Hand Plane Tribe

About three weeks ago I ordered a couple of chisels from Lie-Nielson, I was expecting them today, but wasn’t sure how they were to arrive. When I got a call from our post master, she said I had a package which needed to be signed for. I assumed it was the chisels.

When she lifted the box, it was obviously much heavier than two chisels would be, and didn’t look like it was from Lie-Nielson.  Hmm…a mystery.

It was from Canada, which added to the suspense. I lifted the package and it was heavy and I heard the sound of something made of  metal inside.  A mystery package with something made of metal?  I got very excited. The lady waiting behind me in line giggled.  I said, “I think someone who reads my blog has sent me some tools?!”

I didn’t recognize the name though. This was quite exciting. The post master let me use her scissors and I opened it. What a find! Inside there were four hand planes.  Actually they were three hand planes and a spokeshave.  My new tool friends were a Stanley 45, a Stanley 50, a Stanley 78, and a Stanley 80.  The Stanley 45 also had a box with all sorts of blades in it, the 50 had some blades too.  This was incredible.

When I got home, I laid them on the floor. Then I called my mom, and read her the letter.  It was from a gentleman who wrote that he read my blog and that he collects hand planes.  He has a bunch of them and decided that I could use these.  He also explained that he believed in the “Pass It Forward” idea.

After I hung up, I couldn’t focus on work anymore. So I laid down on the floor and looked at them, something I haven’t done since Christmas 1979, with my Legos. I played with them a little, turning knobs, and generally just looking over every detail.

I called mom back. She volunteers at a place that feeds the needy. I asked if they have anything coming up soon, and they do. She was happy to add me to the list of volunteers for this coming Saturday.  I will think of two more ways to pay it forward.  Maybe I can make something, using my planes, and donate them to a good cause?  I don’t know, I will have to give it some thought.

Next, I went outside, and my neighbor was sitting on her porch with her sister. I told them about my present. They were very excited too. I then realized that I not only was sent 4 hand planes, but a bunch of future blog posts too, as I sharpen them, use them, and generally get a better understanding of each one.  It was the gift of future writing.

Now it was time to introduce the new tools to the family.  Before I introduced them, I went down stairs and told everyone that we have some new friends joining us.  There was a good deal of enthusiasm, especially among the planes.  Most people don’t realize that, in the wild, hand planes and spokeshaves, prefer to travel in groups.  My little family of planes was especially giddy at the thought of some new members to the tribe.

We cleaned up a bit, before the guests arrived.   The workbench was cleaned off, some thing were straightened up, and all the planes were made ready.  The leader of the plane tribe is the Old English Hand plane.  He is the most outgoing and a natural leader.  So he prepared a brief speech to welcome our new friends from the north.

While he worked on his speech, I went and got our guests.  I explained that I was a new woodworker and that my hand plane tribe was small, but that they were very friendly.

I took them to the shop and introductions were made.  The speech was given and everyone hit it off immediately.  The biggest hit at the party was the Stanley 45, who is named Guy.  The Stanley 110 and 220 were especially impressed with all of Guy’s bling (blades).  Wayne (Stanley 50) and Mario (Stanley 78) hung out and chatted with the Jack planes.  The very suave Maurice, his friends call him ‘The Rocket’ (Stanley 80), was smitten with Manon Rheaume (she is the Stanley 51), they mostly hung out in the corner and spoke in whispered tones.


It was a good day.  I would like to thank my reader and friend from Canada.  I hope you are happy with the names I have given your planes.  I will do my best to ‘Pass it Forward’ in such a way as to do your generosity proud.

p.s.  My generous benefactor is a collector/woodworker named Perry, he hangs out at Lumberjocks and goes by Canadianchips.  I wanted to get permission before I mentioned his name, hence the p.s. to tonight’s blog.  Canada and Perry rock!

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