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Working with Hands - James E. Price


 
  Why I Make Cases for My Tools... 1 of 2  

Decades ago I bought a Stanley 92 that was in a simple craftsman-made box.

An old craftsman had wiped it with an oily rag and put it away never to use it again.

 

The plane was well used but in excellent condition due to the care given to it by the craftsman. This simple purchase set me on a course to take care of fine tools so they, in time, can be passed on to another craftsman in excellent condition and ready to use right out of the box.

I started casing tools about 1973 and since that time have made scores of hand dovetailed cases for my best tools. These are kept on shelves like books and I can simply select the tool I want by scanning the shelves and finding it. I find that is much easier than storing tools in chests and saves lots of time in finding a tool.

Early on I learned to make the cases with no appendages such as handles, protruding hinges, or latches so they can be stacked one atop another and lots of cases can be fitted into larger boxes for transport.

Last Thursday I received in the mail a shoulder plane made by Gardner in Bristol, England. I opted for it because it has a skewed mouth like a fillister plane and cuts with a shear. It is in great condition and the blade only needed a gentle honing with diamond paste.

My next chore was to case it. Yesterday and today I finished a case worthy of such a fine plane and used the Gardner several times in its joinery.

A Gardner shoulder plane made in Bristol, England, my first shoulder plane
with a skewed mouth. The extended wedge forms a great handle
for gripping a precisely controlling the plane.

This is a detail photo of the skewed mouth that allows a shear cut.

The heel, as well as the blade, bear Gardner's imprint.


 
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