I seem to have slipped slightly into tool cleaning mode. It's no Bad Thing, 'cos there are a lot of tools skulling about waiting to be cleaned, so I seize it with both hands and gladsome cries. The latest victim is the remnants of a Record #043 grooving plane. Possibly my favourite plane ever - certainly my favourite plough/combi. I only bought it for the depth stop with a view to replace the long-missing one on my old man's model. That'd be the one I've appropriated to my own use... Ha hum. Anyway, I'd had a vague thought to ruthlessly experiment and apply a hack saw to turn it into a bullnose plough, which is probably sacrilege especially given it's an older model than my dad's, but then my dad's has sentimental value and all its parts apart from the depth stop. This one had no cutter clamp, no cutters, and now no depth stop. However, salvation appeared in the form of an offer of a cutter clamp from M. Suddenly I have a plane with a future and I can't take any kind of saw to it at all.
So instead I felt I better clean it, including removing the red paint from the donated cutter clamp. Fleetingly I wondered if it was red 'cos it's from a rarer Marples incarnation of a #043 or #044 - but the drips made that unlikely, so I quashed the thought and started to do bad things with a Dremel. Yes, friends, your Tool Conservation Candidate did many Bad and Insensitive Things to this plane in a quest to Best the Rust in Haste. I'm not proud, but at least it's escaped the hacksaw, so it can't really complain...
The result is shiny, out of focus , but more importantly - usable. Once I've made a depth stop and found some cutters at any rate. My old beech fence face, usurped by my Crimbo pressie lignum vitae one, was found to have the screw holes in not quite the right places, but a bradawl can do wonders... Somewhere I have the remains of the right size silver steel for some shorter fence rods, which will improve it hand over fist too.
Meanwhile, when I'm not butchering the finish on innocent planes, I'm delving deep into my back issues of Good Woodworking, and more specifically the John Brown files. I have a strange and growing desire to make a chair. Cynics may put it down to chairmaking needing specialised tools I don't possess and point out the caveat in my recent New Year's Resolution to buy timber and not tools unless there was a pressing need for one that I couldn't solve with my current kit. But naturally I totally refute such allegations. Oh yes indeedy. No, it's the birthday present issue again. #2 nephew is due to reach the dizzy heights of 18 years old in May, and auntie must come up with The Goods. #1 nephew, sometime reader and butt of jokes on this very Blog, had the not-at-all-famous Music Stand of Myth and Legend on his eighteenth. I have the wherewithall already in the timber store to do similarly for #2 - but despite assurances from his nearest and dearest that music is as dear to his heart, I have nagging doubts. From personal observation, sitting down seems to be a much more favoured hobby. Hence the nagging chair thing. Of course if he reads this Blog too, the whole thing is blown sky high. But I doubt he does, and if he does - for heaven's sakes, R, tell me which you'd prefer! Maybe I'll order JB's Welsh Stick Chairs anyway, just for interest. I mean it's not actually a tool is it?
Anyone know where to buy a travisher...?