Sunday, October 11, 2020

My Favorite Hand Plane

 As far as we know now, the story begins in Roman times. The Romans themselves said the plane was invented by the Greeks, but so far no Greek planes have been found.

W.L. Goodman, “The Story of the Plane”.

My favorite plane is a Lie-Nielsen (L-N) No.62 low angle jack plane that I purchased from L-N earlier this year. 

I bought it because I was tired of fighting tough wood - e.g., wenge, ebony, ziricote - with a vintage Stanley No.5 jack plane set up with a toothing iron and that got swapped out for smoothing iron to finish the work. 

I ordered the No.62 with two extra irons - a toothing iron and a regular iron. The toothing iron makes short work of reducing wood down to desired thicknesses, the other iron got a 35 degree angle on it, which, if  sharpened it well enough, will produce a glassy smooth finish.

It took a while to make the decision to purchase this plane, the price of the plane and extra irons was a bit of an issue, but after I saw that most used L-N tools sell for the same price, or more, as a brand new L-N tools on eBay, price was no longer an obstacle.

When I looked at reviews of how well this plane performs, reviewers loved it or hated it. Do an Internet search of reviews if you want to read what was and is said about this plane. 

This plane is a joy to use. It hogs off wood, it can produce a smooth glassy finish, and the best thing about it for me is that I can joint a guitar top or back with far more precision and ease that with my well tuned circa 1994 English made Stanley No.7 jointer plane. I haven't used the No.7 to joint a top or back since I got the No.62; the only time I use my Stanley No.5, type 10 jack plane is to clean up the faces of a rough cut board, and my Stanley No.3, type 11, smooth plane hasn't seen any bench time. For the work I do, building classical guitars, this plane truly lives up to its sobriquet of jack. 

Will I be selling my Stanley planes on eBay anytime soon? Not yet, sentiment is holding me back. Someday, maybe, and replace them with the same size Lie-Nielsen planes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

What's On My Workbench - 8 String "Brahms" Classical Guitar, Spruce/Ziricote

The Brahms guitar is a relatively new design developed by guitarist Paul Galbraith and the late luthier David Rubio.  It is a unique instrument in that it is played in the cello position, while increasing the range with an additional treble and bass string.  The guitar features fanned frets and a cello style endpin.

Erez Perelman, luthier

I am making my second "Brahms" classical guitar, this is a custom order for a young guitarist/composer who asked that I make the guitar from Engelmann spruce and ziricote.

I made and used an external mold to make this guitar, I am not completely sold on the idea of an external mold, other than holding the guitar firmly in place when I sanded the sides to accept the back, I don't see any advantage over an open work board. And it is heavy! Perhaps if I had started out making guitars with an external mold I might have a different opinion.

The top is bracing with a five strut pattern over a bridge patch and I added a Yuris Zeltin style floating brace to catch the top just in front of the bridge. The idea of a floating brace is to prevent the spruce top from caving in from the torque of the strings on the bridge. With eight strings, this guitar is subjected to the same tension as a standard steel string acoustic guitar and I want the top to have a long life.

Other than having eight strings and a wider neck to accommodate the extra strings, it is for all purposes a standard classical guitar, however, this model will not have a sound hole in the top. The sound holes will be located in the side on either side of the heel of neck. The player I am making this for records a lot of his own music and tells me the microphones pick up the sound of the air leaving the sound hole on the other Brahms guitar I made him. The "no sound hole" top will make for a louder guitar and he will have cleaner recordings. One nice this about having the sound holes on both sides of the heel of the neck, the new owner will have instant feed back of the sound of the guitar. The guitar has a nice bright tap tone right now, it will be interesting to see how much lower the tone will go once I cut and open up the sound holes. 

The Best Workshop in the World!

The best workshop in the world is the one that you are working in! I know that there are people who complain about their work space - it is ...