 hasn’t exactly turned out to be a great year. Getting stuck at home for this amount of time is a bummer… but it is somewhat good for getting small projects done (or at least that’s the theory). With the supply-chain being what it is this year, best to get in early.

  1. The Anarchist’s Workbench by Christopher Schwarz. (Lee Valley, C$34.50), but it is a free PDF download. If you like historical books, this is the last in the Anarchist series, and looks at the history of workbenches.
  2. This was on my list last year, but makes it again… a Japanese tool, more specifically a plane (kanna). I have bought two planes from Tokyocraft on Etsy. They always have great second-hand Japanese tools, and reasonably priced.
  3. An axe from Toronto Blacksmith. I haven’t bought one yet, but they seem well designed, nicely made, and local.
  4. Ever wanted a Stanley No.1? Likely too costly, but now there is an option from Lee Valley, the Veritas Bevel-Up #1 Plane. A different take on the No.1 with a bevel-up blade. (C$249)
  5. Need a tiny pocket plane. something that would fit in an. apron pocket? Try the Veritas Pocket Plane. This thing is tiny and so well made. Veritas is a true innovator when it comes to planes. (C$119)
  6. Japanese saws are easy to use, and quick. What about a Convex Crosscut Kabata, designed to use the natural arc of your arm as you saw. (C$39.50)
  7. Not really a tool per se, except for drinking coffee in the workshop, but the Kupilka seems like a cool idea. Made of wood fibre and thermoplastic they are made in Finland. (210ml, Canadian Outdoor Equipment C$28.75)
  8. A carving tool from Chipping Away perhaps? This Canadian store is a one-stop shop for carving tools… from beginner to experienced carver, there is something for everyone, including some neat bird carving kits.
  9. Combination blue (4000 grit) and yellow (6000-8000 grit) coticule sharpening stones from Belgian. Various sizes and slurry stones, from Fendrihan.
  10. Sharpening stones need flattening? Diamond lapping plates, 300 and 800 grit (C$65 and $80 at Knife).
  11. It may seem odd to use a broom, versus a vacuum, but there is something inherently satisfying about using a hand-made broom to clean up wood shavings. I have a couple from the Granville Island Broom Co. Less noisy too. Or perhaps a Swedish dust brush or Japanese Bunnuku dust pan?
  12. Sometime in the workshop a folding rule is a convenient way to measure things 1-2m in length… way better than a tape measure. Big Bear Tools has Hultafors brand in 1 & 2m lengths, in wood, aluminum or fibreglass, metric/imperial. For a great overview of these oft-forgotten measuring tools, check of the Hultafors website.
A 210ml Finnish Kupilka

There are also a myriad of custom hand tool makers out there. Maybe a beautiful handcrafted custom hammer from British company Kinetic Customs, or a replica Medieval tools from Daegrad Tools in Sheffield (England).

Things you should know about owning an old house

Houses were built somewhat differently in the past. In fact even those that were built as “workers cottages”, i.e. built quickly or cheaply are better built than some houses today. Lumber used in construction is often old growth, and closer to the true dimensions of 2×4. That being said, here are some things I have learned over the years of owning an old semi-detached house. This is a follow on from a past post, Buying an old house? Make sure you know something about its life.

  • Power-washing – Power washing is good for a lot of things, but not old bricks, or art least not at high pressure. Low pressure, maybe with come sort of detergent might work. Old bricks were likely not of made too the same standards as today, and high pressure power-washing will pit the surface of the brick, making it even more porous. I’ll live with the patina rather than make the brick look new. The pictures below show the pitted, power-washed brick (left), versus the old brick with its inherent patina (right). (My neighbour had the power washing done on the central shared column of the semi, which I stopped as soon as I realized what they were doing).

