Friday, October 9, 2009

DL Barrett & Sons Toolworks

Two other plane makers I spoke with at the WIA conference were Dan Barrett and his son, Kyle. DL Barrett & Sons are relatively new in the handtool market but are securing a name for themselves as makers of finely-crafted reproduction planes, using "the old tried & true methods of plane making."

The workmanship is impeccable and the planes feel comfortable in your hand. I took one for a test drive—it worked perfectly. To hold the front of the plane, I hooked my thumb over the front arm and wrapped my fingers beneath the fence, much like I would a wooden bench plane. Kyle has a different grasp as you'll see in the short video clip.

I asked Dan what makes his planes special. Here is his response:

"To be honest we try to build to the standard that has already been set hundreds of years ago. The design of our planes reflects the planes of master tool makers from the past and those who are making planes today.

The only difference I would say our planes have from other makers is the details that reflect our style. For instance the arm end ferrules are our design. Just like the other makers, we spend an incredible amount of time on the details—always tweaking them.

We are for now, just a part time company and it takes a while to get the planes to our customers. The plan in the future is to go full time and offer a complete line of planes, including simpler ploughs, rebates, dado's, molders and bench planes. We have also started talking to woodworking schools about making planes to be used at the schools by the students taking a specific course."


Ethan said...

Here's to hoping once Kyle get's out of school and they gear up plane production that the price will drop just a little.

It is exciting to be a woodworker in such a time when so many quality small woodworking tool companies are producing saws and chisels and planes.

Kari Hultman said...

I agree, Ethan. We're so fortunate to have so many excellent choices with handtool makers. It sure wasn't the case when I started ww in '92.

Unknown said...

Is it a coincidence that you started with the two Canadians.?
Konrad Sauer is a 40 minute drive from my home and the Barretts are only half that. Must be something in the water eh,?
It kills me to think of these fine toolmakers and all of their incredible hand planes within an hour from my shop. If I only had a few extra-thousand-dollars lying around....
I should also mention Medallion Toolworks who were also down at the conference...he's also in the neighbourhood..go figure!

Dan Barrett said...

Hey Tom, you missed a great time down there, maybe next year? It is the water.

The kid was conducting mini clinics with the ploughs. Fun watching him. Oh and with the Paik in the booth there was never a shortage of danish. How that man pounds back the pasteries and stays fit is beyond me.

Kari thanks for the kind words, every time someone takes a plane for a ride and likes the result of what sometimes seems like a million hours of manufacturing, fitting and tweaking makes it worthwile. Very nice meeting you and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Take care,


Woodbloke said...

Kari - they look like excellent planes...Philly may have some competition! - Rob

Kari Hultman said...

Tom, I met Ed Paik, from Medallion Toolworks and will have a quote from him coming up. :o)

Dan, it was great to meet you, Kyle, and Ed. I didn't see any pastries, however. NOW I'm disappointed! ; )

Rob, isn't it wonderful to have so many choices of excellent tool makers?

Dan Barrett said...

Kari,he kept them under the table hoping the razzle dazzle of the saws would be enough to keep wandering eyes from noticing them. Ed, if you are reading this I was compelled to tell them. Oh ya, when we left your place Kyle still had some contraband chocolate on his person. Kari just so you know Kyle has a chocolate dependancy and will go to great lengths to get it all. Won't he Ed?

Chuck Bender said...


You picked another amazing plane maker to feature. It's amazing to see that there are folks out there that care so much about producing hand tools at the highest level of craftsmanship. Dan and Kyle definitely are setting the bar to new heights. Their planes are a joy to view, hold and use. In many senses I'm a historical purist and Dan's planes certainly satisfy those urges in me.

It was a great pleasure meeting Dan and Kyle. Much like Konrad, it's great to converse with artists of a like mind, even if they work in a different medium.

I can't wait to read your your take on Ed and his saws. I grabbed one during one of my brief stops at my booth and was completely amazed to feel it melt into my hand. It's the first saw I've grasped that felt like an extension of my arm.

Now Dan, you mean Ed had pasteries in that booth the whole weekend and you didn't even point them out to your neighboring booth? C'mon man, can't you see I was so tied up with running around last weekend that I started wasting away? And Kyle, where are the clock pics? It seems that Dan's boy is more than just a gifted plane maker. Maybe you can muscle the pictures out of him Kari?

For those who missed WIA, make sure you trek to the next one no matter it's locale. If you can't afford to sit in on the classes, the market place is worth whatever the travel costs. Admission was free and I've never seen such an amazing array of high quality hand tools. I guess that's the reason that I wasn't in my booth much between sessions and why I missed Ed's pasteries.

Kari Hultman said...

Dan, if only chocolate were diet food, I'd weight 110 pounds.

Chuck, I agree with you about the handle on Ed's saws. That one saw he had with the really thick handle was absolutely PERFECT for me.

Dan Barrett said...

Chuck I could lie to you and tell you that I forgot, ment to, or for one second would have shared the spoils, but that would not be true in my defense all I can say is mlllllaaaa. Yup this Canuck had no thoughts of sharing. I will tell the kid to send you some pics, but knowing him like I do I know he has a tendency to hold things close to the chest until he is happy with it.
Kari the thick handled saws were made for me to my specks. I can rent you one if you like. And about the chocolate, Kyle and his younger brother Jeremy are convinced that it covers at least two of the major food groups.