Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year and a New Plane

I've never been much of a celebrator of the New Year. When I was in junior high school I spent New Year's Eve at a friend's and we both ate a mouthful of Pringles potato chips at the stroke of midnight. That's my most memorable New Year's. Most the the time I fall asleep before the ball drops.

But this year is different. I just received another infill plane kit from Ron Brese of Brese Plane. So tonight I'm celebrating.

This kit is based on Brese's 875 series full-size smoothing plane. The bed angle is 50 degrees (York pitch), a good compromise between ease of planing and higher pitch for less tearout. The plane uses a 2-1/4" wide iron. This is a smoothing plane, roughly akin to a #4-1/2 size bench plane. The big difference is in the sole length. The Brese plane is 8-3/4" long, almost 2" shorter than typical smoothing planes of this width. That makes sense to me, especially for a smoothing plane, where a longer sole can be a hindrance.

Ron's construction method for joining the sole to the sides makes for a plane body with very clean lines, and a straighforward, utilitarian look. I'm not much for added fanciness when it comes to hand tools, and Ron's aesthetic falls right in line with that idea.

Norris A13

Ron styled the body to mimic the Norris A13 plane. Ron did a great job of translating the style to a shorter body plane, making for an overall beefier look, while maintaining the elegant curves of the A13. I don't plan on customizing this plane, like I did with the Brese small smoother. I like Ron's design very much, so I'll be following his plans directly.

I'm hoping to take some pictures along the way, and document the process as well, since this plane poses some unique challenges that the small smoother didn't. I'm hoping the results will be the same, since that plane is simply outstanding.

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