  • Lathe-and-plaster – There is nothing inherently wrong with lathe and plaster, and walls where it is sound can be left alone.
  • Trim and doors – Trim and doors were often varnished as new, and painted numerous times over the years (likely at some point with lead-based paint). Stripping 50+ years of paint is *not* trivial, and unfortunately may not be worth it (I have tried). Even the best “green” chemicals will have a hard time. Either repaint over them, or actually replace the trim/doors. On another note, trim is often made with wood that dries an incredible amount, making it very brittle to remove (i.e. it basically splinters). I replaced all the trim in my house with similar historic-era profiles made of poplar (from Central Fairbanks Lumber, Toronto).
  • Open concept – Lots of people think this is a great idea, then proceed to delineate “rooms” with furniture. While it may seem like a good idea in a small house, rooms do have a function. Smells from the kitchen permeate through open spaces much quicker (unless you have a good exhaust fan, something people rarely think of). While a lot of houses like semi-detached do not have load-bearing walls, you have to think a little about the fact that walls do serve a purpose.
  • Basement lowering – Our basement is 6 feet tall, which is enough for us. Many people who buy semi’s end up lowering the basement, to get 7-8 feet of headroom. These old basements were never designed to be lived in, and there are issues with lowering them. Foremost, if you lower the basement, likely the sewer line will also have to be lowered, which may require some sort of engineering to make it work. Walls will need to be underpinned as well.
  • Back-flow valves – Three words… “get one installed”. Many semi-detached houses share the sewer line somewhere in the front of the house. If you have trees, you will have roots, and all the fun that comes with them. Installing a back flow valve prevents stuff back flowing into the basement if there is a blockage (it’s happened to us twice because of tree roots, and the valve worked perfectly). Maintain the back-flow valve.
  • Sewer lines – If your house has clay pipes, and it might, get them inspected, and if needed replaced. Often the place where the pipes attach to the cast iron stack is a problem after 75+ years, although the stack itself might be okay. If you don’t have a 4″ PVC clean-out access point in front of the house, you likely have some level of clay/cast-iron pipe.
  • Insulation – Outside walls in old houses are rarely insulated, especially upstairs. If you want to improve the insulation on an old house, fix the exterior walls, and insulate the attic. Roofs were often built without ventilation, because heating was much reduced than it is today. I tried all manner of ventilation, but found the best approach is to use close-cell spray foam under the roof joints to make the attic a semi-conditioned space. This actually helps lengthen the lifespan of a roof, as the attic does not become an oven in summer, and a freezer in winter. In winter, the coldest it gets is 10°C. Make proper choices, and have insulation work done by a reputable company.
  • Roofs – Semi-detached houses often have a mix of peaked roof (front), and flat roof (back). Good, modern flat roofs generally last a good amount of time because of the multiple layers involved. Asphalt shingles just don’t and they are so environmentally unfriendly it isn’t funny (and 30-year roofs do *not* last half that time). Spend the money once, and put in a 50-year metal roof.

Removing rust – Vinegar and saw blades

Last year I picked up a Sandvik saw from the front yard of one of my neighbours. I was just going to harvest the bolts from the handle. When I looked at it the other day I realized it was quite a good saw. It’s missing a bolt, but it has the cool scrolling serpents on the handle. Likely it was once a Sandvik No.277, 26″ (12 PPI/11 TPI) saw. But the markings on the saw are all but gone, largely because they are not etched, but screened on. There is nothing really remarkable about these saws, largely because there are so many of them out there – but the Swedish steel is good.

Here’s what the marking should look like on my saw.

Now the saw blade had a good amount of rust on it, and the conundrum with saw blades is how to remove the rust? Rust on a blade can make for a very dirty cut, and a saw that tends to stick in the kerf. Not good. It doesn’t matter the quality of the steel if the tool doesn’t actually work. Now a traditional route for removing saw blade rust is various grits of wet-and-dry sandpaper (silicon carbide), and some form of oil-based lubricant. Not exactly green though, and I don’t use stuff like WD40 unless I have to. Evapo-Rust is good, but frankly it isn’t exactly cheap, and things like saw blades need a fair amount of coverage. What is the cheapest, easiest way of doing this? Vinegar.

The saw blade showing the rust (part of it was removed already because I tried using a bag to hold the vinegar and saw)

Part of the problem with saw blades is inherently their awkward shape. The best option would be a long (plastic) tray to lay the blade in, like a boot tray perhaps? An alternative is a plastic bubble-mailer cut open and turned into a trough. Remove the handle, place in a tray, add vinegar, and leave the blade to soak for 6-8 hours. The vinegar does its job, stripping the rust, and leaving a smooth gray surface. I found that generally the rust and any other contaminants on the blade end up as coagulated sediment in the liquid. After taking the blade out of the vinegar, you can neutralize it with some baking soda.

Bubbles forming on the surface shows the rust removal is in progress.

The downside? It stripped away what remained of the markings. But there are limitations to every treatment. It also leaves a layer of black (Ferric) acetate on the blade, which is quite messy to remove, but a scrub with a scouring pad under water will wash away most of it (I would wear gloves, because the acetate is kind of messy). I have also use Barkeepers Friend to scrub the acetate off (careful to scrub it off quickly, as it too is acidic). The blade can then be finished with some 400 grit silicon carbide paper to provide some sheen, and then waxed to prevent further corrosion (I use Veritas Tool Wax). There is little point to shining saw blades to a pristine condition, as old saw blades will likely never achieve this, and frankly who cares, if they are to be used.

