I make infill hand planes with a single idea in mind: to create out of steel, brass and wood a tool both useful and beautiful. Tools are useful by definition, but not every useful tool is also beautiful; a sledge hammer is useful but not beautiful. An infill hand plane, on the other hand, can be both useful and beautiful.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” the poem tells us. But Keats isn’t talking about the craft of the maker of that Greek urn, much less about the maker’s ability to turn a useful object into a thing of beauty. Keats has in mind only the beauty of the thing itself, the urn, and not the process by which it came into being.
Craft and art aren’t the same thing, though I don’t know where the one becomes the other. Plenty of craftsmen make useful things, and sometimes their craft takes them into the realm of art and they give us something both useful and beautiful – something artful, if not art.
My goal is to cross that line with every plane I make.