Contemporary design combining precision engineering with traditional hand craft.

The No.985 Smoother.

No.984 Panel Plane.
I know I said I was retiring but I get ideas for planes and can’t rest, so I am now making the No. 985 smoothing plane.

One of the things about the smoothing plane is that it is for finishing work only and this is best achieved by keeping the plane as short as possible. In the past a smoothing plane was a smoothing plane and usually about 7 1/2" sole length, obviously here we are not trying to straighten or flatten the wood, this means very fine cutting. You have to follow into imperfect surfaces which bigger planes wouldn't reach.

For this plane the adjuster had to go and I wanted a full rear handle but had to lose some of its height, which is fine as most people are happy with just holding with three fingers leaving the index finger to rest on the side of the blade for orientation and feedback. I have had to make a compromise on the length of the sole as I could not get down to 7 1/2" but settled for 7 7/8". One reason it was hard to keep the length down is because I managed to retain a 50 degree working angle on the rear tote, which makes the plane much more comfortable to use. Not to be confused with the blade angle which is 54 deg.

The plane is in 416 stainless steel and the wood used for the handles is the same as the No 984 - Dalbergia Stevensonii. This wood is hard, dimensionally stable, has a nice texture and retains its contrast and colour. The lever cap and thumb wheel are in a similar design to my No 984 plane also. The handles are extremely rigid and show no sign of their fixtures (another example of hidden work). As my blog progresses you will see more about them.

This is a designed and engineered tool and I feel that I am fulfilling my object of always surpassing the standard which has gone before. I thought this was a good stage to let people know what the No.985 plane will look like. I have added two drawings though I do get paranoid about being copied.

You can follow the progress of this plane on my blog.

No.98 Smoothers.

No.98 Smoothers.

No.98 Boxwood.
No.98 Boxwood.
The Final No 98 smoother planes.

It was in 1998 that I designed this plane, the bevelled up smoother, as I found I was having some remarkable results with the low angled bevel up mitre plane. I felt that a smoother plane would be much more comfortable to use for surface finishing.

After many hours on the drawing board and distractions with other projects the plane slowly developed. The No.98 has been modified over the last few years to incorporate some of my new ideas used in other 98 series designs, the result being a more user friendly plane.

The No.98 was a milestone because I wasn’t aware of any other bevell up smoothing planes at the time, only butcher block planes which had a much lower angle for working end grain. The No.98 was also possibly the first stainless steel plane.

From day one this plane has impressed me with the way it feels in the hand, and with these last few planes I have made a small embellishment to the blade as a final finishing touch - which can be seen in the photos here. The smoothing plane has been a starter plane for many people and I can’t think of a better plane than this one. If you are fortunate enough to put your hands on one you would understand the ergonomics, the smoothness, the weight and general ease of use.

There are a total of six planes in this batch, the four shown here and two specials to follow.

Price is £5,150 + vat (if applicable) + delivery. Specials will be a bit more.

No.98 Cocobolo. No.98 Horn. No.98 Louvelli.
No.98 Cocobolo. No.98 Horn. No.98 Louvelli.

No.98 Lever Cap and Adjuster.