I’m an oak man

I have lots of planes. Ones I use everyday, ones I use occasionally, some I keep for students in workshops. New ones, old ones. Some I’ve made.

a few planes


I have just sold lots of Jennie Alexander’s planes. Any of which I could have kept for myself, no questions asked. Some I did.

So what on Earth was I doing even looking at planes last week at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking? Not the LN planes, but a bunch of them at Josh Clark’s table, Hyperkitten Tools.

Hyperkitten Tools
Hyperkitten Tools 2

When I spoke to Josh that morning, I saw a plane that really caught my eye. I told him he’d better sell it during the day, because I did not want to have to buy it. When I went by late in the afternoon, there it still was. So now, it’s in my shop.

jointer plane

a “small” jointer as Alexander used to call such a thing. About 26″ long, an iron somewhere around 2 1/2″ wide or so. I forget exactly. Great condition. But so what? I sold several of JA’s jointers in similar shape. Here’s a detail

what do you notice?


I have only seen one other oak plane that I can remember & I bought that one too. It was a broken little live oak plane:

oak plane body

The new one from Josh is probably German, marked “Holst Hamburg” on its toe. Great chamfers, very heavy plane. Condition is excellent. It’s my new favorite plane. Got to shuffle some around to make room for it. I sharpened it up on Sunday and it’s shaving nicely.

new favorite

I was very impressed with the tools Josh has. I spent some time working beside Freddy Roman & kept commenting on various tools Freddy was using. Again & again he said, “I got that from Josh…” Some were planes I had never seen before. Lots of British planes, and other tools too. Josh showed me a nice lefty Kent-pattern hewing hatchet. Very reasonable. Sign up for his blog if you haven’t already. I don’t want to have to keep buying tools from him…so you should save me the trouble.


Thanks to all who have ordered spoons this week. I’m packing & shipping soon. A few are left, and another batch in a month or so.





6 thoughts on “I’m an oak man

  1. Josh is a great guy, and his prices are always reasonable. He’s been a real life saver for me out in the West coast where there are far fewer old tools available. they are just more scarce out here, and it’s always been a struggle to find stuff.

    Enter Hyperkitten, his tool sales announcements are cause for me to drop whatever I am doing and go scan through the page quickly because the deals go quick! He is super easy to work with, and his quality is always spot on.


  2. So I sit down at the computer this morning with a steaming cup of coffee, only half-awake after spending most of the night comforting two sick kids and the other having nightmares about robots, and what do I see? Dozens of new subscriptions to my blog. And they keep coming, one on top of another. I think to myself- Well, this is exciting, but whom should I thank for this sudden surge in interest? A quick perusal of my RSS feeds brought me here to the source.

    Thanks Peter. I appreciate your endorsement and kind words. It was a pleasure to talk with you last week at the show. I hope you enjoy using the plane.


  3. A plane from Germany! Reason enough for posting my first comment after 2 years reading of your wonderful blog. Thanks for all the encouragement and motivation to do the things by hand and keeping the router quiet.

    Sorry for being a know-it-all, but could the jointer be made out of hornbeam? Because of its density and hardness hornbeam is one of the most common woods for either plane soles or even entire planes here in Germany. Very often it has a somewhat “oakish” grain and appearance.

    All the best and please keep on posting,

    (Gettorf, Germany)

  4. Peter,

    The plane may be oak but it couldn’t it be just some differently figured beech. Hornbeam can be figured but rarely is. Here are my reasons for questioning that it would be oak: if it is German and were made of oak it would be white oak. Red oak – my dad called it Amerikanische Eiche – is less common and mostly planted as an ornamental tree – at least when I was a kid – that goes back some time.
    White oak usually turns a greyish/greenish/brown in contact with perspiration. One would expect that the plane would show some signs of that since it is unlikely that the plane would be vanished that thickly to prevent any contact.
    I tried to catch a glimpse of the endgrain but did see that well enough.

    Anyway, it should be a pleasure to make shavings with your new plane. I have an American made wooden plane – Ohio Tool – very common in its heyday – the well preserved one I found is an absolute joy to use.


  5. Thanks for the notes from Germany! I have some Ulmia planes, made of beech with hornbeam soles. This plane is certified oak – it’s one wood I know more than all others. I’ve been practically an oak monoculture for 34 years. There is a lot of finish on this plane, I presume tallow or some such thing. It’s quite dark…I’ll shoot some details of it & post again. Will I see you in June at Dictum?

  6. Peter,

    I’m more likely to attend one of the events in the US since I have been living here the last 20 years.
    I had a gut feeling all along that you would have to be one of the persons most familiar with all types of oak but I was just surprised to see an oak plane especially one that appears to be made by a manufacturer not a crafts person. The bottom line is that is a pleasure to find, tune, and use those types of wooden planes, especially if the also come with matching thick iron without a lot of rust.


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