Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Does This Make Me a Hypocrite?


I enjoy woodworking. (canoes in particular, if you haven’t guessed…)

I like to cook.

I’ve got All-Clad cookware for the kitchen.

I’ve got a Stanley low-angle block plane for the shop.

I like the best kitchen equipment that I can get my hands on. The All-Clad cookware in our kitchen has, in my opinion, made me a better cook than I was before. I will not be so arrogant as to think of myself as a chef (I’m not…) but I would say that those people who eat what I cook really enjoy what I cook.

Does that mean I’m neglecting the shop because I haven’t gone out and bought a nice Lie-Nielsen (http://www.lie-nielsen.com/) , or Veritas (http://www.veritastools.com/) block plane? Or even a Hotley plane? (http://www.holtey-planes.com/) Let’s put things in car perspective. The Stanley would be a bit like the Chevrolet. The Vertias and the Lie-Neilsen would be the Audi or the BMW, but the Hotley planes by Karl Hotley are a bit like a Ferrari. It’s gorgeous, highly functional, very expensive and more than likely sits in the garage instead of being driven. One of the Hotley planes was selling for about $7,500.00.

I’d have to say I don’t think I’m neglecting the shop. I’d like a nice plane like the ones above. I really would. Do I think the plane like his will make me a better woodworker?


I think you learn more from working with tools that you have to learn what makes them tick and how to set them up. I have a student in the class that I teach who has a nice Lie-Neilsen.

• It’s a great tool.
• It was ready to go right out of the box.
• It feels good in your hand.
• It doesn’t chatter much, if at all.
• It holds a good edge.

With the Stanley, I learned:

• How to sharpen the plane iron
• How to true the plane’s sole
• How to square the sides of the plane to the sole.
• How to protect the plane from corrosion
• How to adjust the cap, iron and throat.

My Stanley did the same job that his Lie-Neilsen did. No better or worse. Knowing that, what would you do?

The Hotley is still a pretty tool, ‘tho!

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