Windgate ITE

The Center For Art in Wood residency program is now well underway. Katie Hundall is the visual documentarian this year (while also making stuff, of course.) You can follow our story on the Residency Blog Katie is regularly updating. It can be found here.

We’re working at the NextFab North facility in our own space and the adjacent common work areas.

The lobby of NextFab where will will be working until the first week of August.
Our private space needed a days work to get in order to accommodate everyone’s mode or working.
The common work space and woodshop at NextFab.
Another view of the common area. Textile and jewelry making spaces are at the left.
I was excited about getting to work on my first project – making a fore plane based on the very few surviving American and English pre-1740 planes examples. I want to experience the differences between this early design and the post industrial planes made in the nineteenth century.
Cutting the abutments that will accept the iron and wedge.
After the iron and wedge are fit to the stock, you get to try it out for the first time. This was an incredible thrill.
The completed fore plane. Sixteen inches long with a new old stock two-inch blade made by Herring & Sons, England, probably in the early twentieth century. The design is based on the planes of two Massachusetts platemakers, Francis Nicholson (1683-1753) and his enslaved African American apprentice and journeyman Cesar Chelor (d. 1784). By the terms of Francis Nicholson’s will, Chelor was manumitted in 1753 and went into the plane-making business for himself. Francis Nicholson is the earliest documented plane maker in America. Cesar Chelor is the earliest documented Black toolmaker in America
I have no doubt this is what John head’s fore plane looked like. The first plane picked up and used on rough sawn boards.
There is an Open Studio Day for the Windgate ITE Fellowship at NextFab on July 9th where you can come and see what we’ve been up to.

4 thoughts on “Windgate ITE

  1. It would be an interesting experiment to take a radius off of one of John Head’s backboards or something for the camber of the iron. Sometimes the work I’ve seen shows very slight camber, but other times it is quite stark. Moxon describes trying with a foreplane as starting off with a very rank set iron, and backing it off gradually, but I also wonder if it isn’t a bit easier to just keep two foreplanes on hand, one more fore than the other.

    • The camber on the iron I shaped is similar to the marks you find on Head’s backboards and drawer bottoms. It’s somewhere in the middle of the camber profiles I’ve seen on historic woodwork. It’s difficult to see evidence that a woodworker backed off a fore plane iron while working as all woodworking is reductive. I doubt, however, that anyone worked as Moxon describes, it just doesn’t make sense from a woodworking perspective. You remove saw marks and do initial thickening with a fore plane then use a try plane with a slight camber to finish the surface. If there is more than one fore plane listed in a joiners inventory it is surely for the use of apprentices and journeymen.
      Thanks for the question!

  2. Hi Chris,

    That’s really a neat project. I’m looking forward to your post reviewing and contrasting your plane with the later models. By the way, what wood did you use for your plane?

    Frank Duff

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