Thursday, January 8, 2015

Recently Completed Brute, the Web Page is Back Up and Changes

I've not posted to this blog for a while and I apologize for the hiatus. We are on a schedule where we either have all our kids, spouses and grandchildren here for Christmas or non of them. This was the year we had everyone and we were very busy making plans, arrangements and accommodations.

Having a full to overflowing house gets a bit chaotic but we certainly have fun and when they all return home we miss the laughter that fills our home during their visits.

This year was a bit special because the Mason Family was preparing to move to London, England and that means the Grand Darlings will be an entire very large Atlantic ocean away. Thay have in fact made that move this past week and the grand darlings have already started at their new school in London. You can probably tell from the look on Maggie's face that she is not altogether thrilled with the hat part of her new school uniform, Katherine however is "rockin it".

It's a bit painful to me and Julie to know that we can't just get in the car and drive to Atlanta to see them. But life offers opportunity just so many times so they are off to a new life adventure and as much as we do not enjoy them being so far away we know that their life will be enriched by the experience. In this case you just have to let go.

To get a small glimpse of what Christmas is like in Georgia check out the video below. We do things a bit differently here for the holidays and sometimes we're even lucky enough to have weather that allows us to do these things outdoors. You'll want to change the quality setting to 720p for the best viewing experience.

Even though I received a flu shot in early fall I was besot by that unwelcome illness just as everyone was returning home. This kept me out of the shop for several days but this past week I've managed to complete a Brute shooting plane I had in process and make considerable progress on several other tools on my bench.

The web page is back up after being down for close to 3 days. We were obviously not the only ones affected by the domain verification requirements. When I tried to contact my web host to resolved the issue I was required to stay on "Ignore" or as some folks refer to it as "Hold" for quite a while in order to speak to a human being. Once contact was made the problem was solved rather quickly. As my friend Jon Fiant was would say, that's "one less thing". His favorite line from the movie "Forrest Gump".

We have made some changes to the way we conduct business at Brese Plane. We have changed pay systems. Because our transactions are much simpler and fewer than many businesses we decided we no longer really needed a shopping cart per se. Most of our transactions were usually for only one item at at time and for the few times we need a multiple item transaction we can certainly make other arrangements.

 We have also lowered the deposit amount required to place an order. Most planes now only require a deposit of $200.00 in order to secure a place in the cue. The only exception to this is the 125-38SBP (Brute) plane. It requires a deposit amount of $600.00 because we tend to turn those around in less time because that product is usually purchased along with a related product from Vogt Toolworks.

I hope everyone enjoyed their family and friends during the holiday season as much as we did. We wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

We have not participated in a major woodworking event in several years now.  The next big event for us is Handworks coming up in May. If you look at the list of vendors and demonstrators schedule to be there, it's shaping up to be quite the event. Hope to see you there.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Web Site Problems

I've been notified as of this morning that the Brese Plane web page is not available. If you enter into your browser the result will most likely say that the web page is not available or does not exist.

The web page does exist and I believe this is an issue with domain verification. I will be contacting my web host to resolved this issue and hope to have the web page available asap.

I am here, making planes and will be blogging again soon,

Sorry for the inconvenience,


Friday, November 21, 2014

T-Shirts are Back

The Brese Plane "Just a Plane T-Shirt" is once again available. At one point we had discontinued offering the shirts even though we were still shipping them to customers that ordered planes and sometimes including them with planes as they were shipped.

We have restocked them in the Old Gold color and decided to offer them once again. These are heavy weight t-shirts of very nice quality.

Available on this blog page, see buy buttons below, and on the Brese Plane Web site Apparel page.

