Friday, January 27, 2017

Paradise ponders, magical XPK01Z edition...

Paradise ponders, magical XPK01Z edition...  Our weather forecast for last night had a 0% chance of precipitation.  Guess what it's doing right now?  Snowing!  So far there isn't enough accumulated to compel me to plow and shovel again, but I've no idea when this might end.  Or if it might end!  I may well be on snow removal duty again today!

Over the past few weeks, the door from our kitchen to our new deck has been getting increasingly tight.  The problem's cause is easy enough to determine: the door has been wet from snow melt, and at the moment is frozen solid, so the wood has swelled a bit.  From inspection I could see that the top of the door needed to have something like 1/64th or 1/32nd of an inch removed.  I first tried sanding, but after a half hour it didn't feel like I was making any useful progress.  The right tool for that job is a plane, and though I have a fairly well-equipped woodworking shop, a plane is not something I ever invested in.  Why?  Mainly because I have a planer, a big piece of equipment that makes short work of flattening boards.  But you can't put an entire door through a planer.  This job calls for a hand-held plane.

So I went looking on Amazon to see what was available these days.  I haven't purchased a plane in decades, so I didn't know what to expect.  In my head was an old-fashioned hand plane, like the one in the photo at right.  When I did my usual sort of the available planes (and there were many!), a different tool altogether popped out on top: battery-powered power planes.  I have a collection of Makita battery-powered tools, so I immediately gravitated to their version: the model KPK01Z.

That's a photo of it at left (click it to go to the Amazon listing).  I'd never even heard of a power plane before, so I did some reading up on them.  The more I read, the more I liked – this looked like absolutely the right tool for the job.  So I ordered it, and it arrived late yesterday afternoon.

This morning I read the manual (something I usually do for a tool I'm unfamiliar with).  It's easy to use this thing; the only slightly tricky bit was how the safety power switch interlock worked.  I opened the tight door, took the plane outside, and less than 60 seconds later the door was fixed.  Total calories expended: about 0.1.  I may build a shrine to this tool! :)

I also installed my replacement Nest thermostat, the one they reluctantly sent me after I proved the battery in my old one was dead, and I got snippy with them about their initial offer of a 20% discount on a new thermostat.  The replacement went in with no trouble at all, and is working just fine.  Now I have to send the old, dead one back, but that's no problem at all...


  1. I've been moving from a power tool shop to a focus on hand tools (although that doesn't stop me from lusting after your shop!). I've been buying planes and such, so I have some opinions. If you are buying new, you can't go wrong with the top of the line:

    My cheaper solution has been to watch for good old stuff in restorable condition. I am nearing a working set of planes for under $200. Hand tools require some infrastructure, however. I've probably spent that much on sharpening equipment.

    I'd avoid most planes you can buy on Amazon. Stanley (like many brands) ain't what it used to be.

  2. I went looking at those Lie-Nelson planes in general, including the one you linked to. Those things are expensive. The one you linked too costs twice what I paid for the Makita power plane. Yikes!

    Sharpening equipment - you need that even for power tools. :) The tools I have with carbide blades help reduce that (especially on the lathe!), but not everything can be had in carbide. I find myself breaking out one of my sharpening tools quite often. Not just for the workshop, either: just yesterday I sharpened all our kitchen knives, and my pocket knife...