Monday, February 20, 2012
One option I offer on my traditional Jack Plane is to have it made as a "Panel Plane". Essentially this means the plane is a large smoother instead of a Jack - see the photo below for the obvious differences. A straight iron instead of cambered and a tight mouth - combine this with a high angle bed and you have a superlative smoothing plane with increased heft and a comfortable handle. The added length of the sole over a smaller smoothing plane can be a benefit if you are smoothing large pieces like a table top.
In other news I was saddened to read this article on fake infills that have been sold on Ebay - if you are ever offered a second hand "Philly Plane" please feel free to contact me to check its authenticity.
Friday, February 10, 2012
One of the most common questions I get is "why do you offer your planes in Goncalo Alves as an alternative to Beech?". So here's my reasons...
1: It's colour - the timber is an orangey brown when first worked and reminds me a lot of mahogany. Most planks also have some streaks of black through them, giving a striking individual look to each plane. And it darkens with age and exposure to light, giving it a deeper, handsome shade.
2: It's easily available in quartersawn planks. I spend way too much time searching for quality timber and it is especially difficult to find quartered Beech in the UK (which sounds crazy as Beech grows everywhere in these parts). So to be able to get hold of large (12/4) planks of decent quality quartersawn stock is a dream for me - and Goncalo is usually available in this form.
3: The timber is quite waxy. This varies from plank to plank, but I find on the whole Goncalo to be slightly waxy, which is great for a plane. In use I find the sole very quickly achieves a tough, slick patina, which is exactly what you want in a wooden plane.
It has interlocked grain like so many tropical timbers (and Goncalo reminds me of Mahogany a lot) and this varies from plank to plank. Some pieces plane easily, others require a high angle smoother and a fine cut to prevent deep tear-out. But I do enjoy working with it - it takes crisp detail and polishes up a treat.
So to summarise - it's a hard wearing, handsome timber that is perfect for wooden planes. It feels good in the hand, moves slickly over the work and looks good to the eye. What more could you ask for?
Friday, February 03, 2012
And here's the last of the three new models - the Snipes Bill.
This is an interesting looking plane with its swoopy, pointed profile. They work hand in hand with moulding planes to start and refine profiles and can also be used to define a gauge line for a rebate plane. The planes come as a matched pair allowing you to work with the grain on any profile (i.e. linenfold panels).
The planes are available to order now on the Phillyplanes website.
So here's the next model - the Side Round. This plane cuts a profile that is a quarter of a circle ( 90 degrees). You're probably thinking "well can't you do that with a moulding plane?". The Side Rounds secret weapon is it can cut right up to the edge of a corner - the side of the plane is vertical. So adding this plane to your arsenal of moulders will allow you to cut a much wider range of profiles.
The planes come as a matched left/right hand pair and are available to order now on the Phillyplanes website!