Beech vacation

If you’re planning to join me for the planemaking class at Lost Art Press in July, don’t forget that registration opens for the class tomorrow at 9am.

You can register here.

Whether or not you can make the class, I wanted to share a little about the class, the materials, and what I’ve learned about planemaking in general.

The planes that we will be making in class are a hybrid between the look of 18th-19th century British and American fore planes, and the construction techniques popularized last century by James Krenov. This hybrid style has most recently been brought to the fore by Richard Maguire in this wonderful video series.

They are built by slicing one blank down into a center body and two cheeks, cutting out the bed angles and then gluing it all back together. Although there are some tricky bits along the way, they really are that simple, and that’s what makes them so appealing to me. They lack some of the visual flourish of mortised planes around the cheeks, but they make up for it with an uncanny elegance that I’ve fallen in love with.

There are more detailed reasons I like this design, but that’s another post.

It all starts with the right wood, and for this design, that wood is beech. It is true that planes can be made from all manner of hard woods, but much of the traditional look and feel of a Western wooden plane comes from that solid hunk of beech faceted in just the right ways.

Beech is fun to work and wears well. It has just the right amount of warmth and smoothness in the hand and it takes embellishment well. The beech we will be using for this class is European beach, that is being sourced for us by Dan Schwank at Red Rose Reproductions. Dan is a master plane maker in his own right, and he will be providing the quartersawn blanks cut to his exacting specifications. The beech for both of the planes I have built over the past few months has come from Dan, and I’m excited to have him on board.

If you can’t make the class, but want to build a plane, Dan is a great source for billets. He also sells irons and cap irons.

For the class in July, students will be provided with 2″ blades and chipbreakers from Lee Valley / Veritas. These are excellent blades, but the real issue for us is cost and time. These blades come lapped to an incredible degree of flatness on the back that will eliminate some troubleshooting and be a real time saver in class. I’ve used these in my builds and they’re excellent. I might almost say they’re my favorite modern blades.

That’s where your $115 materials fee goes if you register for the class. All of the other supplies and fees and come out of the registration fee of $250 which we tried to keep as reasonable as possible. It’s a long trip for me (600 miles door-to-door) and the class fees help to offset travel expenses. I know that this will be an investment for anyone who comes, and I want to honor that by sending you home not just with a working plane, but with a working knowledge of how to make more and a love for these beautiful tools.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. jefski says:

    Thanks for all you’ve been showing us about these planes, should be a great class. On another note, I think you meant to write “Maguire”.


    1. Thanks for catching that. The Mc is strong with me.


  2. ericfromdayton says:

    Was booked full very quickly. Reserved list only for now. Shows the amount of interest in making your own tools. Perhaps you can schedule some more classes. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.


    1. Thanks for your interest. We’re definitely taking note, and discussing options. Don’t lose heart if you’re on the waitlist. Situations change all the time.


  3. DR_Woodshop says:

    I cannot make it this time (already taking two classes from Megan this year) but I would like to express my interest in a future scheduling of this class if that is what the waitlist entries are being used to gauge.


  4. Nash says:

    Man I really wish I had an extra $400 to spend for this summer. I hope its a smashing success and that you do more classes!


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