Unique Father's Day Gift

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Blog entry by ChuckV posted 06-20-2010 07:45 PM 3808 reads 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads!

This past winter, we were at Old Sturbridge Village. We saw a demonstration of a spill plane. My young sons were fascinated by this tool. They kept it in mind and with the help of my wife, they found a spill plane at Lee Valley. This is from the description at LV:
Before matches became widely available in the 1860s, long, coiled wood shavings known as spills were used to transfer a flame from one location to another, such as from a fireplace to a candle, lantern or stove.

There are two drive pins to hold the blade in place and two set screws to adjust the depth of cut. Like all LV planes, this is easy to set up and a pleasure to use.

It took me a few tries to get the hang of it. Now, I am almost able to keep up with the demand of my well-supervised yet slightly pyromaniacal sons.

Here is the plane on my workbench. There is a hole in the plane that allows it to be fastened to a block of wood and then held in a vice. This would make it easier to use.

The 3/4” slot that holds the edge of the wood is called a spillway. Here is a picture of starting to push the wood through the spillway.

As the wood passes over the skewed blade. a cone-shaped helical shaving is produced.

Between the spill plane and a cherry pie that my wonderful wife baked using cherries from our own tree, this is a great day.

-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

14 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4591 days

#1 posted 06-20-2010 07:49 PM

sounds like a great fathers day.Enjoy


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4129 days

#2 posted 06-20-2010 08:24 PM

congrat´s with your new toy enjoy playing the spillgame
what ells cuold LV come up with…


View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4701 days

#3 posted 06-20-2010 08:34 PM

How awesome is that tool , and a homemade pie to boot !!! Happy Father’s Day : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4055 days

#4 posted 06-20-2010 08:56 PM

Now i need some pie. Very cool tool, Happy fathers day

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4726 days

#5 posted 06-20-2010 10:01 PM

nice plane, but i want the pie, got to go find one of those right now. Seriously though how often do you think you will use that plane?

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View SawDustNeophyte's profile


116 posts in 4112 days

#6 posted 06-20-2010 10:14 PM

Yup! The pie is IT!!!!

-- So many tools, so little money. *heavy sigh*

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3996 days

#7 posted 06-20-2010 10:35 PM

very cool tool,and a piece of living history. and now pass the pie.

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 4016 days

#8 posted 06-20-2010 10:42 PM

This is my kind of tool – unique, fun to play with, and not sure it is really needed for anything :-)

Cool story and nice touch in the post including the pie!

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4178 days

#9 posted 06-20-2010 10:55 PM

Interesting tool. I am always surprised to see the ingenious tools made in the past, many for purposes long forgotten….....


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View CampD's profile


1818 posts in 4500 days

#10 posted 06-20-2010 11:22 PM

Mmmmm Pie!!!
neat tool, never seen one before.

-- Doug...

View Lenny's profile


1689 posts in 4541 days

#11 posted 06-21-2010 01:33 AM

Great story Chuck. Congrats on the acquistion of this wonderful tool. It was great of your wife to pursue and find it. Did you run into Norm Abram while at Old Sturbridge Village? He got many of his inspirations for projects there. By the way, guess who’s coming to dessert? I will be by in about an hour for a slice of that pie. I am heading out the door to get on the Mass Pike now.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View ChuckV's profile


3359 posts in 4541 days

#12 posted 06-21-2010 01:41 AM

Thanks for all the replies.

Lenny – Not that I advocate breaking any traffic laws, but the boys are just aching to get into that pie. They really do not have to twist my arm very hard to get me to give in.

If you want to see the cherry tree that lead to the pie, here it is on Garden Tenders.

-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

View F Dudak's profile

F Dudak

342 posts in 4824 days

#13 posted 06-21-2010 02:26 AM

Great tool I need one of these for sure. It will work great for planing arms and the hand blocks for Windsor chairs. It beats setting a # 7 in a vise . Enjoy!

-- Fred.... Poconos, PA ---- Chairwright in the making ----

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4444 days

#14 posted 06-21-2010 08:36 AM

Great story. Thanks for the bit of history in there. I have always known the old “spills” as you said to be called “Tapers”. Probably from the way they are shaped. Never knew how they were produced.

Thanks Again.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

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