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Not an expert, but I have been interested in this subject when buying and refurbishing older planes on ebay. Rosewood varies considerably in appearance and colour unfortunately and most manufacturers used coloured varnish to make the beech look as rosewoody as possible to maintain the “quality” look after they started cutting costs.
You can sometimes spot the distinctive, prettier grain patterns through the years of applied finish that signify rosewood rather than beech. I find that is often easier to spot this grain on the rear tote than on the front knob. The top of the front knob where it is end-grain may show the rosewood pores but this can be difficult to see depending on how much crud is on top.
If you are talking about old stanleys or Records then you can use the plane features combined with a type study to work out if there is a chance that they could be rosewood. e.g. google “dating record hand planes” etc. Generally the older the plane, the more likely the handles are rosewood and there is a date range after which they will 100% be beech, although the range might be larger or more confusing than ideal – I have some old records with beech rear handles and rosewood front knobs – they must have been in the process of transitioning to beech when they are made as they are undoubtedly original.
The only way to be 100% sure sometimes is to have the plane to hand. Usually removing the handles will help as they are often unfinished underneath or the finish has worn there – Beech is very obviously much paler. Failing that you may have to strip, sand or scrape the finish if you are still not sure.
Those examples look like they have seen a fair amount of use from the size of the mouths.
Don’t worry – it’s usually easy to get a wooden plane working as per the videos and advice posted, so long as you have another flat plane, a little planing skill and a little blade sharpening skill.
The third plane is a little bit unusual – the open side is consistent with some kind of rebate plane. It looks a bit like a badger plane – a large rebate plane except…
1. The blade appears square rather than skewed as badgers normally are
2. There is some kind of cut-away on the inside of the rebate side that might have acted as a depth stop or for different fillets to be added. Perhaps some part is now missing.
Whatever it was it looks like it might have had quite a specific use.
I’m sure someone else around here will know better exactly what it is, and some more pictures from different angles may help.
That is a really interesting evolution of saw benches and work-holding options! Thanks for sharing. You must have learned a lot from creating and using them!
If you can build those, you definitely have the skills to build a fully functional workbench.
Thanks Brett @pheasantww.
I wanted to follow the process Paul used for his stool which was to taper and shape the legs from square stock as it was interesting and a great learning experience for me. I think I might also have felt like I “cheated” somehow if I used the machined scrolled parts.
The stock for the legs I used the three longest square sections of the spindles. The seat was made from the handrail and shorter square sections of the spindles, planed and laminated – that was why I had to go for an oval seat with the grain running front to back.
I still have the unused scrolled parts and the Newell post left over, so may still find a used for them!
I agree with the advice so far about minor out-of-square not being a big problem (otherwise hand sharpening would be an impossible discipline), and correcting by additional pressure on one side during sharpening or using a a jig to re-establish on low grit paper.
For very seriously out-of-square blades it can be difficult to reestablish the squareness as the blade tends to rock onto it’s existing bevel, even when used in a jig, and this tends to perpetuate the error forever. I wasted a lot of time and blade length learning that one time when refurbishing old basket-case planes.
I can already sense the disapproval, but…
In very out-of-square cases it can be easier to draw-file or stone the blade square at 90 degrees (check progress often) and then reestablish the bevel as desired and sharpen (jig or freehand) until the bluntness is gone across the whole width of the bevel. It sounds really brutal and wrong as you are deliberately blunting the blade initially but it works very well. Filing square especially works wonders with softer steel, antique blades (which are also a joy to sharpen freehand btw). If anyone else tries this, maybe don’t use your best file for this, and maybe don’t try this on a modern super-hard steel blade YMMV etc 🙂
What @ed said. Sharpen, sharpen, sharpen, practise, technique.
Paul makes everything look easy, but it’s the result of years of practise and intuitively and consciously doing what works, avoids pitfalls and minimizes additional work. He’s basically the Chuck Norris of woodworking. His plane will be sharper than yours (no offence intended), he cuts perfectly square and very close to the line and perfectly orients and balances the plane.
In time, what takes Paul 3-4 minutes may take you 10 minutes and you will have achieved a good level of skill.
It looks like you are holding the piece in some sort of workmate. Give yourself some credit and allowance for this. Planing is much easier with a solid workbench and vice. This is especially true for planing end grain due to the increased friction/vibration and smaller reference areas. A workmate is a lot better than nothing, but with the best will in the world it will not hold the workpiece very well – the clamping pressure will be small and uneven, the workpiece will be held quite low which makes the ergonomics bad and it will be very difficult to hold the workmate down and plane at the same time.
The good news is that when you finished your workbench you will really understand why it’s invaluable!
I suggested one option before. Not sure if the link will work…