Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator


Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.


Sauer and Steiner

Subscribe to Sauer and Steiner feed
Updated: 1 hour 41 min ago

prototype planes for sale

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 12:15pm

When Joe Steiner and I started making planes we had a few simple goals - we wanted to make our own planes for our own use, and we had to have fun doing it. That was well before it turned into a business.

Once it turned into a business, those two goals remained, and we decided to keep the prototypes of each model for ourselves - that way, we would still end up ‘making our own planes’. We each have our own unique serial number, mine is KPXX-XX. The KP is for Konrad’s Plane, the next 2 digits are for the plane number, and the last 2 digits are for the year it was made. So, the first plane I made is stamped KP01-01 for the first plane, made in 2001.

The last serial number I stamped on one of my own planes was KP46-16. Yeah, that’s right... 46 planes. I was talking with a friend about it earlier this week, and he very politely asked how many of the 46 planes I actually use. I laughed and told him that quite a few of them sit idle in drawers. His response was perfect... he just said, ‘oh’ and let the question linger.

It has been lingering ever since, and I have come to the conclusion that these planes deserve to be used and not sit in the bottom of my bench drawers.

Six years ago, before I started the K-series of planes, I would have never considered selling any of the prototypes. They were my working planes and I was quite attached to them. As time has gone on, and as the K-series has grown, my attachment to these earlier planes has decreased. Largely because I essentially have 2 full sets of planes - the more traditional set, and the K-series. The K-series has become much more personal to me - it is a better representation of my own design aesthetic, and they represent what I feel are improvements to the traditional planes from an ergonomic standpoint.

These prototype planes are the ones I learned to make planes on. Several of them have minor variations. They also represent an interesting ‘type study’ - with changes that have evolved over time. I am not going to make any changes to any of them unless the buyer is interested in it. That work will be done free of charge. For example, the front bun on the Ebony filled A1 panel plane has quite sharp corners. This was a really early plane, and very shortly after, I modified the design to look and feel like the ones on the African Blackwood A2 jointing plane. If the new owner would like the corners rounded over - I am happy to do it. If you are interested in a particular plane, let me know and I can let you know which, if any, aspects have changed and we can take it from there.

No.4 smoother
- serial No. KP20-05
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 7-1/2" long, 01 tool steel sole
- 2" wide, high carbon steel blade (from Ron Hock)
- 52.5 degree bed angle
- East Indian Rosewood infill (I will verify)
- $2,500 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

(Another) No.4 smoother
- serial No. KP18-05 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 7-1/2" long, 01 tool steel sole
- 2-1/4" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 50 degree bed angle
- African Blackwood infill
- $2,500 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

This plane is very wide and should only be purchased by someone with large hands. It has been nicknamed the ’zamboni’ by a friend of mine in Oregon.

(the soles of the two No.4’s for comparison)

No.A6 smoother
- serial No. KP12-03 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 01 tool steel sole
- 2-1/4" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- East Indian Rosewood infill
- $3,950 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

This plane has an Iles adjuster - a very early plane that was made before Joe and I started making our own adjusters. This plane does not have the tops of the sidewalls rounded over either, and I would suggest at a minimum, rounding over the edges of the infill of the front bun and transition the rounding into the lower area of the sidewall. It will change the patina of the bronze, but it will darken soon enough. Or it could be left alone - I used it like this for years.

No.A5 smoother
- serial No. KP19-05 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 01 tool steel sole
- 2-1/4" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- Honduran Rosewood infill
- $4,250 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

There isn’t much to apologize for with this plane, and is one of two that will be the toughest to let go. It was a workhorse. This has one of our adjusters in it, although the threads are not as new as they once were - a decade of people using the adjuster without loosening the lever cap screw has caused a bit of wear. I would also round over the inside corners of the front bun where the sidewall transitions.


No.A1 panel plane (14-3/4" long)
- serial No. KP15-03 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 01 tool steel sole
- 2-1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade (7/32" thick)
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- Ebony infill
- $4,750 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

This plane also has an Iles adjuster - another very early plane. As mentioned above, this plane has very sharp corners on the top of the front bun. I have debated on rounding these over for many, many years, but always thought I should leave them as they represent part of the evolution. But for someone else, I would really consider rounding them over to be more like the Blackwood A2 jointer - it will be a lot more comfortable.

No.1R rebate panel plane (15-1/2" long)
- serial No. KP35-11
- 01 tool steel sides and sole
- bronze lever cap and lever cap screw
- 2-1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- Brazilian Rosewood infill
- $4,650 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

A rebate panel plane, inspired by an uncommon plane made by Stewart Spiers - shown on page 76 in Nigel Lampert’s 1998 book on Spiers. There were a few modifications - thicker sidewalks, increased surface area of the sidewall that connects the front and back of the plane, and I pinned the lever cap instead of making it removable. This was the prototype plane and has been unused since 2011.
Ideally, this one will be easier to keep in Canada given that Brazilian is listed on CITIES appendix 1, but I can get an export permit for it as I have documentation for the wood.