The end of the process, showing the rust debris lifting from the blade, and the black acetate colour of the blade.

Vinegar is cheap, biodegradable, and easy to use. It’s not instantaneous, but it does work. The vinegar I use is plain old grocery store vinegar at 5% acidity. You can also use cleaning vinegar, which is circa 12% acidity, but I don’t know if it works quicker or more aggressively. Some info on the web adds salt to the mix – salt (NaCl) + vinegar (acetic acid) produces HCl, which is a stronger acid, but frankly it isn’t warranted, and isn’t exactly safe.

The blade after cleaning, and waxing.

If you want to check out what happens to a bunch of tools left in a bucket of vinegar for 19 months, check out this post Vinegar rust removal, 19 months later.

Don’t mess with historic aesthetics

I live in a semi-detached house in Toronto that was built in 1926, so it is now 94 years old. We have lived in this house for nearly 20 of those years, but by no means could the house be considered “historic”. At least not in the same sense as historic houses in Europe. When I was a small child my grandmother lived in a house in Gstaad, Switzerland that was 300-400 years old. But still, there is a sense of “oldness” about these houses, built at a time shortly after the First World War, as “working-man’s” houses – like so many strewn across the city. There is a sense of historical context with these houses – old houses in Toronto are one of the few things that have endured. So many of the old historic, and architecturally significant buildings have disappeared over the years, replaced with “modernity”, and all the fleetingness it entails.

So when one renovates these old houses, it should be done with a sense of reverence for its past. Not necessarily for the design of the inside, because interior design invariably changes. Few would want a fully restored 1930s kitchen or bathroom I would imagine, nor a coal fired furnace. But there has to be some respect for the aesthetic appeal of the outside of the building. Too many people of course disregard this. They add extensions where they should not be, or drastically change the look of the building – things that change the character of the house, and invariably the neighbourhood. Walling in porches leads to a reduced interaction with neighbours, and on a semi-detached a sense of asymmetry. Poorly thought out extensions robs neighbours of winter sunlight.

A 1920s era “working class” stained glass window

I’m not talking materials of course – modern building materials are often great. Who wouldn’t replace asphalt tiles with more sustainable metal (wooden shingles are not anything like they were in the 1920s). Siding? Sure as long as its tasteful. Sometimes it is the small details that harken back to the historic aesthetic the house was designed with. Wooden porch railings, stained glass windows, detailed trim – modernized, but with an m, not an M. It has to do with architectural integrity. There is nothing wrong with modern houses, but they must be well designed, and in the right environment. There are also some design aspects of houses like semi-detached that have to be retained. Many people have moved towards complete open concept on the main floor, but done poorly (i.e. without the use of proper sound absorbing materials, or furnishings) this effectively turns the entire floor into an amplification chamber. Rooms are separated for a reason, unless designed as open concept. Semi-detached houses were never designed as such.

The window after stripping paint, replacing trim, painting, and adding an aluminum apron on the brick sill.

Here is a case in point. All the windows in my house are updated, except two – the two stained glass windows which sit either side of the fireplace. The frames are wooden, and the glass, well it’s just stained glass, R-value basically zero. But to enclose them in a vinyl window, or remove them would be to strip the house of part of its historic aesthetic. Instead, I decided to restore them, by stripping off the old paint, replacing rotted trim, caulking them, and adding an aluminum apron on the brick sill (old bricks can be porous, and this prevents issues of water pooling. In winter they are covered with a 2″ foam insulation cover, and in summer I will add a storm window over them. All it takes is a bit of effort to keep these things in good condition.

Pictures of English joiners workshops

Paintings are a good way of depicting life before the advent of photography, although historical artwork often takes some latitudes when it comes to real image content. There are a couple of examples of English woodworking shops from the early 19th century which are of interest.

The first, is a classic painting (oil on canvas) from 1816, is often used to illustrate an English joiners shop in the early 1800s. The painting is by George Forster, and is titled “English Joiners at work“. It depicts a joiners shop, in which objects like picture frames, and doors are being constructed. The bench is what we now call the Nicholson bench, described in Peter Nicholson’s book, Mechanical Exercises published in 1812. There are a lot of versions of this painting (mostly on pinterest), but very little historical information. What is interesting is that a search finds two artists of that name, both born in Germany, but living in periods outside when the painting was made: Georg Forster (1817-1896) later immigrated to America, and Georg Forster (1754-1794). Who was George Forster?

