Finnish legs?

The Gardiner Museum in Toronto has an exhibition at the moment – True Nordic: How Scandinavia Influenced Design in Canada.  Quiet interesting, but I thought this was cool – a set of “Finnish” table legs from an Ontario company from the 1970s.


The block planes of superheroes (viii) – the others

Of interest with steel block planes is the patent received by Edmund Schade in 1915 – No. 1, 164,615. This patent for a “stamped steel plane” was the basis of Stanley’s stamped steel planes, the S4, S5, and S18, produced from 1925/26 to 1942.

In Australia, inventor Robert McConnell patented a pressed steel plane in 1942 (Aust. Patent No. 116098). A brief explanation with pictures of one of the planes is shown in this section from a book titled “Australian Woodworking Planemakers”, by Trevor Semmens.

There were of course other pressed-steel block planes, usually of a lower quality. The TWIX company of New York state made a pressed-steel block plane. I have not been able to secure a nice looking version of this plane, most it seems are in pretty ratty condition.


There was also a series of planes made by French manufacturer Goldenberg.




The block planes of superheroes (vii) – Linford

In the second last post of the series, we look at a more unusual pressed steel block plane. This plane was manufactured by the Linford Engineering Co. Ltd., of Sparkhill Birmingham. This is one in incredible condition I recently purchased from Old Hand Tools, in the U.K. Linford steel plane came in its original box, and looks as though it has barely been used.


It is hard to find out a lot about Linford, except that their address was 93a Baker Street, Sparkhill, Birmingham, 11, England. The company may have existed in the early 1900s. Single digit postal codes appeared in the U.K. circa 1932, so it is likely these planes stem from the 1930s. When I Googled the address now, it seems to be a residential address, which maybe implies that it was an industrial area bombed during WW2, and rebuilt as residential postwar?


Side elevation of plane and original box

This plane is one of the longer steel block planes, at 7½”, with a width of 1-5/8″. In the toe of the body is stamped “LINFORD / PAT APP. FOR / BIRMINGHAM / ENGLAND.” Linford also made a No.2 sized plane, also 7½” in length with a 1-5/8″ wide blade.


The blade

It is possible that there was a patent for it, but none that I could find. The adjustment mechanism would be the one unique feature on this plane – the top of the blade has been stamped, with two “ear-like” tabs, that are then folded over, and 90° to the blade, forming a partial lip (above, left). These “ears” engage with a groove in a knurled adjustment nut. In the inner portion of the groove is an eccentric lever attached to the threaded stud used to adjust the depth of the blade. When the lever is adjusted by moving it side-to-side, the “ears” of the blade also move from one side to the other, pivoting the blade and allowing for lateral blade adjustment (i.e., such that the cutting edge of the blade is set parallel to the sole).


The adjustment mechanism

The blade is held in place on the bed of the plane using another knurled nut attached to a threaded stud attached to the plane’s built-in frog.

Although it seems somewhat lesser quality plane, the knurled knobs say otherwise, although not all components are as quality driven. Below (left) shows the rear palm brace welded onto the sole, and (right) the seam where the frog is joined to the planes sole.


Still, an extremely comfortable plane to hold.




It’s amazing what you find behind the walls

So I am in the midst of making a plan to replace the mantle piece (which is currently made from oak), with one made from cherry, that is somewhat smaller, and a bit simpler. The first step is always some form of exploratory surgery. In this case, I took the end piece off to see how it was constructed. Basically not very well. It seems like a core frame of 2×4 covered with the ¾” oak.


But often it is what is behind these old mantles that truly tells a story. I found this licence for gas during WW2, and a ration coupon book. Not in the best condition, but it was sitting behind the mantle for over 70 years. At the start of rationing, “non-essential” users (“A”) would get 65 gallon “units” per year.


Stricter rationing meant that by 1942, non-essential users, now classified as “AA”, would get half the units per year. Here’s one of the ration coupons:


Christmas gifts for woodworkers?

What to buy for woodworkers? What *not* to buy? SOOOOOO many potential gifts. The trick is, woodworkers can sometimes be finicky about the tools they buy. So what *DO* you buy for woodworkers?

  • A wooden bowl or spoon? Who doesn’t like a gift hand-made by another maker? In Ontario, Jeff Ballantyne from Noble Woodcraft has some great eating and cooking spoons (he’s at the Originals show in Ottawa until the 18th!).
  • A shop broom from Granville Island Broom Co. Made with broomcorn, They have brooms for benches, brooms for floors, and even a hockey stick broom. Sure you *could* use a vacuum, but this is SO much more fun… and environmentally friendly to boot.
  • A JessEm dowelling jig. A nice, well designed dowelling jig (Made in Canada too!). Don’t like dowels? You would be surprised how useful they are in creating joints that are hidden.
  • Wile plane adjusting hammer, designed by Richard Wile of Nova Scotia, and made by Veritas.
  • Wood. Like, why not? Drop in to Exotic Woods in Burlington. They have small boards, large boards, burls, blocks of wood, stuff for carving and a whole lot more.
  • A book from Lost Art Press. Which one? Anyone, they are ALL good: Woodworking in EstoniaThe Anarchist’s Design Book, any of the volumes of The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years.
  • A restored axe from Vintage Axe Works.
  • A book on woodworking?
    The Artful Wooden Spoon: How to Make Exquisite Keepsakes for the Kitchen
    – The Urban Woodsman: A Modern Guide to Carving Spoons, Bowls and Boards
    – The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees
    – A Field Guide to Identifying Woods in American Antiques & Collectibles
  • A Veritas precision square, or double square, or other measuring/marking tool.
  • Polissoir & Wax from the The Unplugged Workshop.

Liogier hand-cut rasps

I finally did it last week. I dropped some serious change on a set of Liogier rasps. Now, I have been contemplating this for a long while. Nothing beats hand-cut rasps, and the reviews all over the net will testify to this. I ordered them from The Unplugged Workshop in Toronto. Now I thought they would ship straight away, but it appears that they are made to order. So my order of a 12″ #6, 10″ #9, and 6″ #13 are currently in the process of being made. Very cool.

Best wood store in GTA?

Need wood for a project? Try Exotic Woods, in Burlington. What do they have? What *don’t* they have. Exotic and domestic wood galore, wood for making musical instruments, bowl blanks, flooring, Baltic birch ply, short cuts of wood (below), dowels.


Stay tuned for a more comprehensive review next time I’m down that way.