Plane and simple

Iíve gotten another assignment to do a tool article on something I rarely use. I love when that happens as it gives me a chance to broaden my skills Ė and play with new toys.

The tools this time around are 3-1/4Ē hand-held power planers, and Iíll be doing a ďmeet the toolĒ kind of an article Ė what is this tool, what can it do, what canít it do, what to look for, that kind of thing. Iíve had a planer for years Ė an older-model Makita my father-in-law gifted me nearly two decades ago. And, although well familiar with its use, I just donít have call to use it all that much. But as Iíve geared up for the article, itís starting to come back to me just how much fun these planers are to use.

I look at using tools I often neglect much in the same way as other things I like, but tend to forget. For example, I make the trip from here to Cincinnati to visit family several times a years and I always take the fastest, most direct way (which is always the easiest way, since it seems that truckers arenít aware of this route). But there are about four other ways I can go, and sometimes just to change things up Iíll take one of those alternate routes and be surprised how enjoyable they are. Sure, theyíre slightly longer, but far more scenic and with cooler things to stop and visit along the way than my regular fast route.

The same is true in the shop. I love my random orbit sander, but when I was out of a particular grit of discs recently I got out my sanding block and went to town doing it by hand. Took a little longer, but Iíd forgotten the pure, tactile enjoyment of hand sanding.

I still donít have a lot of call to use a power planer, but as I unbox these shiny, new machines for testing and photo setups it occurs to me Iím not playing with new toys at all. Iím having a good time with some old friends.

Whatís the point here? Simple. Take a look around your shop and donít stop looking till you find something you havenít used in a long while. It could be that you have a new one of whatever it is and just stopped using the old one. Or, maybe itís something you just havenít done in a while like dovetails, which has left that dovetail jig gathering dust.

Whatever it is, get it out and put it to use. Iím betting itíll bring back some good times.

Youíre welcome.

Till next time,

A.J.

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