English Joiners (1816)

The bench is what we now call the Nicholson bench, described in Peter Nicholson’s book, Mechanical Exercises published in 1812. The painting contains a number of classic British woodworking tools – handsaws, wooden planes, and even a bowsaw.

The second painting is “Interior of the Carpenter’s Shop at Forty Hill, Enfield“, painted by John Hill (1780–1841), and exhibited in 1813. The workshop is likely that of John Hill himself, or that of his father, who were both carpenters. It seems as though the workshop has a nice vista, but the “window” in the background is actually a painting, likely for which a frame is being built.

Interior of the Carpenter’s Shop at Forty Hill, Enfield (before 1813)

P.S. Paintings like this are a good example of how hard it is to find information on the internet about the provenance of things, or why they were created.

Book review: Leonard Bailey and his Woodworking Planes

This is review of a book, Leonard Bailey and his Woodworking Planes: An Unrecognized Genius of the American Industrial Revolution, by Paul Van Pernis, and John G. Wells (2019).

I bought this book on a whim. It looked intriguing, and so it ended up in my Amazon cart. I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a wealth of information on a topic that seems to have been somewhat ignored. Leonard Bailey was truly an unrecognized genius. Although his name is plastered on many a Stanley plane, his patents, and the technology which they represent were pivotal to the evolution of tools, especially metal planes.

The book portrays Bailey’s life through the timeline of his successes and failures. From the beginnings of his inventing in 1852 in Winchester MA, to his years at Stanley Rule & Level Company (1869-1874), and ending in 1884 when he sold his Victor Tool business to Stanley (although he did not stop inventing). It seems to be a work of passion for its authors. Van Pernis is an expert on Bailey, and a tool collector, and Wells had the most comprehensive collection of Patented American Metallic Planes in the US. This means that the book contains a wealth of information about Bailey’s inventions and patents, and photographs of planes which you may not find anywhere else. Below are a couple of sample pages.

The book is part technical, part story. One can skim over the more technical details related to patents and the like, and get a sense of Bailey’s life, the decisions he made, and his struggles with Stanley. Bailey was foremost an inventor, and although he tried to turn his tools into companies many times, he was never really successful. Bailey was a pivotal identity during the American industrial revolution, and some of his core designs are still in use today. It also provides an exceptional insight into some of the details of his tools, like the Victor line of planes. This is one of the few books which provides any sort of insight into Leonard Bailey, showing that he was more than just someone who worked for Stanley.

My only gripe with the book? For US$37 (C$60), I think it likely could have been printed on nicer paper.

Picture of a German workshop circa 1900

This depiction of a German workshop, “Tischler” (joiner), is from a series known as “Meinholds HandwerkerBild für Anschauungsunterricht und Heimatskunde”. This is No.2 of a series of 12 lithographs depicting various trades, for use in school lessons. It was printed by C.C. Meinhold & Söhne of Dresden, Germany around the turn of the 20th century. The artist was Felix Elssner (1866-1945), and published with the assistance of Mr. Geh. Schulrat Grüllich, and Prof. Thieme.

No.2 Tischler (scanned from postcard)

The pictures, 65×91cm in size, were produced in varied forms for the classroom, including on cardboard, and on canvas with sticks (to hang on the wall). There was also a “Werkzeugtafeln“, which accompanied the trade pictures, which depicted the “tools of the trade”.

The series is most often found in German and Swiss antiquarian sellers, both as a print, or also printed on postcards. The picture is often used to illustrate a classic woodworking shop, as in Scott Landis’s book, “The Workbench Book“. The twelve trades people in the series are: 1. Schmiede (blacksmith); 2. Tischler/Schreiner (carpenter); 3. Schuhmacher (shoemaker); 4. Schneider (tailor); 5. Bäcker (baker); 6. Töpfer (potter); 7. Klempner (plumber); 8. Böttcher (cooper); 9. Maurer (bricklayer); 10. Weber (weaver); 11. Flussfischer (fisherman); and 12. Sattler (saddler).

There are some notable aspects of the picture. The saws used by the joiners are all frame saws, British style saws were not common in Europe. The wide bladed saws are actually quite adept at re-sawing. The planes are traditional German-style planes with the smaller smoothing type planes having the “horn” handle in the front. Even during this period, as the British and North American joiners transitioned to using more metal planes, German woodworkers still used wooden planes (and still do). All the clamps are wooden, which seems odd considering the modern propensity to use metal clamps. The workbenches themselves are of the classic German design, with most tools stored below the bench.

Some of this information came from “Schulwart-Katalog : Ein Lehr- und Lernmittel Verzeichnis“, which is basically a catalog of school supplies from 1914 (and the range of things available is pretty amazing). NB: This picture is sometimes attributed as a Swedish workshop, but this is not the case.

