Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Festival Of The Tree

Hi Folks
I'm feverishly packing for the this years Westonbirt event, the "Festival of the Tree". It's a great show, made all the more special by its wonderful setting, the Westonbirt Arboretum. This will my third year attending (the second as an exhibitor) and one aspect I really enjoy is the accomodation - a tent! Most of the exhibitors camp on-site, which makes for an enjoyable communal experience.
I've got five Classic Smoothers packed ready to display, and as you can see from the photo's they're a handsome bunch - I'm looking forward to seeing how they're received. There are some details on the website in the meantime - thanks to all who have emailed me.

Until next week......


Monday, August 24, 2009

The "Classic Smoother"

Hi Folks

Have some more info on the new plane for you at last. First up, the irons.......

As I mentioned previously, Karl Holtey is making the irons for these planes himself. He has sent me some information on these, which I shall reproduce below.

The A2 alloy used on all Holtey blades is of the highest specification (A2 does not mean a standard, it is just a designation).

The heat treatment has been designed for me by one of the finest metallurgists; it is very complex including triple tempering followed by a soak for considerable duration in liquid nitrogen. This needs to be carried out by a specialised heat treatment company.

These blades are then precisionally surface ground on all surfaces to the highest tool room standards. These blades will hold the finest edge and have considerable resistance to abrasions. This gives the blade a better performance for considerably longer than carbon steel.

These blades made for Philly Planes have been made exclusive for Phil Edwards and to the same exacting standard as all Holtey blades."

So there you go - the real deal! I've been giving these blades a thorough testing and I'm very impressed with them. Also, Karl surface grinds all the faces and edges - no other blade on the market is finished as well. I'm over the moon to be able to offer these irons in my plane.

I've put some photo's of a finished smoother here for you all to see - it's in Cocobolo, a very handsome timber. Sadly I'm affected quite badly by its dust, so this will probably be the last plane I make in Cocobolo. But I have some other exotic beauties in the pipeline - Partridge wood, Ebony and a timber called Ebano. I've not heard of this one before, but it is seriously dense - easily as heavy as Lignum, but a much lighter brown colour. I'm really looking forward to using it.

Again, if you're interested in more details on the "Classic Smoother" email me at

Bye for now....


Friday, August 21, 2009

More Plane Teasers...

HI Folks

Here's another sneak peak at the new plane (which is going to be called the "Classic Smoother").
I'm making six to bring to the Festival of the Tree next week, from a variety of special timbers - Boxwood, Santos Rosewood, Cocobolo, African Blackwood and a very, very special piece of Rosewood from Karl Holtey's stash. Its a wonderfully figured piece and I can't wait to apply the finish to see its true colours.

More soon.....


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Plane

Hi Folks
I've been hinting about a new plane model for a while now, and think its time to explain.
At the West Dean Hand Tool event a few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Karl Holtey, probably the worlds #1 plane maker. His work is astonishing, and the chance to chat with him over the weekend on plane related matters was wonderful. At the end of the show he suggested we should work together on my next plane.....

So - after a few months of phone calls, emails, posting of prototypes, etc, we have the final design ready to unveil. It is a smoothing plane, with traditional styling, and is extremely comfortable in the hands as well as on the eye. The big bonus is the Iron - Karl is making the irons for this model, using his own recipe of A2 steel. This will be surface ground on ALL surfaces, and stamped with the "Holtey" name - I have been testing one of these irons out and they are superb, offering extended edge holding ability.

The cool thing is that Karl is making this blade specifically for this model plane - it is not available anywhere else. And with his input into the design we have come up with a very handsome plane - I think you will all be impressed when you see it in the flesh. And speaking of which, I will be debuting this plane at the Westonbirt "Festival of the Tree", from the 28th through to the 31st of August. If you are attending please come by the bench and say "Hello"!

If you are interested in more details on this new plane or pre-ordering, email me at



Monday, August 17, 2009


Hi Folks

Some of you might know that I play guitar - I'm a bit of a musician and play in a couple of local bands. An oportunity arose recently for me to play with a rather special band - The Lambrettas. They were pretty big in the '80's Mod music scene, and had a few chart hit singles.
A couple of years ago their frontman, Jez Bird, passed away. An invitation to reform for a festival in Brighton meant that the guitarist Doug Sanders had to step up to the vocal mike, leaving the guitar spot empty. Enter Philly stage left ..........

So this weekend, after a few weeks feverish practising, the Lambrettas headlined the Modrophenia '79 festival at the Brighton Concorde center. It was their first gig since 1982 and we enjoyed a very warm reception! There are a few video clips of us on Youtube - search for "lambrettas concorde" and you'll find them. I'm the one on the right of your screens ;)

This week its back to the workshop. And maybe I'll reveal all on my new plane model.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Blog To Read...

HI Folks
I notice that saw maker extraordinaire Mike Wenzloff has now started blogging. Get over there and take a look....

Add Image

And a great name, Mike - you should have gone for that originally ;)