Friday, September 14, 2012

Upcoming Project - Hollows and Rounds from Pear!

You asked for it, you got it!  Photos of the pear wood I recently acquired.

A couple posts back I mentioned I bought some pear wood from the local lumber yard, but had no pictures.  I roughed out a piece from this 7' x 16" 8/4 board about two feet long and 3 1/2 inches wide, enough for two plane blanks:

This is the first time I've worked with pear, and it seems to be beautiful stuff.  I cross-cut a bit off the end with my hand saw, and took it to the woodshop on the Army post where I work.  I roughed out the shape with a band saw and a table saw, and cleaned it up with my new jointer.

I chose pear because a) they had it at the lumber yard, and b) I thought it was so much prettier than beech.

It is long enough for two blanks, with a bit extra to cut the unstable part at the end off.

I got a board directly from the center of the tree, so it is nicely quartersawn.

Unfortunately, the pith goes through the middle of the 16" wide board, so I will get a lot of waste.  But, I think this is one of those things where doing crazy things to try to preserve wood may not be so smart.  I tried to cut this one so the grain goes as straight as possible, parallel to the sole.  This way I should get six blanks just like this out of this board.  That is 12 8/4 blanks.

If I sold these planes for $100 each (which I won't - the plan is to put them in my tool chest and work with them), I would generate $1200 from a $65 piece of wood.  Looked at that way, the cost and the waste isn't too bad.  Ten years from now I won't regret the waste, but I will regret it if there is a giant knot or some crazy grain in the plane I'm trying to use that warps itself out of true.

Now I need to resaw this piece.  That means an appointment at yet another woodshop, as the bandsaw in the Army shop I go to isn't capable of a decent resaw.  Look out, Peter!  Peter's bandsaw did a beautiful job resawing the blank I used for the Krenov style jointer I recently built.

If all works out, I might be able to use the cutoff for another pair of narrow planes., say #2's or so.  The intention is to make a #10 hollow and round pair using the method in Larry Williams' DVD.

Depending on how that goes (I'm nervous about heat treating the irons), I hope to get the following pairs from this board:  #1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14.  Perhaps a rabbet or a pair of snipes bills instead of some of the bigger ones, we'll see.  It also depends if the cut offs will be usable for the narrower planes.

That should keep me busy a while.


  1. When I was in the Navy I spent a lot of time in my base's woodshop. I can't wait to read more about the upcoming plane build.

  2. I think it is a wise way, to sacrifice some wood instead of having made perhaps one extra plane, and having some warp.
    Having a whole set of hollows and rounds in the toolchest, nicely parked next to each other looks SO good.

    Good luck on the project.