 1 ea. for $18.95 shipping included in the conus or anywhere a flat rate USPS package goes

Qty 1 Select Size Below

2 ea. for $34.95 shipping included in the conus or anywhere a flat rate USPS package goes

Qty 2 Select Size Below


"Don't let schooling interfere with your education", Mark Twain

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sometime Opportunity Knocks at Exactly the Wrong Time, Part 2

In an earlier blog post I featured the acquisition of a 1966 Powermatic 90 lathe that seem to make itself available at a time when the last thing I needed to do was stop to purchase a major piece of machinery. However It was apparent that I would be needing to upgrade my capability in a turning machine and sometimes you have to react when the right machine presents itself whether it's a convenient time or not.

The picture below shows the lathe as I received it. Not bad really but missing a few key components. It had received a paint job sometime in it's life in a high school shop and it was obvious that it was done by a student who was assigned the job for disciplinary reasons.

Don Gieger of Geiger solutions knows a lot of people in the turning community and he was kind enough to make a few phone calls in an attempt to locate a PM 90 tailstock for my lathe. He was successful and not only did he find one, it was for sale and it was in Atlanta less than 2 hours drive from me. That was the good news. The bad news is I paid more for the tailstock than I did the entire machine and it was a rusty nugget that needed a complete restoration including straightening the scroll screw.

The problem with having a fairly small work facility is there is no room for extra machines to await attention. When I bring something of this size into the shop I have to make time to do what needs to be done to make it serviceable so that I don't have to navigate around it for a month. Fortunately I sold my old lathe the next day.

I turned the knobs I would need for the planes I had in process at that time and then broke down the machine to do the functional part of the restoration. New headstock bearings, new 3 phase motor driven by VFD,  and new drive pulleys and belts. Yes my New/Old lathe would have digital variable speed in lieu of a Reeves drive.

While everything was apart for the functional repairs it made sense to go ahead with the cosmetic part of the restoration. No need to have to take it back apart again for painting.

Even though the paint it had received at the hands of the student was certainly not the neatest paint job I've seen it did however adhere very well so I just sanded the old paint, applied primer and 2 coats of the final color which is Rustoleum Sage Green.

I replaced all the assembly hardware. I purchased button socket head screws in a black oxide finish. I then polished the heads of the screws and applied gun bluing twice polishing them with steel wool between applications. Then I polished them on my buffer until I had something that looked like black chrome.  I acquired red fiber washers to accent the black.

I have the drive set up for a speed range that suits most of the work I turn on a regular basis. If I decide to branch into turning larger diameter items I may have to add a lower speed range option.

I found the outboard hand wheel on the auction site. Those do come available periodically. The PM 90 tail stocks not so much. Finally all the pieces of the puzzle were back together.

Even though this machine came along at exactly the wrong time and imposed on my shop schedule more than I wished I'm quite please with the end results of this restoration. Its ready to use and it resides in a permanent place in the shop. My shop has regained it's organization and I'm once again able to concentrate on plane making.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Lately at Brese Plane

I've not posted any new info on this blog in a while. I apologize for that but really it just means I've been quite busy.

As always work on planes is a constant and ongoing endeavor and the most recent plane completed is a custom version of the Winter Panel Plane.

The customer requested this plane with a plane body made from 440C stainless steel.

The brass bits of this plane were polished to a satin finish and then oiled and cured in my drying kiln. It makes the brass much less of a maintenance issue.

The wooden bits are Desert Iron wood. This is certainly a challenging wood to work. Besides the odd smell it requires much more diligence. It seems every process with this material takes 3 times longer as compared with other dense hardwoods.

There is nothing that looks quite like Desert Iron Wood. As I have often said, the results are worth the effort.


The quotable quote this week is from my 7 year old Granddarling even though she may have picked up this saying from her mother.

"You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit",     Katherine Mason

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Studley Exhibit at Handworks 2015, Not Sold least not yet

Issues with the web page for buying tickets for the Studley display at Handworks 2015 has led some to believe that the event was sold out the first day. Not so.

Follow the link below to Don William's blog for an explanation:


We learn from history that we do not learn from history.
   ~ George Wilhelm Hegel

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sometimes Opportunity Knocks at Exactly the Wrong Time

During the period of time when I made furniture on a full time basis I was not much of an enthusiast about turning. Basically I did what turning I had to do and I wasn't very accomplished so you could say that I had the ability to worry things into the shape that I wanted because I certainly could not say that I was very accomplished at these task.