My thoughts on Ipe

Ipe, or rather Ipê, is a tropical hardwood also known as Brazilian walnut. My first foray into using Ipe was when I decided to replace the cedar deck (it was recycled into fences etc). I bought some around 2005, and I guess, at a time it was not that common. I installed the 1″ by 6″ (nominal) sized boards. I drilled and countersunk the holes, and secured it with stainless steel screws. It was a thing of wonder – hard, strong, and intrinsically beautiful. I installed it on my (covered) porch as well, and included railings and the like there. I thought it would be relatively maintenance free… well, that’s what I thought.

My Ipe deck wall (freshly coated in Penofin)

For a few years it was fine. I think I put some sort of coating on the deck, but to be honest I can’t remember it too clearly, likely Cabot’s Timber Oil (due to the lack of other products at the time). After a while, maintaining the “look” became an issue, and it didn’t really hold up the the winters, so I replaced it with aluminum. Here are my thoughts on Ipe.

  • If you live anywhere with a good amount of rain, and/or snow (i.e. anywhere that isn’t the dry south-western climate), Ipe and similarly exotic woods are not maintenance free. Ice strips all finishes off. The deck greyed very quickly, the porch still looks great with maintenance coats every few years. So covered Ipe will maintain its finish nicely.
  • Working with Ipe will eat the edges on your tools, due in part to its density. Choose good quality (carbide-tipped) bits for drilling, and blades for cutting. Ipe and its brethren woods are hard on tools – consider that Ipe has a Janka hardness value of 3684, eastern red cedar on the other hand is only 900.
  • If you have to use glue, G-2 Epoxy, polyurethane glues, and PVA Type III work well, but gluing won’t work as well as with softer, less dense woods. Experimentation is key, depending on application.
  • Ipe is strong, e.g. it can span great distances at high strength. It is resistant to insects, decay, and even fire. It’s no coincidence it has the same fire rating as concrete.
  • Ipe is extremely good for vertical surfaces.
  • Ipe when used for horizontal surfaces should be nominal 5/4″ in thickness (in my humble opinion). I use it on the front steps of my house, and it holds up really well.
  • Ipe can take a lot of abuse. You can wash it with the sharpest setting on a pressure washer, and it won’t harm it. In fact if the Ipe has an old coating, it often strips it off no problem, and does not chew up the wood.
Aged Ipe before (dark region) and after (light region) power washing.
  • Ipe can be sanded, but a word of caution here. Not just any sander will work. If you are going to sand a lot of Ipe, invest in a Festool Rotex sander – it has two settings, eccentric motion and rotary motion. The rotary setting will eat off any finish – quickly. It does leave some markings, but hey, it’s not fine furniture.
  • Ipe without a coating will grey over time. It is not hard to recover the colour, but it does take effort.
Sanded (top board), and subsequently coated with Penofin (bottom board)
  • Coatings should be used that penetrate the wood. Natural oils help keep it good looking, and stop cracks from developing (most noticeable in 1″ stock, near the board ends).
  • For vertical surfaces, using a coating from Penofin. It works on horizontal surfaces too, but vertical surfaces will hold up better due to the lack of traffic. The best of coatings don’t last long on horizontal surfaces.
  • With hidden deck fasteners for Ipe, there is no need to actually drill and countersink the boards. Find one that works for you (some 5/4″ boards come pre-grooved to fit fasteners).
One coat of Penofin on a vertical versus horizontal Ipe surface

Ipe is an exceptional wood for building things outside, and it is appearing more and more on city park structures in Toronto, largely because of its longevity. Often for seating structures, they are using 2″×4″ Ipe, which is extremely strong, and I imagine graffiti can be power-washed off more easily than on other surfaces.

The other thing to consider with Ipe is its source. As its a tropical hardwood, sometimes it is difficult to determine whether the wood has been sustainably harvested. There are more sustainable woods to use, and I imagine, given its long-term resistance to decay that eventually there will be a market for used timber… and hopefully we won’t push Ipe the way of the giant redwoods.

A fun approach to woodworking postures

I found these neat posters while doing some research on a woodworking picture. They are from the Sörmlands Museum in Sweden, and depict different foot stances and postures for woodworking at a bench. It’s amazing how much incredible detail can be garnered by a simple image.

woodworking postures
The posture for planing at a bench

Source : “SLM 30158 4 – School poster” Walking standing position at planing (VIII) “, 1894,” Sörmlands Museum, retrieved 13 September 2020,