I’ve been blogging for two days, and I am already getting ripped in emails from friends. A couple of friends (who are too timid to post their comments here) have asked two questions that are worthy of a response:
Why would you even buy a #1?
What can you do with a #1 if you are so intent on using it?
I bought the little guy (#464) because he called to me from the screen of my computer as I was surfing Ebay. Just as Imelda Marcos could hear the cries of homeless ballerina flats, slingbacks, or wedges I often hear the low frequency call of woodworking tools reaching out to me. In summary, he was cute, dang it. And I wanted him. After years of therapy I can almost refrain from breaking down as I say, “I deserve to be happy.”
As for tuning him up and using him, I offer two possibilities.
1) What if I someday develop a horrible disease that causes my hands to shrink? Although it would require a total revamping of my extensive glove collection, it would not require my complete abandonment of using hand planes. Because even though I could never take a firm hold of my #8 with tiny silver dollar sized paws, I would still be able to bust out mass volumes of shavings with my perfectly fitting #1.
2) Attached is a picture of my niece Maddy who just happens to turn 7 today. (Happy Birthday, Maddy!!! Remember, of all the people on this planet who lack Y chromosomes…. you are still my favorite under the age of 10.) I remember the story of King Saul’s attempt to have our ruddy, young hero David take his kingly sword and armor into battle with Goliath. But David chose not to use them because they didn't fit his style. Well, from now on when kids visit my shop and want to lend a hand I will be able to pull out a bench plane perfectly sized to their diminutive hands, rather than suggesting they tackle the behemoth task of planing with a tool sized and tuned for a king sized guy like me. Honestly, how do you teach a 10 year old boy to balance the downward and forward forces while using a #4 ½ when it’s all he can do to even carry it to the bench?
In anticipation of follow up questions, I will attempt to answer them ahead of time:
1) Won’t these kids complain about the lack of a lateral adjuster on the #1?
Yes, there will be a lot of whining about that.
2) Are you really going to put a $350 plane in the hands of children?
Having no children of my own it is real easy for me to take the misguided approach of treating children as equals. It’s kind of like back when I was still a Cub Scout Den Leader and shooting a lot of H. By the time a kid became a Webelo, I figured if he was mature enough to ask me for a hit, he was mature enough to handle it. Besides I think there was a real benefit to helping kids get over their fear of needles. I mean with the increasing rates of Type 2 Diabetes in
So there you have it. Yeah….I bought a #1, and to celebrate I turned the most famous poem of