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Handled Coffin Smoothing Plane

Paul Bunyan, the lumberman, came from St. Paul.
He owned a big ox that was eleven feet tall.
He mowed down the trees as the farmers mow hay,
And the crew was at work before break of day.

E.C. Beck, They Knew Paul Bunyan, 1956

Here's a handled coffin smoothing plane that I picked up from Jim Bode's antique tool web store a month or so ago. That's a No.7 jointer plane in the background.

Who ever owned this decided that it needed a handle, they did a good job-the handle is well shaped and the mortise joint is fairly tight. You can still see the rasp marks on the handle. The only problem that I see with the craftsman-made handle is that there is nothing, other than glue, that is keeping the handle in place. When you push on it the bottom of the handle wants to come out of the mortise.

Yes, that is a pair of crosscut saws in my shop. Three generations of my family worked for the lumber industry; my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my dad worked in the woods. My dad worked for Diamond National, Kimberly-Clark and Simpson Paper. The lumber industry put me through college. The darker saw belonged to my grandfather who topped trees back in the 1920'-30's to make a spar trees for logging operations; the other belonged to my father-in-law.


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