Skip to main content

Krenov Style Hand Planes

One does not tune a Stradivari with a monkey wrench.

James Krenov






I'm waiting for the humidity to drop a little more before starting on my next guitar, which I think will have the shape and size of Antonio Torres' FE 19, with an Engelmann spruce top and California laurel back and sides. While waiting, I thought I would take the chance to make a few planes in the Krenov style. I think I must be the only hand tool wood worker who hasn't made any of these, though I have contemplated making a few over the last 20 years or so. It was all this gibberish about needing a bandsaw, boring machine and 8 inch floor jointer to make such a plane that kept me from it. I know that my skills are good enough now that I will do most of the work by hand. Okay, I will use my Dewalt contractor saw, Bosch sliding compound miter saw and Delta bench top drill press for more accuracy, but I swear I will remove saw marks with a hand plane and cut out the final shape with a shop made bow saw!

I received 3 Hock Tool blades today, along with Dave Finck's book (it's almost a little too detailed in planemaking, but I recommend it!) and I finally was able to replace my paper back copy of Krenov's The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking, with a hard back copy printed by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.




I found some nice heavy black walnut at a local flea market, I will put a bubinga sole on the planes I make because I have some on hand.




My trusty Stanley No.5, Type 11 jack plane resting on a blank that is nicely squared. I think I will make an eleven inch smoothing plane from this piece of walnut and an eighteen inch jointer from the large piece. I really want to make the scraper plane that Finck shows towards the end of his book, Making and Mastering Wood Planes. I think that such a plane would be great for the final thinning of guitar sides!

Remember, Hand Tools Rule the School!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How to Make a Traditional Froe Mallet

What holds the Holy of the Holies, what did Brahma become? Wood. Why will aspen always tremble? For the nails driven into the cross. What makes the color of wood? The soil it tastes. Cradle, fiddle, coffin, bed: wood is a column of earth made ambitious by light, and made of beauty by the rain.

Kim R. Stafford, Having Everything Right, 1986.

Rive, verb, to split
Shake, noun, a split in a piece wood. (Heart shake, ring shake)
Shake, verb, (Middle English), to split.

I know I should have been in the studio working on my back log of guitars, but the day was so nice and warm with a tall blue canopy, I couldn't stay inside. I decided that I needed to make a proper froe mallet. This style of mallet is traditional to northeastern California, primarily Tehama (where I'm from), Butte, Shasta and Plumas counties where making shingles by hand from sugar pines was an industry. I don't know if it was used in any other region along the Pacific Rim, other parts of the United States or even o…

Basic Hand Tool Kit for Making a Classical Guitar, Revised

Ours is really a simple craft.

James Krenov, The Impractical Cabinetmaker, 1979


So, you want to build a guitar.

Since the original post, Basic Hand Tool Kit for Guitar Making, click here to see it, is the most popular post on this blog, I thought I would revisit it and adjust it to what I am using now to make a classical guitar.

The first thing I recommend doing is to buy or borrow copies of the following books:

Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson
Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall
The Guitar Maker's Workshop, by Rik Middleton

These are required reading before you begin making a guitar.

Also required reading are these books by Roy Underhill:

The Woodwright's Shop
The Woodwright's Companion
The Woodwright's Workbench
The Woodwright's Apprentice


Why these books by Mr. Underhill? You will learn valuable wood working techniques if you make any of his projects. The dovetail joints used to join a drawer together are far mor…

The Guitar Maker's Backsaw for Cutting Fret Slots

The overall correct process of placing frets in a guitar fingerboard ("fretting"), is far less straight forward than most people believe. A perfect job, for perfect playability, requires some careful preparation.

Anthony Lintner, guitar maker



Twenty five years ago, I bought my first fretting saw from Luthiers Mercantile. It was made in Germany and had a straight handle on it, basically it was a gent's saw.

First thing I did to the saw was to take off the straight handle and make a nice handle for it from some wonderful Claro walnut that came from a Cottonwood Creek bottom wild grown walnut. I used it to cut fret slots in dulcimer and classical guitar fret boards. The saw served me well for several years until I made the mistake of cutting some brass with it.

Well, I never did get around to sharpening the thing.

The blade is .015 of an inch thick with the teeth set at .022-.023 of an inch. I think it has 22 teeth per inch. It is a great saw and I was very sad to see that…