Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/193

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changes in the direction of the fibres of the wood as the longer length of the trying-plane could not conveniently deal with. Hitherto, we have regarded the plane as arranged with a "guide principle" which shall always repeat a straight, level surface. The guide may, however, be the counterpart of any required surface. The plane made of iron, now in my hand, has an elastic steel sole, which, by means of adjusting screws, enables a workman readily to convert a straight-faced sole into one either concave or convex. This is an American production (see Fig. 10).

PSM V10 D193 Woodworking plane with flexible metal base.jpg
Fig. 10.

There is also in this and other planes a mode of fixing the iron which deserves more general adoption than it receives, viz., by a cam-action. It will often be noticed that, where the holding-wedge binds on the box of the plane in our ordinary planes, the wood has split. This arises from a commendable but, in this case, too strict a care for a good fit; hence the wedge is made tight where it should be slack.


By Professor EDWARD S. MORSE,

IN the "Memoirs of the American Academy of Sciences" may be found a profound mathematical essay "On the Uses and Origin of the Arrangement of Leaves and Plants,"[2] by the lamented Chauncey Wright. After discussing the laws of phyllotaxy, and showing that the botanist is wrong in supposing this a law at the outset, Mr. Wright states "one of the utilities, so to speak, in the apparently

  1. An address delivered at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Read at Buffalo, New York, August, 1876, by Edward S. Morse, Vice-President of Biological Section.
  2. "Memoirs of the American Academy,"