Bench planes College Millers Falls

College course: Day 8

Feels like time is fast running out to get this little cabinet up and on it’s legs, but hopefully it will be standing by next week.

I did quite a bit on the connecting rails this week, to join one side panel to the other, but spent the rest of the time smoothing the panels with a nice ‘Millers Falls No.18‘ bench plane.
Millers Falls No.18 bench plane
This plane came in a job lot of tools I bought from a gentleman in Romford last week. A fascinating chap, who used to be a pattern maker for the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham. We spent a good couple of hours chatting and he did me a great deal on a bunch of nice tools.

I ended up selling the plane to a colleague on the course who likes Millers Falls, as I already have a large Stanley jointer, and a Stanley 4 1/2. During the course of the day, Alex sharpened up the iron on the Tormek and got the plane cleaned up. I was lucky enough to have a go with it on my cabinet, and I have to say, it was one of the nicest planes I’ve used. It had a really good heft to it, and with the razor sharp blade, was taking fantastic shavings.

Think I’ll end up looking for another one of these at some point. Millers Falls have been on my radar for a long time, but being US-made, whenever I see one for sale, I usually get put off by shipping charges. Quite how this one ended up being used by a craftsman in Romford, I don’t know. I should have asked!

Drills Millers Falls

In praise of the hand drill

Hand tools are going through something of a renaissance as I write this post, and rightly so. As the world looks hard at our increasing consumption of energy, we find ourselves also evaluating the way we work.

Using a hand tool, instead of a power tool, might, for some, seem like a waste of valuable time. After all, why spend ages toiling away, when you can flick a switch, and get the jobs done in minutes, sometimes seconds?

I spend a long time explaining to people why I love using hand tools rather than using power tools. It is a feeling of connection to the work, an enjoyment of the ‘journey’, rather than just celebrating the arrival. Similar to taking three train connections, rather than flying I guess. I also find myself referencing the past, the knowledge I’ve gleaned from how those ‘old guys used to do it’. I will never tire of learning woodworking technique from tradesmen of the past.

A hand drill embodies all these ideas for me. I still (have to) use a power drill sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total luddite. But using a hand drill, especially one like this, is so much nicer.

This Millers Falls ‘Eggbeater 2-B’ drill came to me from a friend, who said his granddad had a few nice old tools. Other tools have been donated to me the same way. There was hardly any cleaning needed. The pride that tradesmen took in their work so often translates to how they also took care of their tools. The two, dare I say it, go ‘hand in hand’.






A fine type study resource on Millers Falls hand drills can be found at George’s Basement. I can add nothing to this exhaustive record!

Also, if you’re an avid reader of Chris Schwarz’s excellent blog, you may find his post about hand drills of interest.