Popular Woodworking 2005-06 № 148, страница 66

Popular Woodworking 2005-06 № 148, страница 66

Building Planes One at a Time

Wayne Anderson's planes are inspiring workhorses.

Most woodworkers appreciate things that are well-made, fashioned by hand and extraordinarily useful. So it's little wonder that Wayne Anderson stays quite busy.

From a small basement workshop in Elk River, Minn., Anderson makes custom infill planes one at a time to sell to woodworkers and collectors. Unlike many manufactured tools, Anderson's planes marry solid plane mechanics with fluid curves that would be difficult - if not impossible - to create using machines. One recent chariot plane from his workshop resembles a scarab beetle. The front grip of the small plane at right is filed into the shape of a curved acanthus leaf.

And though some of these tools look delicate, they have the souls of small tanks. The sides and soles of the planes are joined with hand-filed double-dovetails. The wooden infills are secured with brass or steel pins that are peened in place. The soles are hand-lapped dead flat. The mouths of the tools are extremely fine.

The result of this alchemy are tools that are extraordinarily beautiful to the eye and spookily responsive in your hands.

During the last year I've examined more than a dozen of Anderson's planes and used four of them in my shop for a wide variety of tasks. They all work as well as any hand plane

- vintage or new - I've ever owned.

Despite the fact that many ofhis tools lack a mechanical adjuster, I find it unnecessary

- in some ways, the lack of an adjuster can be quite liberating. Because every part fits so perfectly, the tools respond predictably and precisely every time I pick them up.

SUPPLIES

Anderson Planes

P.O. Box 552 Elk River, MN 55330 763-241-0138 andersonplanes.com

Two planes from Wayne Anderson: A full-size smoothing plane with ebony infill (top) and a small plane inspired by some of the earliest metal-bodied planes from Europe.

Setting the irons is an easy task with a hammer. Anderson's planes generally have a generous surface for bedding the A2 irons. When you drop a freshly sharpened iron on the bed it practically sticks there because the parts fit so well. A couple hammer taps and a turn of the lever cap screw are all it takes to get the plane working beautifully.

I'm not alone in my assessment. Ralph Brendler, one of the ringleaders of the Internet-based e-mail list called "oldtools," owns a few of Anderson's planes that he uses regularly.

"If I had my druthers, every plane in my cabinet would be from Wayne," Brendler says. "The miter plane he built me so far exceeded my expectations. I was just stunned when I opened the box. ... My jaw hit the floor."

Engineering & Artistry

For Anderson, his plane-making business is the logical culmination of his artistic tendencies as a boy and his career path as an adult. He worked as a machinist, then in a metal fabrication shop and now is a mechanical designer.

This training makes Anderson equally adept with both a file and the high-powered computer he uses at his day job for a defense contractor, where he is currently working on designs for a weapons system for the Army.

Add to that a passion for collecting vintage tools and it's little wonder that Anderson stays busy on nights and weekends building tools. Or that he has recently shifted into high gear by going part-time at his day job so he can focus even more on building planes for clients,

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Popular Woodworking June 2005

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