Planemakers’ Roundtable from PWIA 2016

planemakers roundtable

Planemaker’s Roundtable panel from PWIA 2016. From left, Raney Nelson, Rick Blaiklock, Caleb James, Konrad Sauer, Thomas Lie-Nielsen and moderator Christopher Schwarz.

The Planemakers’ Roundtable was one of the most popular sessions at Popular Woodworking in America 2016, with discussion topics ranging from metal vs. wood planes, to low-priced knock-offs. Panelists Raney Nelson (Daed Toolworks), Rick Blaiklock (Lee Valley/Veritas), Caleb James (Caleb James Planemaker), Konrad Sauer (Sauer & Steiner Toolworks) and Thomas Lie-Nielsen (Lie-Nielsen Toolworks), with moderator Christopher Schwarz (contributing editor, Popular Woodworking; editor, Lost Art Press) talked for almost two hours on all things planes and planemaking.

We caught a bit of the discussion on video (please forgive the but semi-OK audio; we weren’t able to mic the participants to the camera). Chris noted that the panelists choose different sorts of steel for their respective plane blades, then asked them to discuss their choices. At the end of the day, what’s most important is that all these makers’ blades can be sharpened to a high level, and that they retain a long-lasting edge – but the reasons each maker select one steel configuration over another are fascinating. Have a look.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

P.S. Want to learn more – a lot more – about tool steel and sharpening? Read Ron Hock’s book “The Perfect Edge.”

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