We are in the final stages of producing our latest tool, a Crucible Planing Stop that is easy to install, looks similar to a traditional hand-forged stop and is reasonably priced (about $49).
I hope this tool will be out by the end of the year, but we are at the mercy of our supply chain, which loves to whip us almost every day.
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Here’s why I think the world needs another planing stop.
I love blacksmith-made planing stops, which are embedded in the end of a block of wood that is about 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” x 12”. The block is friction-fit into a mortise in the benchtop and moves up and down with mallet taps.
For me, the planing stop is as important as the workbench’s face vise and has almost-endless uses.
My main problem with a blacksmith planing stop is that it can be tricky to install. You need to drill a stepped hole in the block of wood or heat up the shaft of the planing stop in a forge and burn it into the block. And there is always the risk of splitting the block during the process.
Also, some people think that blacksmith stops are too expensive (I disagree), which can cost $100 to $300.
The Crucible Planing Stop is made from ductile iron, so it can take a beating. Hit it with a metal sledge, and it will not shatter (unlike typical gray iron). The teeth and the angle of the head of the stop are based on A.J. Roubo’s planing stop from the 18th century.
And – this is important – it is easy to install. Here’s how you do it: Buy a 5/8” (or 16mm) spade bit (less than $10). Drill a full-depth hole in the block of wood and remove the sawdust and chips. Drop the shaft of the planing stop into the hole and it will stop about 1” from the bottom of the hole. Knock it with a hammer a few times and the stop will cut its way into the hole and bed itself in place. Done.
It’s a dirt-simple tool, but getting to this point took more than a year of experimenting with hand-forged stops, developing the casting patterns and (where we are now) developing the risering so the liquid metal goes where it needs to go.
RIght now we are trying to get on the foundry’s schedule as soon as possible. We will let you know when the wheels have started moving.
Making stuff is hard.
— Christopher Schwarz