Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 6, Issue 4
   March 2012
 
   From the Collection
 

Pattern Maker's Planes

Pattern maker's planes

The modern pattern maker has far more user friendly tools available to work with compared to a similar tradesperson of the past. A plastic model can be sprayed out layer by layer by a machine that takes a computer drawing and then directly replicates the design. When the design is approved, a pattern can be generated, fully compensating for draft angles and the shrinkage factor of the casting medium. If a more permanent metal pattern is required, the same drawing can be converted to a file, and a CNC machine can replicate the part exactly the same every time, endlessly. In essence, the trade has gone from the bench to a machine, with computer dropdown menus replacing the various steps used in the past to produce a product that can be employed on the foundry floor. These are different skills for a different time.

In any large pattern shop of the past, there were long-standing traditions. For example, it was customary for retirees to offer their tools to remaining workers, and often entire kits were willed to a budding apprentice. Also, when a new tool entered the working envelope, workers commonly made copies for themselves. (As with all pattern makers' tools, a great number were made by the tradesperson.) It was considered extremely poor form to make a replica for resale, but owners and foremen encouraged the practice for personal use. In many ways, the pattern maker stood above some of the other trades, as the learning process guided the apprentice through many skill sets — woodworking, foundry, machining and drawing being but a few of the disciplines employed.

Base removed   Underside
Plane with the base removed   Underside of the plane
 
 
         
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