Infill Planes


Shop Fun with Scott Grandstaff

  Letter From the Front - a plane  

Did you ever have a user tool that became a personal collectable?

I have a t15, #3.  It wasn't the first plane I owned, but the first one I ever really fell in love with.  It was a friend's grandfather's plane and she gave it to me one day.  It was the first time I ever saw the sweetheart mark.

It cut like a dream right off (as soon as I cleaned it up). Then I started to like it and cleaned it up a little more.  I really learned how to sharpen a blade with that plane.  Wasted a little steel getting there, but not too awful, and there is still a good inch and a quarter below the hole.

When (the then) new FWW was getting popular, several articles on planes came out, of course.  I just barely understood what they were talking about and had never been close to a tuned tool.  But inside every one of us is a memory or feeling of the Old Master and his beautiful tools.  We all strive for it in some way.  I knew my plane could be better.

I polished the sole in the bad old way, with plate glass and the leftovers from someone's telescope grinding project I'd got at a yard sale (loose grit).  Not your quicklap experience, to be blunt.

Each new trick I learned was used first on that 3.  It just got better and better.  I hauled it out to jobsites in my youth.  Used it hard.  Piled up shavings on construction and finish work alike.  But even then I was always worried about it.  I made a wooden shoe out of soft pine to protect the sole.  Had a tendency to watch for it out of the corner of my eye as the work went on.  Somehow it always made it home in one piece.

As I got older and more tools came my way, it still held the number one spot against all comers because I knew it so well.  But it got to be such a concern that I would hurt it, that I put it aside one day.  It stayed in a glass cabinet for several years.  Then I couldn't stand that any longer.  I worried about rust and neglect so it went back into the lineup. There was one more stay in the cabinet, but it's back in my arsenal again now.

The hard collectors description of it would only read Stanley t15 #3 - 70% japan - refinished tote and knob but wood is intact.

Doesn't sound like much, does it?

It's not for sale.

yours, Scott

July 21, 2006, in Happy Camp, CA
email:  Scott Grandstaff


Starrett Tools


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