Where did the design come from?

The distinctive style began when I set out to design an infill.  While loving hand planes, I have always been put off by the cold feel and look of all the metal.  I was attracted to woodworking because of the warmth and grain that wood possesses, yet the tools we use to shape it are so often lacking those characteristics.   My goal was to find a way to get infill plane performance and durability with a warmer look by showing more wood.  Somewhere along the line, I wondered what using rods for the sides would look like.  One thing led to another, which led to a mock up and here we are.

African mahogany and walnut panel plane with the original mock up

Are there any advantages to this design?

The advantages are mostly aesthetic.  My thought is that something that is both functional and beautiful can be inspirational.  This design was created for that purpose--to surround myself with tools that would inspire my woodworking to greater heights.

That said there is one distinct advantage.  Because of the design, it is possible to use woods that are not appropriate for use in a true infill plane or for an all wood plane.  Wood, though dead, is not inert.  It "breathes" expanding and contracting with changes in humidity and temperature.  For an infill, the wood has to be extremely stable, because the surrounding metal does not move.  There is only a limited number of species that are stable enough for this purpose and they are both expensive and difficult to source.  Because the wood on my planes is exposed, it can move just a bit more, so greatly increases the number of species that are appropriate for use. 

Additionally, the steel sole means some beautiful wood species which are just not durable enough for an all wood plane can work, as well.  The metal parts give wear resistance and rigidity.  This all means many more possibilities for color and grain combinations.

I've never used a hammer to adjust a plane, could you build me one with a Norris style adjuster?

All the planes I build are hammer adjusted.  It is not hard to learn and actually provides far more control and precision than a threaded adjustment mechanism.  Give it a try, you just might like it.

How long does one take to build?

Each plane is hand made one at a time, not mass produced.  That means changing setups and materials as needed and adjusting each one for the material and user.  As such, it takes the time it takes and there isn't really any way to say "This model takes XX hours".  Also, plane making is a sideline--I have a full time job that pays the bills and has to take precedence.  When someone inquires about a commission, I will give a best guess as to time frame, but cannot guarantee delivery dates due to the many variables.

How do you drill for the rods?

With a drill bit, of course!  (Hey, if I shared all the build secrets, I'd be out of business.)

Popular Posts