The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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It had been two weeks since I’ve woodworked, and truthfully I hadn’t planned on woodworking this past weekend, either. My little hiatus was once again due to the weather, and somewhat less due to the fact that I needed a little break. Still, I had some things planned, and the weather changed for the better, so I decided to get to them.

First thing was making a new tool rack for the left side of my workbench wall. That was easy, just a little time consuming, but the mission was accomplished, and now nearly all of my woodworking tools are hung up, visible, and out of the way. An added bonus was the removal of the chisel rack I had made to hang in my window. I hated that rack; not that it didn’t work; but making it was brutally tedious and the process honestly made me want to quit woodworking permanently. I didn’t throw away that rack, though. I kept it perhaps as a reminder of a lesson that it taught me: There are certain things you should build yourself and there are certain things you should purchase, and that rack was something I should have purchased.

Tool rack is finished…

Today brought with it the nicest weather we’ve had in almost 6 months. I wanted to make a piece of doll furniture with my daughter, but it turns out that she had an event scheduled with her Girl Scout troop (that is a solemn oath they swear). Instead, I prepped all of the material and sawed most of it to length. However, I want her to assemble it herself, so that part will have to wait for another time.

In other news, I came into a little woodworking fun money a few weeks back when I had a tip published in Popular Woodworking Magazine. I made a New Year’s “Resolution” to not purchase any new tools for at least 6 months, and I plan on sticking to that promise. But my resolution did not include used or vintage tools. I came across a Record 043 plow plane, the price was just $4.00 more than the money I received for the tip, so I purchased it. The plane arrived in surprisingly good condition, and for that I was thankful. There was a little rust, some grime, and a few paint marks, but otherwise all of the hardware was flawless and the irons were in terrific shape. I soaked everything in a citric acid solution this morning, ran some errands, and returned home to finish the scrubbing, which took just a few minutes to complete. I then turned my attention to the irons.

Plane as it arrived…

Disassembled parts…

The plane included 3 irons, which I’ll call 1/8th, 3/16th, 1/4 inch (they’re actually in metric but you all know how I loathe the metric system). I started with the largest first, because it seemed easiest. Generally, I sharpen free hand, but in this case I used the Veritas guide because it seemed it would be awkward otherwise, not to mention the fact that the iron had a very minor skew to it that I wanted to fix. Happily, the iron worked brilliantly. I stared with the bevel side using a coarse then fine diamond stone, 1000/8000 grit water stones, and finishing it with the leather strop. I then worked the back, which again was mercifully easy. It was a pleasure to sharpen the iron, and I was so excited that I decided to reassemble the plane immediately and give it a test run. The tool did not disappoint. Being that this was the first ever time that I’ve used an actual plow plane I was very happy with the results; in seconds I made a straight groove and the ribbons were flying. Adjusting the tool was easy on all counts. If I have one gripe it is the size. This is a “small plow” so I’m not overly surprised that it is, in fact, small. But it is a bit small for my hands, though nothing I cannot get used to in time.

Cleaned, assembled, and ready for action…

View of the cleaned up depth stop…

Record 043…

First test groove…

So the last task of the day was clean up, and that was easy. My new wall rack proved its worth in less than 24 hours. For whatever it’s worth, I’ve nearly maxed out the space in my garage for woodworking, and there is little more I can do. I have one other spot that I would like to toy around with, but otherwise I’m at the end. I’m actually pretty happy with the set-up for the most part. There are at least a dozen things that I would love to do, but that will have to be for the next house. I can live with what I have right now and that is all I can ask.

So this weekend back to woodworking turned out to be a decent one. I got my workspace better organized without getting frustrated, and I brought an old tool back to life. Maybe I didn’t make an heirloom piece of furniture, but at this point I’ll take what I can get.




  1. Greg Merritt says:

    The tool board looks great.
    I have an 043 and love it. It takes a little while to find a comfortable hand position, but once you do, the 043 is like an extension of your arm. A joy to use. Nice job on the cleanup as well.

    • billlattpa says:

      Thanks Greg! I’m happy that the tool was in such good shape (considering its age). Being such a simple tool, it works very well, and its simplicity is probably the reason that tools such as this one will last so long.

      The tool board was a simple little project but well worth it. I’m officially out of the tool chest game. Once again, I have nothing against a tool chest, but having all of my tools on the boards is an immeasurably better way to work IMO. And the organized look really improves the appearance of my work area. Not that it’s great, but it is at the least better.

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