Friday, June 20, 2008
I had a chance to play around with the Ron Brese small smoothing plane recently. I say play around, because I'm not actually building furniture at the moment. I honed the iron up to 8000 grit using a Naniwa Superstone, and grabbed a piece of curly cherry. After a few initial flattening passes, I was able to get full width shavings, well under .001". The shavings are fluffy and light. Think facial tissue, only delaminated.
The iron is bedded at 55 degrees, and at this high angle and shaving thickness, grain direction doesn't much come into play. The surface of the cherry was polished, translucent, lustrous, richly chatoyant and ready for any finish. And all this in the few seconds it takes to make a plane stroke. I haven't picked up a random-orbit sander in months.
Creating a full-length, full-width shaving. About 30" long.
Dense and resinous woods are also no problem for the Brese plane. In fact, this piece of rosewood was left shining by the plane. Even the shavings themselves were polished.
The small knot in this piece was planed without tearout of any sort.
Cherry shaving, about as thin as I can imagine.