Friday 13 June 2014

1 ¼” Low-slung smoother

I just finished this commission. Here is a picture with its first coat of finish.

1¼” Low-slung smoother – 6⅛” long, 1¼” wide blade, 01 Tool steel, Naval brass, Kingwood infill
I was contacted a couple of months ago by a local woodworker and hand tool enthusiast, who was interested in potentially commissioning one of my planes. The next step was simple, invite him over for a Saturday afternoon and take some shavings. It was a great day, low key and lots of fun. He was able to try all of my planes, old and new, and was happy to pick them up and put them to work. Like myself, he enjoys doing smaller woodworking projects and he was attracted to the feel and versatility of the 1¼” low-slung smoother. If you do fine woodworking, chances are you do smallish projects such as box making or small drawers, or your larger projects include small details such as inlays. This small smoother is great for all sorts of smallish jobs and can be used comfortably with two hands or one. Why use a sanding block to remove machining marks from the edges of a small drawer side? One or two passes with this plane and the edge is smooth and ready for finishing.

Or use it with one hand to gently round an edge or clean up a chamfer.

With the blade cambered, I can level up a delicate joint or smooth any small surface.

Of course every woodworker has a favourite plane to perform these tasks. You certainly do not need this plane or an infill plane - whatever works for you. I would just like to encourage more woodworkers to trust in their fine planes on projects. I’d rather sweep up shavings than sanding dust. I actually use this size plane to fit my parallel sided infills and the first time I tried it I was surprised at how accurate this method is.

I was finally able to get my hands on Naval brass for this plane thanks to a good Samaritan in America. It was a great brass to work with and it will be what I use for now on for my low-slung smoothers. Here are some more pictures of the finished plane.

While taking the photos for this most recent blog, my wife and I had a play with the video feature of her camera. It was a bit of fun – you can check it out on the new Video page on my website - BJS Planes and Working - Video page.