Because I wasn't that interested in turning I didn't invest much in turning equipment or tools. I was working on a Grizzly 14 x 40 lathe that wasn't a bad machine but most seasoned turners would have laughed at the prospect of that being a proper lathe. I had mounted this lathe to a large cabinet made from plywood and also made a bed extension in order to increase it's between center capacity. Other than that it was what it was. The truth of the matter is that I did a lot of good work on that lathe. It now belongs to someone else and I'm sure it will serve them well also.

Fast forward several years and I find myself having designed a line of planes that require a custom front knob. Obviously I have to turn them. After a certain amount of time turning knobs I became a more proficient turner. That spurred an interest in turning other objects and so I set about making Shaker style stools for my grandchildren and other assorted items.

A couple of months ago my friend Charlie Levan took delivery of a Robust American Beauty lathe. I showed up one fine day along with several others to help put that machine into his shop. It then occurred to me that there were much better machines available for turning and if the opportunity arose I should probably consider the acquisition of a better lathe.

Of all the older machines I saw that were available the Powermatic 90 lathe appealed to me most and among the knowledgable people on the OWWM forum this lathe seems to have a formidable reputation as a fine machine. The other fact is there were many of these lathes in school shops because they were built like tanks and the kids couldn't hurt them.

As I began my informal search it seemed that most of the lathes in good condition were at least a 2 or 3 day drive from my location. I figured I didn't have one the day before so it wasn't a big deal if I didn't find one in short order and I really didn't want to drive for 2 days to see a lathe and then decided I did not want it.

As luck would have it a machine came up in an auction from the Dekalb County school system in Atlanta. An equipment dealer in Stone Mountain Ga. had purchased this and many other machines. This machine was only an hour and a half driving time from me, however it wasn't running and it did not have a tailstock.

Fortunately there is a lot of information about this machine online and I started researching this machine thoroughly. I had a pretty good idea what was wrong with this machine before I actually went to see it in person. I also knew that as long as the spindle was in good shape I could always convert this machine with new drive components driven by a 3 phase motor controlled by a variable frequency drive.

If course there was always a possibility that I could have been paying a premium price for a large bit of scrap metal and of course this opportunity came up at the worst possible time given my schedule for producing planes at the time. I finally decided it would only take half of a day to have a look and transport this machine home. As you can see in the above pictures of the lathe in my truck, that's exactly what happen. The dealer sweetened the deal considerably given that the machine was not running and because there were a few missing parts. I was now the new owner of a machine made in 1966 and the cost of this machine at that time was about the same as an automobile. Try wrapping your head around that one. A lathe and a 1966 Mustang having a similar price tag.

The lathe sat covered in the back of my truck for 2 days before I finally was able to get it up on casters and rolled into the shop. Once in the shop I had to return my focus to plane making for several days in order to keep my commitments to my customers.

The next weekend I spent a Saturday morning trouble shooting the lathe. It was actually simpler than I thought. The inline switch was faulty and as soon as I bypassed that switch and put the speed control lever in the correct position the lathe started right up.

The lathe needed a few more tweaks to get it ready for use and I spent some spare time over the last couple of weeks getting those completed. I made a on/off switch enclosure with a magnetic base so it can attached to the late virtually anywhere there is ferrous metal, I installed a new belt and put the lathe on a mobile base. The base has a capacity of 600 lbs. I'm obviously very close to the limit on the base because I have to use a block and a pry bar to get it up on the wheels to make it mobile and I also have to let it down using the same block and pry bar lest it come down with a bang.

Turning on a lathe of this quality is a real pleasure and I'm now glad I took the time to seize the day on this tool, and luckily it looks as if I have found a tailstock.


The secret to getting ahead is getting started, Mark Twain