This plane came about in 1986 when I was teaching a class alongside Mike Dunbar’s Windsor chair class at Ernie Conover’s School. From time to time I would check on progress, or listen in on Mike’s directions. Making the characteristic Windsor seat occupied a good deal of students’ time, and involved hand tools unique to the trade. One such tool was this compass plane. I happened to have an extra block plane made by the German ECE Company with me, so I borrowed Mike’s little compass plane as a model for this cut down block plane.
Beyond the Straight Surface
Various tools are used to shape curved surfaces. The straight chisel is curved side to side in the gouge, or bent up in the hollow. The draw knife is curved round to make the inshave or scorp. The plane has three variations to allow the blade to follow a depression. Two of these have short soles with handles to both sides, the spokeshave and the travisher are shown as projects later in this book. The third is the compass plane which modifies the straight soled block plane. Curve the sole front to back and create a hollow used by wheelwrights and coopers. Curve the sole side to side and make a round as in molding planes, or the boat wright’s spar plane. Combine both front and back and side to side curves in the sole and you have a compass plane.