|How do you get yourself an
infilled smoothing plane on a budget?
Well, you can't. Or at least you can't easy. I found this beat up old casting on Ebay for pretty cheap. Had to pay to ship it all the way from Aus. The casting was good n thick though, a fine start. Plus it's the size of a Stanley #2 and you know I like little.
First order of business was stripping it and cleaning everything up. Then I selected (doesn't that sound glamorous?) ok, I scrounged my precious wood stash and came up with enough deep red rosewood for the plane stuffing and a piece of cocobola for the wedge. Yeah I know, not matchy matchy. Pretty close to the same color though.
I decided on the Swedish type grip behind the blade. I love that tall, curved, hand fitting grip they put on many of theirs. So perfectly fitting to your hand compared to the usual block.
I like the style called overstuffed which means the wood infill covers over the top of the frame. It's extra work for sure but the profile has always seems so elegant and clearly worth the effort. After the basic block was fitted It was time to profile the grip. This was accomplished with rasps, files, scrapers and sandpaper.
A polish on a buffing wheel completes the finish. I don't use any other finish on most of the tropical wood I use for tools. You don't need it. A good buffing with al/ox polishing compound on a slow turning buffing wheel (around 1000rpm) brings up a polish that is deeply beautiful and soft to the skin. Plus, if anything happens to it, you can repolish it in 90 seconds flat.
With the rosewood stuffing and the weight of the casting this is a very heavy plane. I wanted some way to lift the front end at the end of each stroke. Many planes, including the famous Norris pattern, use a simple block, but without a tote I needed something to grab hold of to lift the plane for the return stroke. I never saw a forward protruding grip on any kind of plane at all, but that's what I wanted for this one. I know it looks simple, but try it! I think I spent more time designing and fitting this grip than any other part of the plane project.
This plane uses a heavy tapered Mathieson iron. Yeah, I know, a thick paralell iron would be better. When Bill Gates stops by I'll ask for an increase in my allowance.