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Working with Hands - James E. Price

  Special Plane by James E. Price  


Did you ever use a plane that felt like you were wearing it like a glove?



This old plane is so unusual that I simply must share it with you.

I have owned this plane for four years but I first saw it forty-eight years ago right after a friend of mine, Bruce Debo of Devils Elbow Missouri, bought it in an area of central Missouri that was homeland to early German settlers. Bruce was an Ozark coffin maker and every time I visited his shop I admired this old plane.

Before Bruce passed he gave the plane to another mutual friend, Bob Elgin, a bowl carver, of St. James, Missouri. When Bob passed away it became mine.

It can be classified as a horn plane but the horn is broad and fits one's hand better than the normal type.

The rear tote is a marvel to both look at as well as grip. A user's fingers wrap around the right rear side of the plane and extend into a cavity.

This specimen is made of black walnut and the handle was carved out of a burly knot. When the plane tote is gripped it feels like my hand is in a wooden glove. It is a fantastic idea for a tote since one's knuckles are low and in the center of the stock and there is a broad facet on the rear for the user's thumb.

The plane works extremely well and I often borrowed it from Bruce when I was doing white coopering demonstrations. Then, and now, I use it to hollow the inside of pine bucket staves.

James E. Price
May, 2015

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