Popular Woodworking 2005-06 № 148, страница 67

Popular Woodworking 2005-06 № 148, страница 67

almost all of whom are repeat customers. One enthusiast owns 14 of Anderson's planes.

"I find myself in the enviable position of having loyal customers and an understanding employer who allows me to do this thing that I love so much," Anderson says.

Anderson's path to becoming a professional plane maker began several years ago when he and a friend would haunt the local woodworking supply stores. One day Anderson was in a used tool store where they had a copy of the now-famous poster of the H.O. Studley tool chest - a small wall-hung tool chest that holds more than 300 artfully fit hand tools.

"I found myself riveted to that image," he says. "Something clicked. And I decided to amass a small collection of vintage tools."

So Anderson began buying old tools (he now holds the title of director of area A for the Mid-West Tool Collectors Assn.). As he plunged deeper into collecting, Anderson stumbled on a story about British infill maker Bill Carter and was so intrigued that he decided to make an improved miter plane for himself. He still owns that tool.

"I call it 'plane-a-saurus,'" Anderson says with a laugh. "It had 3/16"-thick sides and a V4" bottom. It's butt-ugly, but it functions well. It's like your kid's artwork. It's not worth a nickel, but you wouldn't sell it for a million bucks."

Encouraged that he could make a functioning tool, Anderson built more plane s (lots more) and started posting pictures of them on the Internet. Woodworkers began to take notice and ask Anderson to make planes for them. Now he spends most of his free time in his shop filing and fitting and fussing with all the details that go into one of his planes.

He has a few machines that assist his work: a small drill press and band saw lend a hand. And he recently purchased a small benchtop milling machine to cut the mouth of the planes. But much of the work is by hand and by eye.

What's most striking about his finished tools is how they don't look much like anyone else's tools. Unlike some contemporary plane-makers, Anderson doesn't revel in making reproductions of classic infill tools from Norris, Spiers, Mathison or Slater. Instead, Anderson's keen eye and impressive collection of files create planes with fluid sidewalls, sculpted and

Wayne Anderson files the bed of a chariot plane in his basement workshop. Tools on the back wall serve as inspiration and they lend a hand with the woodworking on occasion.

scalloped wedges and details that are found on fine furniture more than on tools.

"I was never one to copy a Norris or a Spiers," Anderson says. "Those were the production planes of the era. I was never impressed with the style."

As you can imagine, one-of-a-kind hand-

built planes are more expensive than manufactured ones. Anderson typically charges $100 per inch of length of the finished tool, plus extra for exotic options such as inlay. So the 9"-long Scottish-style miter plane below cost me $900. For someone on a writer's salary, that was a lot of saving and scrimping.

But I have to say that I consider it money well spent. Anderson's tools have an undefin-able appeal to me that cannot be boiled down to price alone. A lot of hand work goes into the furniture I build for this magazine and myself, and there is something fitting about using a hand-made tool in my work. As I wipe the plane down and put it away, I often find myself marveling a bit at the workmanship and detailing of the tool. And I hope that my own work can measure up to Anderson's.

From a pragmatic point of view, Anderson's planes are quite reasonably priced compared to the cost of the vintage infill planes that are prized by tool collectors. Vintage tools of this caliber are far more expensive and may or may not even be usable. In fact, other tool makers and collectors consider Anderson's planes an astonishing bargain for what you get.

Anderson says he isn't driven by money. He merely prices his tools so he can stay busy making them, that he can do the kind of work he wants and make a tool that's within reach of the serious plane user.

"These are user planes," he says, tapping the table for emphasis. "It's a tool. Take it into the shop and use it." PW

— CS

Here is an improved miter plane with Scottish influences. The infill is ebony with a small ivory inlay on the front bun.

popwood.com

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