Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Anniversary Day

We call it Australia Day now - but according to Wiki...............

In 1888, all colonial capitals except Adelaide celebrated 'Anniversary Day'. In 1910, South Australia adopted Australia Day,[10] followed by Victoria in 1931.[13] By 1935, all states of Australia were celebrating 26 January as Australia Day (although it was still known as Anniversary Day in New South Wales).[10]

Whatever we call it - it is our 4th of July, our Bastille Day, our national day to celebrate our one-ness as the nation of Australia.  So happy Australia Day to all!

Twelve months ago, I highlighted the debt that we owe to past Australian tool manufacturers and the heritage that they have left us. See Oz Day 2012 

I thought that this year I would focus on one of our current woodworking tool manufacturers, and look a little more closely at his contribution to our craft.

HNT Gordon - Planemaker

Terry Gordon has been making planes in his Alstonville NSW workshop since the early 1990's and commenced trading in 1995.

He has always set for himself the highest of standards, and outlines these in his business principles:

Any plane we  make will be able to plane or scrape any wood without tearout 
We will only use high quality materials with a simple appropriate design to offer customers affordable quality in tools that will make your woodwork better. 
We have done considerable development work to learn how to harvest, dry and stabilise Australian hardwoods (in particular gidgee) to give give us a superior quality wood for plane making that has ever been used before.  In conjunction with this we have learnt how to combine this wood with brass using modern glues to enhance the function and life of some wooden planes.   As a consequence of this work we offer an unconditional guarantee on workmanship and materials without hesitation.
I have been using Terry's planes for many years, and have a fondness for them when using Australian hardwoods especially.
They are well suited to controlling tearout in these timbers, and leave an excellent finish.

Here is an HNT Gordon Trying plane - which is superb on a shooting board and excellent for board jointing.  I prefer it on shorter boards, but on very long boards I still reach for my Stanley Number 8.

Terry makes a range of Block, Jack and Smoothing Planes.  I have found that his work is so exact, that these planes all present with very fine mouths and take the finest of shavings.  To me, this makes them different varieties of smoothing planes, but of differing lengths.

Here is The HNT Gordon A55 Smoothing plane, and traditional Smoothing Plane.  Both are excellent - with wonderful blades and tight mouths to produce the whispiest of gossamer shavings.

This is Terry's Aussie Jack Plane, and it too is beautifully built.  It, too, takes the whispiest of fine shavings, and leaves a smooth finish.  It is, in my eyes, another smoother.  I use jack planes for thick shavings from an open mouth - so that the timber is removed quickly.  My Australian-made Carter number 5 is a great example of this, and far more useful as a Jack plane to me.

It is Terry's Shoulder Planes that really shine.  Here, the precise construction and fine engineering again give consummate control in relieving the shoulders of tenons and truing their faces.

From left to right - 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, 1 inch and 1-1/4 inches wide shoulder planes.  These are different examples of the same timber - Macassar Ebony.  Below, a side view.

The range of handplanes made by HNT Gordon is extensive, and these have been but a sampling.  All are works of the toolmaker's art and are a pleasure to use.  Here is a broader  illustration of part of the range available from the planemaker's own website:

And in Snakewood:

HNT Gordon also manufacture a variety of specialty planes suited to the cabinetmaker and to the master craftsman.

HNT Gordon Dado planes are a work of art, and contain an adjustable nicker that is as beautiful as it is effective

Add to these, hollows and rounds, snipe bill planes and side rebate planes, and the field is well covered.  Terry is also producing both male and female dovetail planes - coming soon.

The images above courtesy of HNT Gordon

So Happy Australia Day Terry, and on behalf of the woodworking community, thank you for what you have contributed to the world of woodworking, and to Australian woodworking in particular, where you are best known.

For the rest of us there is the singular pleasure of using HNT Gordon planes and other hand tools that enhance our chosen craft.

Happy Australia Day to all................

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