Chris Schwarz's Blog

That's Not a Collection; It's a Large Working Set

A lot of people ask to see my tool collection. I tell them I don’t have one , I’m a user, not a collector. If I say that again, however, I’ll be a liar.

Somehow during the last few months I’ve started acquiring edge-trimming planes. I’ve owned a Lie-Nielsen version , a right-handed copy of the Stanley No. 95 , for many years, and that was all this woodworker needed.

But this spring I heard Thomas Lie-Nielsen tell the story of how he got started in the plane-making business in the 1980s to a group of students at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. I’d heard the story before: Lie-Nielsen began making the edge-trimming plane after picking up the business from machinist Ken Wisner.

This time, the story was different because one of the students at the school (Jeff Skiver) brought one of the Wisner planes to the class to show. (You can read about his plane in a blog entry I wrote in April.) As I held the little sucker, I thought it would be cool to own one of these Wisner planes as a piece of modern planemaking history.

So I started trolling eBay with little luck. Meanwhile, we got the new Veritas versions of the edge-trimming plane in iron, and (mystery of mysteries) those ended up in my tool chest. Then I stumbled upon an AMT version of the tool for sale that I couldn’t pass up. The AMT version is, by the way, a complete piece of dung. Its red velvet bag is nice, however.

I knew I had crossed over when I started regretting not buying the stainless steel version of the plane that Veritas offered but is now sold out.

And this week, I finally got my Wisner.

Thanks to some help from Skiver, I found an eBay auction for a Wisner plane and snagged it for a fair price. When it arrived, I was thrilled with it. Not only is it well made, but it is the first used tool I’ve ever bought that came perfectly sharp and ready to go. That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news: My Wisner plane has an iron body with a brass lever cap. So now I’m going to have to look for a Wisner with a bronze body. And the Veritas version in bronze.

And that stainless Veritas plane. Curses.

– Christopher Schwarz

7 thoughts on “That's Not a Collection; It's a Large Working Set

  1. Jeff Skiver

    Dang it, Chris…

    I didn’t realize that Wisner I pointed you to was iron. I would have grabbed it for myself.

    I didn’t even know there were Iron Wisners.

    I suppose, though, that in this case I should follow the code of "the Wingman." If you score with a chick (I mean plane) that I pointed out to you…I am not allowed to complain if I later find out she is much hotter than I originally thought.

    So enjoy your Iron Maiden.

  2. Barry Johnson

    And I thought I was the only person that collected them. I have all models produced by Lee Valley.

    I bought the LV bronze because it was just nicer looking than the current metal version at the time with same blade adjustment mechanism(my fingers).

    Then they released the updated metal version in both hands, obviously I had to have them just in case of grain direction issues.

    Then that evil man that runs LV had to release that incredible looking SS version, how could I not have it.

    Take solace in the fact that you are not alone…

    Barry

  3. Rob Porcaro

    Chris,

    This is good, you are coming close to admitting you have a problem, which as we all know is the first step in treatment. By chance, yesterday I posted the remedy to the affliction you manifest.

    If you feel ready, go to this link: http://www.rpwoodwork.com/blog/?p=105

    And remember, you’ve got friends in this. There’s help available.

    Rob

  4. Karl

    Does your wife belong to the local chapter of WACS? Or maybe she should start a group called WAJS (Wives Against Jeff Skiver) since he is obviously abbetting you in this…

    In any case, I think you need an "intervention". Just remember what to say when they come for you: "I don’t have a problem, I can stop any time I want to"

    😉

    And Gary: if Chris provides the study you request, then it’s not a collection, it’s a research project. Brilliant.

  5. Gary Roberts

    I assume we can expect an Edge Trimming Block Plane study in the near future? Something comparing and delineating makes, models, variations, etc? Oh, sorry, I forgot. You’re not a collector…

Comments are closed.