A sad update, Jim Kingshott has died. The details below were from German tool maker Dick GmbH's site:
He passed away on February 25, 2002, at the age 70, after a courageous fight with cancer.
They have since removed the page this was from.

I had a single email correpondence with Mr. Kingshott. He knew of this site and of my appreciation of his work.
I'd like to think he's with his son now and that his work lives on here and through his books and videos. (The dediction to Making and Modification says simply To my son John whose untimely death brought this book into being)

Important update: Some time ago some of Jim Kingshott's grandson's tools have been stolen. Details here Sadly, the tools are probably long...

This page is intended to point out irregularities in Jim Kingshott's book
Making and Modifying Woodworking Tools; Guild of Master Craftsman Publications, Ltd.; ISBN 0-946819-32-7 Also listed here are his other books and videos and where they can be found.

While generally very useful, there are several mistakes/omissions in Jim Kingshott's book Hopefully people who find this page won't have to discover these problems the hard way: Other things to check out:
Pattern Making
by Russ Allen

Update April 16, 2002
I have made the mitre gauge pattern and core box as promised below. The full story and more importantly the pictures can be found here.

Chapter 7 is devoted to pattern making - a full four pages with pictures. I was greatly confused by the pattern and core box as shown on page 63. I have read quite a few pattern making books and still it took me a long time to figure out what was going on. I'm thinking of making the pattern and core box. If I do, I'll take some photographs to illustrate what I'll try to explain here: The pattern and core box don't work together directly. If the core box was not painted with the picture of the pattern (and/or casting) I would have been less confused. Here's what happens at the foundry: the pattern would be rammed in moulding sand. It would be withdrawn leaving a void that looks exactly like the pattern. The core box would be rammed with sand forming a prism shape. This would be withdrawn from the core box and placed in the void left when the pattern was withdrawn. Now when molten metal is feed into the sand, it flows into the remaining void. When the metal cools, the result is the casting shown in Fig 7.3 (right) at the top of page 63. Pretty simple/standard pattern making practice that is not explained in the text. The text also does not give any dimensions. I've been looking for a Preston mitre gage to base my pattern and core box on.

Shooting Board Plane
by Russ Allen

I built the pattern for his shooting board plane- similar to a Stanley #51. I noticed the following: The plane is pictured on the following pages: 64, 121, 124, 126 and the first and fourth color page (past page 121).
This plane and its pattern make a brief appearence in Mr. Kingshott's Special Planes video!

Infill Plane
by Mike Lindgren

I don't think that the Kingshott book is all that great. I bought it when I was first thinking about making an infill, and reading the dovetailed steel chapter carefully really gave me heartburn. It does have nice pictures, and some good tips, so if you don't have access to the real thing it helps to see what they look like. I got email from a fellow in australia who has made several, and his (approximate) remark was "I am sure glad I made some before I bought kingshotts book" This list is one I have compliled while making a panel plane, then added to as I learned more. It is possible I missed some things in his book(that I complain about), or maybe they are obvious to someone brighter than me. If so, my apologies.

My list of errors/ommisions, etc.:
  1. I couldn't figure out the second side profile chart, and there is at least one typo in it that is confusing. The first profile chart is correct but it looks like nothing he has in his book, it would be nice if he mentioned that. The third is fine.

  2. All the drawings that show the mouth placement have it wrong, or at least they disagree totally with the text. He says place the mouth to it doesn't cut the sole in half, which is reasonable, but then every diagram shows the sole cut in half. I don't think I was looking at it wrong, and I think he has it that way for just about all the diagrams in the book.

  3. In a book that purports to tell you how to make a dovetailed infill plane, would it be too much to ask for the author to casually mention what the dovetail angle should be? He does mention that it differs from those used in wood.

  4. I think his dovetailing procedure could be improved for the neophyte(me, and I assume most of his audience) by telling us to cut the dovetails in side and sole BOTH a bit proud. It makes more filing, but you can peen both a bit and really tighten up the joint appearance, which for the first plane will probably be useful. If you end up with pins a bit to proud it is a lot easier to file them down than to lap the whole side when one is a tad short! Also his description of the procedure and the pictures really need some editing to make the steps understandable.

  5. His method of putting a support plate behind the mouth stinks. The process of riveting through the sole with the sides on is excruciating, as you watch the side dovetails loosen, and lapping the sole of your precision flat ground stock flat again after it deforms from putting the rivets in is no fun either. Another way, which he does not mention, but which would have worked better for me(the solitary hammerer) is to take the support plate, clamp it in place behind the mouth, and drill through it into the sole, without going all the way through. Then just pin it with drill rod and epoxy the thing in place. You then have a support plate that is going nowhere, and you have saved about 10 hours of hard manual labor.(and you don't have rivets on the bottom of your plane) Two folks and good equipment would not have my problems, so maybe I shouldn't complain about this.

