If there is one thing I have learned in all my years of woodworking is the value and importance of the 90-degree angle. It seems as if almost everything I do is related to or working off of this angle. I have also found the best way to accomplish 90-degrees is to cut as close I can on a table saw and then bring my piece over to my shooting board. With my shooting board I can consistently produce accurate angles.
Pictured here, are my two shooting board planes. The one on the left is my Stanley #51. I have been using it for several years. The one on the right is my Lie Nielsen #9 Mitre plane. I bought the Stanley from an online auction and the LN was purchased when they finally did a limited run on the plane about 4 years ago. (You have to be on their mailing list for limited runs to be able to purchase.) Both the Stanley #51 and LN #9 are a bit of collectors plane as they are no longer made. The #51 does the job but it is a little light in heft and the frog and blade are not up to the requirements of fine end-grain shavings in my opinion. I prefer the Lie Nielsen because of the comfort of the “Hot Dog” handle and the heft of the plane. As well the LN has a much more durable frog and a superior blade, producing the finest end-grain shavings possible.
Stanley #51 and Lie Nielsen #9.
And below, we have end-grain shavings cut with the Lie Nielsen #9 Mitre plane. If that doesn’t convert you, I don’t know what will.
Here are a couple of quick items I made for my kitchen.
A magnetic knife and cutting board holder in Pacific Yew. The magnets for this project have to be rare earth or they won’t be strong enough. I re-sawed the wood, inserted the magnets, glued the pieces back together, and book-matched them. The cutting board stand is three re-sawed boards dowelled together with some 16mm brass rod I had on hand. Simple to do, nice effect, and very practical. Pacific Yew is a beautiful wood to work in: Light creamy colours to medium-dark reddish browns with a supple texture.
There is something beautiful about bringing an old hand-tool back to life. The utility, look, and feel is entirely satisfying, on par with the craftsman’s creed of making beautiful pieces of furniture for practical daily use. Not to mention the patina of age and the history of hands that have touched it. This old socket chisel once belonged to my grandfather and when it came into my possession the cutting edge looked as though it had been used for the last 50 years to open paint cans. Now it holds a fine razor edge and is ready to be put to use. It measures 31.115cm (12.25″) end-to-end and has Canadian Champion stamped on it. A little research tells me the chisel was manufactured between 1870-1910 by Warnock, J. & Co. of Galt, Ontario, Canada. My grandfather was born in 1901 so it is quite possible this chisel belonged to my great-grandfather, a Scottish immigrant who farmed sheep in Metchosin B.C. until his early passing in 1915.