Chapin Tools

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Brought to you by How + Print

Comb. Planes


Working with Hands - James E. Price

  Rolling Eyes at this Razee...  

I know I am a different kind of old tool guy when
I find an old tool and show it to my collector or user friends and watch them
roll their eyes and snicker.


Such was the case with this plane, a razee jointer, 23 inches in length, that some past craftsman made from the body of a manufactured plane.

I get excited by tools that are mundane and even repulsive to most collectors but exhibit some feature I have never seen before, a testimony to the ingenuity of a craftsman long deceased. In the case of this plane, a past woodworker had a mental template of what he thought a jointer should look like and it was not satisfied with what a commercial manufacturer offered.

Thus, he customized a plane to fit his hands in the posture he struck when he was jointing boards. In this case he carved a depression in the top front where his thumb rested and one on the left front side in which his left forefinger curled in order to hold and guide the plane more efficiently.

He used this plane lots because the sole was worn away so much that I had to make an insert ahead of the blade to give it a narrow mouth again. He also carved a shallow depression in the left side of the rear handle in which his right thumb rested.

These modifications make sense to me. They make a jointer plane much more ergonomic than an unmodified one. Yes, I like it, and I do not care if my tool friends deem it amusing and of little value.

This image shows a detail of the grip depressions.

This is an image of the depression for the left forefinger.

This image shows the configuration of the thumb hole.

The plane has an I. Sorby iron in it.

And, another view of the thumb hole.

Note the depression at the top of the tote for accommodating a left thumb.

James E. Price
December, 2017

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