  6. On the subject of mouths again, he doesn't give any numbers on the range of mouth widths(the gap between the front and the iron). Since every thing I have read or heard since points me in the direction that the mouth width is crucial to high performance, it would be helpful to at least give a range of them.

  7. he doesn't tell you the lever cap width should be the same as the distance between the steel sides(-.002 or so). Chumps like me who haven't seen the real thing, and are used to the stanley lever caps end up making them too narrow.
In the end, a book like Whelans on wooden planes just seemed much better done from a standpoint of actually building a plane using several different methods, appropriate to different skill levels.

Shoulder Plane
by Eric Keller

I have to agree that the Kingshott book isn't perfect, but is there a substitute? The one thing I have to say is that one should make a scale/full size drawing of any such project. I made a shoulder plane using kingshotts methods, and I have to admit that its faults are mostly due to my inability to file a perfect dovetail. As my peening has improved his methods aren't as scary. I find point number 4 from Mike Lindgren's comments to be a little misleading. The dovetails on both the sole and the sides _must_ be proud because both are compound dovetails, to be peened over. If only you could cover up your inadequate dovetail work in wood as easily!

I disagree w/ Mikes point #7, there are drawings of lever caps in the book. Otherwise, I agree with Mike 100%. Particularly, I think the section on peening the dovetails could have used a few more pictures.

Finally, my advice to anyone who has the book, and hasn't made any planes, is go get some metal and make a plane that you don't mind throwing away if you goof up. Do a little engineering on your own, and figure out what you have to have and what you don't. For example, adjusters can be added later.


Mike Lindgren's rebuttal

Shooting Board Parts
by Rob Kempinski

I noticed on your home page, you asked for people to contribute problems they notice with the Kingshott's book. Well his drawing for the 52 steel board doesn't match the photographs of it. The drawing shows a rectangular plate. The photos show the corner by the quadrant rounded more like the original shooting board. BTW Kingshott has another book out called the Work Shop. It has a couple of photos of his 51/52.

His quadrant drawing has a slight error in it . The intersection of the two arc-ed pieces (one arc piece is where he engraved his name and the other has the engraved numbers) shows up as a line in the plan view. By studying the photographs and the other drawings there appears to be no change in height at the spot so the line at that intersection should not be there.

by Richard Singer

I think some of the comments made by Mike Lindgren about Jim Kingshott's book are a little unfair, particularly about the lever caps. The diagrams & photos clearly show the method of fitting which requires the lever cap to be full width. Having never made dovetails in metal I can't comment on the merits of peening both tails and pins, but I thought Mr Kingshott's description of the method was clear enough, albeit lacking some of the quantitative information the critics require. In his defence Kingshott does urge the reader to make a test dovetail before attempting a plane. This seems sensible. I would not attempt constructing a dining room suite until I'd mastered the basic hand tool techniques.

I had the opportunity to handle Kingshott's planes at the London International Woodwork show a year or two back. They are flawless. The dovetails & riveting are invisible, the wooden infill is fitted and polished to perfection and the 30in jointer plane is awe inspiring - and damned heavy! This man really does know his stuff. Maybe a second edition of the book could iron out some of the issues you & your contributers highlight.

Finally, Kingshott's email address can be found in any recent edition of Traditional Woodworking Magazine - I'm sure he'd be willing to discuss the issues raised on your website.

Other Books by Jim Kingshott Mr. Kingshott's videos:
  1. Bench Planes
  2. Special Planes
  3. Mortise and Tenon Made Simple
  4. Dovetails Made Simple
  5. Sharpening the Professional Way
  6. Sharpening Turning & Carving Tools
Sources: (I am not affilated with any of the following businesses except as noted. )
It looks like this list below needs to be updated?

New! (November 2007) Fox Chapel Publishing has the first four titles as DVD's!!! They also have videos 3 and 4 though they cost more than the dvd versions.

Making and Modifying Woodworking Tools appears to be getting scarce again. Amazon.com also lists Sharpening : The Complete Guide as "Limited Availablitly"

Update: My Winter 2002 Highland Hardware catalog arrived today (11/26/01)- it still shows Making and Modifying Woodworking Tools and the six videos as does their web site!
Update: September 30, 2002- a search at Highland Harware turned up no Kingshott items.
Update: March 21, 2003- a search at Highland Harware turned up all six videos!
Tapes 1-4 are availalbe in PAL format from:
Traditional Woodworking Reader Services
The Well House
High Street
Staffs DE14 1JQ

Tel. 01283 742970
Fax. 01283 742966

Other things to check out:

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