No.A2 jointing plane (22-1/2" long)
- serial No. KP23-05 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 01 tool steel sole
- 2-5/8" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- African Blackwood infill
- $6,650 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

This will be the single hardest plane to let go. It has sat on the right side of my bench for over 12 years, always within arms reach. It has been to countless shows and planed countless feet of wood. It has one of our own adjusters in it and works wonderfully.

No.7 Norris type shoulder plane
- serial No. KP24-05 
- bronze sides and keeper
- 8" long, 01 tool steel sole
- 1-1/4" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 20 degree bed angle
- Brazilian Rosewood infill

The Norris shoulder plane is the closest I have ever come to copying an original design. I had always loved this design, and Joel at Tools for Working wood was kind enough to scan his original Norris that I used to create the drawings. Another work horse for me with some really striking Brazilian Rosewood infill. Ideally, this one will be easier to keep in Canada given that Brazilian is listed on CITIES appendix 1, but I can get an export permit for it as I have documentation for the wood.

No.3 rebate plane
- serial No. KP21-05 
- bronze sides and keeper
- 9" long, 01 tool steel sole
- 1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 28.5 degree bed angle
- Kingwood infill
- $1,950 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

I had made a set of rebate planes very early one (they will be the next items in this list) and I wanted to make one with bronze sides - this was that plane. A great rebate plane that I used more than I ever thought I would. 

No.3 rebate plane (1/2", 3/4", 1" and 1-1/4" wide)
- serial No. KP06-02 thru KP09-02 
- 9" long, mild steel sides and sole
- high carbon steel blades from Ray Iles
- 28.5 degree bed angle
- Cocobolo infill
- $1,700 Cdn each + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

These were the first joinery planes I made and are really, really early. They have blades from Ray Iles and are made with mild steel as opposed to 01 tool steel. They show the fact that they are early planes, but are totally functional and were used often. Most of them have a gap where the sole meets the sidewall under the blade. I will point it out in the photo below. This isn’t a functional issue, but is not as tidy and is evidence of ‘learning to make planes’. They are discounted accordingly.

(the small gap where the sole meets the side shown above and below)

(Another ‘eccentricity’ I hadn’t noticed before... I filed a single rounded
chamfer termination in one corner of the 1/2" rebate plane)

If you are interested, please send me an email, konrad@sauerandsteiner.com.

Also, for any American customers, keep in mind that the exchange rate is in your favour at the moment - take roughly 25% off these prices for USD. I can figure out the exact exchange rate at the time of purchase.

Categories: Hand Tools

The first customer set of KS shoulder planes

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 6:46am

When I injured my shoulder last Decemeber, I was 96% of the way through a set of KS shoulder planes. I was on a roll, I was totally in the zone and it all came to a grinding halt. All that remained were the chamfers on the smallest size - the KS.5.

I walked past that plane for months, wondering and waiting for the day that I could get back to working on it. I knew I wasn’t ready most of the time, but there was a moment where frustration (and my shoulder) started to feel like the time was getting close.

There were 2 issues I was wrestling with. The first is that chamfers do not leave much margin for error - mistakes at the chamfer stage are catastrophic. The other issue is working steel is much harder than working with bronze.

I started working on a customers plane - a bronze sided XSNo.4 (the one in the previous post). This gave me the confidence to know that I was well enough to do the chamfering, so I slowly started into it. It went very well, and in a few days, was applying the first coat of french polish - an exciting stage of any plane build.

I was also really worried that the chamfers on the last plane would not match the first 4. I knew my pace and method of work had changed significantly and wasn’t sure if that would factor in or not. I am thankful that pace and strength didn’t seem to change anything. It was a real thrill to be able to unite the full set of completed planes.

This set is infilled with quarter sawn Desert Ironwood - a stunning material that has become very popular. I will post some photos of these along side my own African Blackwood prototype set for comparison. There is a link under pricing (to the right) that gives the specs as well as some photos of the Blackwood set.

The top view shows the effects of scaling the set. 

Categories: Hand Tools

A very special XSNo.4 and modifying the bucket list

Sat, 06/03/2017 - 12:46pm

A little over a month ago I took a deep breath and started working on a new plane for a very patient customer. All of my customers have been incredibly patient as I recover from my shoulder injury - it has been much appreciated.

This plane was a perfect one to work on - the bronze sides are a lot easier to work than steel, and it is not so big or heavy that my weak shoulder will be stressed from the weight.

I started working for 20 minutes a day, and stopped regardless of how my shoulder felt. It seemed like such an insignificant amount of time, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get things done in 20 minute windows. It also allowed me to spend some time setting up my camera and filming video clips of the process - you can find them on my instagram feed.

My shoulder specialist felt that this was a sound approach to getting back to work and said that if I feel fine the day after my 20 minute workout - that I could continue with another 20 minutes. If there was pain from the previous day, take a day off. I needed to take one day off between piening - something that was a serious concern. The pronation of my left hand is still very poor, so controlling a ballpien hammer and striking a very small target gave me serious stomach acid.

It went very slowly, and the rhythm was off, but I was able to do it - I was very relieved.

