Making a hybrid high-angle plane for figured woods
Recently a lot of the cherry I’ve been working with has had a lot of curl and figure to it. As much as I love my Stanley Type 2 #604 the 45° bedding angle just isn’t steep enough to handle highly figured hardwoods.
Modern western plane makers have two approaches to this problem. Lei-Nielsen sells replacement frogs for it’s planes that come in 50° and 55°. The other approach is to just flip the blade over, make the plane bed a low angle, and work with the bevel up (such as the Veritas Planes).
I wasn’t quite ready to drop a couple hundred $ on a new plane so I went with a third option. Hock Tools sells very nice and very thick blades for Krenov Style plane making. A few years ago I bought one of these blades with the plan of eventually making a small infill plane. Allas, the blade had just been gathering dust on a shelf next to the stack of steel and brass.
I have also developed an interest in Japanese style planes and had been having the thought of making this in the back of my head for a while.
The final straw was seeing this post by Wilbur Pan; I decided to make a high-angle pull plane with my Hock blade (Minus the metal mouth insert from Wilbur’s post).
True Japanese planes have a tapered blade that wedges itself into the body (Dai) due to a matching taper cut into it. (if you want to see the process that goes into cutting a Dai this page over on daikudojo.org has a nice photogallery).
The hybrid plane I made may look somewhat like a Japanese plane, but it’s construction technique is based on Krenov Style plane making. The blade is bedded at 55°.
Matt over at mattsbasementworkshop.com has a great 2 part video series on making a Krenov plane from the kit available at Hock tools (part 1, part 2). Kari over at The village carpenter also has an article about Krenov planes. Finally David Finick wrote an article in Fine Woodworking issue #196.
I made my high angle smoother out of quarter-sawn Wenge because I had it around, it’s DENSE, and I thought it would look cool 🙂