I was sifting through the net of some old woodworking photographs when I came across this one below that took my interest.
I was contemplating on how simple their shops were and how minimalist in tools they were too. In fact, I haven’t yet seen an antique photograph or drawing with any more tools on their walls as to what you see here. Oh well each to their own, I love my tools and just like clamps you can’t have too many. As I was about to click off the image I noticed something else, something peculiar and evidence to what was developing into a myth is now proof it’s not a myth at all; the pointing index finger.
The idea has spread like a virus among my small circle of friends that extending the index finger whilst planing is a modern day invention. Whilst many argue that there is no need to extend the index finger during planing, no one yet has come up with a plausible argument to dispute their theory. Their claim that this practice probably begun over the last 100 years. Well, now I have the evidence to prove they are wrong. A photograph taken in 1848 of two woodworkers showing that one worker has his index finger extended during planing. Whilst I agree that it serves no purpose in hand planing, I however continue to do it out of habit.
I would like to know your thoughts on the subject.