I have been able to increase the time up to about an hour to and hour and a half depending on how intense the work is. It still feels depressingly slow, but it is improving which is ultimately all I can hope for.

There is more to the story of this plane, but I will reveal the final chapter once it has safely arrived to its new owner.

I have had a life-long love of Porsche’s, but my experience with them has been extremely limited. I was the passenger in one a few years ago... that was the first time I sat in one.  

Two weekends ago, I was in Amana Iowa attending HandWorks - the finest handtool woodworking event there is. A friend drove up in his 1970’s Targa and handed me a small box - pictured above.

I suspect the look on my face was priceless when I realized what it was. His reply was simple and incredible, ‘I wanted to get you started on your first part’. I was floored. Incredibly thoughtful and generous beyond words. That hood emblem turned out to be a bit of a warm up - striking something from my bucket-list - driving a 911.

Two other friends had recently acquired 911’s and were eager for me to see them - and the offer of driving one was extended. To say I was excited was a gross understatement... I was rather delirious... but also nervous that all the hype I had created since I was 15 couldn’t possibly live up. 

Boy, was I wrong. I had heard lots of people use the expression, ‘it corners like it is on rails’... I had always thought this was just a figure of speech... to make the point that they handle really well. Turns out - it does drive like it is on rails. Real rails. The owner of the car sat beside me and coached me along - which was really, really valuable and insightful... his most common 2 phrases were, ‘now let it out!’, and ‘you’re holding back aren’t you?’ It took me a while to unlearn driving our stick-shift Volkswagen Tiguan and drive this 1983 911 like it was meant to be driven... and I suspect I still had a long way to go.  Going 60 miles an hour in second around corners was not something I was used to - it was incredible. The sound, the vibrations you can feel through your body, the feedback - it was all amazing and unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

The first outing was about 1/2 long, and my heart was still racing when the other 911 pulled in. The keys were exchanged, and I was asked if I wanted to take that one out. A couple of slow-motion eye blinks and were were off again. I was a little more calm this time and (I think) drove a little more comfortably. Still cautious - but I wasn’t freaking out as much. We came back 1/2 hour later and I felt completely exhausted mentally - but in that really good way. I had just removed something that had been on my bucket list for decades... and it exceeded all my expectations.  The trouble is... I am now officially ruined, and as I removed one thing off the bucket list... I fear I have added something... find a 911.

(These are the two 911’s I had the pleasure of driving)

I had shipped a crate of Brazilian Rosewood sticks to Jameel Abraham to make available at HandWorks. Quite a few of them sold, but there were a few remaining which Jameel has generously offered to distribute as required. The sticks are 1-1/6" square and 20" long. These were cut in 1966 by C.F. Martin as ‘off-cuts’ from cutting acoustic guitar backs and sides. My best guess is they were cut for the pool cue industry.


These sticks are $40 USD each and if you are interested, let me know and I can make arrangements to get them to you. All the CITIES export/import paperwork is available as well, so if you are a toolmaker or knife maker and want to use these in your product, you will have what you need to legally re-export them.  konrad@sauerandsteiner.com
Categories: Hand Tools

Blasted p1800s!

Sun, 04/16/2017 - 12:38pm

For the last few weeks, the grade 12 class has been diligently working at scraping off all the rubberized undercoating on the car. It was a thankless job, tiring, slow, and frankly, pretty annoying. I was pretty impressed with how they stuck with it and pushed through the pain and suffering.

When the soda blasting guy showed up to see the car for the first time, he commented that we had done a great job getting the ‘stuff’ off. The challenge is that most media will not be able to remove it effectively, and where it blasts off, it will often stick to another close by area... so you can effectively chase it around the car for hours.

The underside of the car pre-blasting...

 ... and after a test to see how things were going to work. It was amazing how fast it was with the right set-up.

There was some concern about the mess and noise, and while it was both messy and noisy - it was not too bad.

We opted not to do the entire car, but the engine bay, the interior, the entire underside and all the seams and any other areas that had rust or repair work that had to be removed, or re-done. If there was good paint adhesion on any of the larger panels, we could scuff sand them ourselves or take them down to bare metal at a later date. 

A detail shot of the seams (click for a larger image).

The underside was the most impressive. There were only a couple of surprises - areas that were a little more rusted that we expected, but for the most part, nothing too major.

In other news, I have started working on planes again - about 15 minutes a day. I was feeling ready to get back at it and figured a very short period of time might be the way to do it. I would work for 15 minutes and regardless of how things felt at the end of that time, I would stop and wait 24 hrs to make sure things were ok. Obviously, if there was any pain, I would stop. I worked most of last week and I have to say it was incredibly rewarding... I had forgotten how much I missed what I had grown so used to doing. It felt great to file again, bend sidewalls and even piening went ok... although I know that is going to be a very challenging task. It may take me several days to pien a shell together, or even longer, but I am going to continue to forge ahead.Thanks to everyone who has called, sent emails, commented on instagram... all the encouragement has been very much appreciated.

I have been posting short videos of this post injury plane build on instagram - here is a link if you want to follow along.

Categories: Hand Tools