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Learn How. Discover Why. Build Better. - Christopher Schwarz


 
 

Sauer & Steiner Toolworks by Christopher Schwarz
Copyright 2006. This article originally appeared in the Fine Tool Journal

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Konrad Sauer spent nearly 10 years as an art director who built furniture on the side before taking the plunge into full-time toolmaking.

 

Near-perfection from
one pair of young hands.

The minting of a new toolmaker can have as much to do with skill as it does with serendipity.  For Konrad Sauer, his journey from art director to furniture designer to custom toolmaker began about 12 years ago when someone positioned a cherry cupboard next to the booth of an antique tool dealer.

Sauer and his soon-to-become wife, Jill, were looking for furniture for their place and happened upon the cherry cupboard. Sauer wanted it badly.  But he couldn't in any way afford it on his salary as a young art director in Toronto.

While staring at the cupboard that he couldn't buy, his eyes alighted on the antique tools in the next booth. His gaze drifted back to the cupboard.  And then back to the tools.  A light bulb went off in his head.

"These," he said about the tools, "made this cupboard."

Sauer decided to learn to build furniture and to do it mostly with hand tools, which he thought would be much less expensive than power tools.  He quickly mastered the Bailey-style bench planes and started wondering where he could get a bit more performance in the plane department. He asked around until he had a fateful conversation with Doug Evans, an Ontario tool dealer (and now principal at Shepherd Tool Co.).

Sauer: "Where do I go from here?"

Evans: "Do you have an infill?"

Sauer: "What's an infill?"

Evans sold an unhandled Spiers coffin smoothing plane to Sauer, and then it was only a matter of time before Sauer & Steiner Toolworks would be born and Sauer would say farewell to his job as an art director and become a full-time and quite successful custom toolmaker.  And all before he turned 35.

Confession: Infill jointers aren't my favorite tools. I generally think they're too bulky and heavy to use for more than a few minutes. However, I was using this one for a couple hours before I realized it was a jointer plane and not a panel plane that's quite a compliment.


 
Learn how. Discover why. Build better.
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Scraper Planes


Chapin



   

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