Highly Recommended: Catharine Kennedy
This morning has been frustrating. I’ve been scouring the shop for my bradawl, which I’ve owned for ages, but it’s just plain gone. And earlier this fall, one of our students accidentally took my favorite claw hammer home with him (he returned it). And I also lost the very first Starrett 6″ rule I ever
bought when I started woodworking during that same class.
When you travel with your tools, or work with other people, these things happen. That is one of the reasons people stamped their names into their tools.
But I would like someone to try to accidentally take home my jack plane. It’s not going to happen.
Earlier this month I asked Catharine Kennedy to engrave the sidewalls of myType 11 Stanley No. 5. I’ve long admired photos of her craftsmanship that have been posted on various forums, and during a long bus trip with a group of rowdy sixth-graders an idea came to me. No, it didn’t involve a gun or a machete.
I asked Kennedy to engrave the silhouette of the English square I built for the December 2010 issue
onto the sidewalls of the plane. That layout square is part of a larger project I’m working on for next year, and I thought it would be cool to have that symbol engraved on one of the tools in the project.
My gut was to have just a simple engraving. But once Kennedy sent me a sketch of what she wanted to do, I jumped at that.
I’ve had the plane for a few weeks now and have been using it quite a bit on some projects at home. It’s funny, that particular plane is one of my favorite things I own, and I didn’t think I could get more attached. But I have.
The work that Kennedy did is exquisite. The engraving is deep and suits the 19th-century styling of the Bailey plane. The engraving work cost me $350, and if I get a raise next year, you can bet that I’m going to get my smoother and jointer planes done the same way.
Heck, I might even have her try to engrave something on my next bradawl.
To see more of Kennedy’s work, view her impressive woodworking resume and to discuss an engraving job with her, visit her website at catharinekennedy.com.
— Christopher Schwarz