The modern consumer is being overwhelmingly encouraged to participate
in the ever-growing green revolution. Plastic bags and other
wasteful packaging materials have finally been placed on an
environmental watch list. Until about 1900, wooden barrels and boxes were used to transport
product, be it produce, hardware or even crude oil. Craftspeople
made smaller containers using thin strips of wood woven together.
Thicker wooden strips were often used to weave fences and heavier
baskets. The material for this type of construction was, before
the popularity of the powered circular or band saw, either riven
out of a bolt or stripped from a willow, poplar or ash balk.
Having as many arms (or handles) as a martial-arts dummy, this
plane (and it is a plane) is made of elm. At almost 30"
long, 3-3/4" wide and with a height of 4-1/2", it
is not small or light in weight. The bottom slot was made to
create a maximum 2-3/4" wide piece. Extremely primitive
in its appearance, it is a working tool. The blade is a crudely
forged affair, and the depth of cut is regulated by adjusting
the wedge under the top blade keeper which, being slotted, works
in conjunction with the strap sides of the blade. The blade
is also restrained by the wooden sections on either side, which
provide a stable stop to ensure a controlled cut and to prevent
skewing of the blade.