Cocobolo’s last stand

Posted on October 8, 2011


Working with tools is great, but making tools themselves takes the craft and the resulting satisfaction to another level. Over the years I’ve made a variety of hand tools; it’s something I allow myself as a little treat in between the projects that really need doing.

On this occasion the tool is a flush plane, which is used for trimming dowels and other protrusions down to flush with the surrounding wood. It’s a tool that is available commercially, but it’s also something that is relatively straightforward to make.

I used a spare block plane blade for this one, something that has been lying in a workshop drawer for years awaiting a meaningful use. The block is carefully fitted to the shape of the blade and then its held in place with rare earth magnets.

The timber is Cocobolo, which regular readers will know comes up from time to time as a favourite timber of mine, except this time it was different. The project went well and as ever the timber finished to a nice glossy lustre. Having gone to bed as usual, I awoke in the middle of the night with difficulty catching my breath and what I can only describe a strange sense of impending doom. For several days afterwards I felt unwell and I must therefore conclude that I have become intolerant to Cocobolo.  It is said of this timber that you are either allergic to it, or you’re going to be. As a result, I’ve given away the bits I had left to a woodworking friend and have no plans to work with it again.

In years to come the flush plane will be there to remind me that this was Cocobolo’s last stand.


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Posted in: Ed, Furniture