This smoothing plane is a necessary component of your hand tool collection, with the ability to smooth an array of timber surfaces with little to no sanding required. The plane can be used as a plane or as a scraper, which ultimately provides you with two tools in one. To use the plane in planing mode you place the blade in bevel down, which results in a blade pitch of 60 degrees. By reversing the blade to bevel up you are effectively creating a 90 degree blade pitch which is the same as a cabinet scraper.
We have designed our planes to have a 60 degree blade pitch due to the superior results you will achieve on hard woods, or curly/reversing grain. You will also get great results on soft woods too, especially if there are changes in grain direction as you will be able to plane both with and against the grain.
The style of this plane is excellent as you use the plane square on (either behind or in front depending on whether you are pushing or pulling the plane). Having the option to push or pull the plane makes certain jobs easier, for example planing a table top. You can push the plane half way through the table and then pull it from the other end of the table, meaning you are getting a full length shaving. It also means your body is more in balance. The handle on this plane is removable on a taper if required.
This plane is made from gidgee and is 210mm long x 67mm wide x 38mm high, and has a weight of 0.9kg. It has the option of a 50mm wide x 6mm thick x 97mm long Tool Steel (TS) blade hardened to Rc 62-64, or a High Speed Steel (HSS) blade hardened to Rc 62. The HSS blade is ideal if you plan to reverse the plane to bevel up and use it as a scraper on hard timber.
Overall a very high quality tool, beautifully made. Not quite ready to use out of the box as although the iron was nearly as sharp as I like them, it was ground slightly out of square (0.5 to 1mm), and that was more than the lateral movement of the iron could compensate for. After regrinding the iron, honing was quick as the back of the iron was close to perfectly flat. After that, the plane lived up to it's reputation, it planed some very curly whitebeam (European fruitwood) with next to no tear out.
This smoothing plane is so well made, I can't recommend it enough! Definitely worth while going for the hss blade for scraping too. I have tried it on ironbark, red gum, blackbutt, eucalypt etc and it works flawlessly. The mechanism is simple and becomes second nature after an hour or so of use. My first wooden body plane, couldn’t have gotten a better one! Cheers HNT Gordon.
Overall it is a great experience using the smoothing plane. Takes a little time to get used to setting the plane the traditional way. I specifically got this plane to deal with extremely well seasoned hardwood to deal with tear out. Beautiful tool, beautifully crafted.
The plane is a beautiful tool, as others have commented the Gidgee wood is beautiful and surprisingly dense. Precision in workmanship is to my eye as high as is possible in wood. The tiny width of the mouth opening with the blade in place is an example of this, as is the smoothness of all surfaces including the blade bed. After some lapping and final honing of the blade I tested the plane on a difficult piece of curly maple which produced tearout with my usual 45 degree planes no matter how sharp the iron. Ultra thin shavings were easy to produce, and the resulting surface was free from tearout, just as promised, and also my main reason for importing a plane from Australia to Sweden. The general feel was one of predictability and quality. The separate Asian style handle was a little unfamiliar to me, but the plane is possible to use without it if one prefers, like for example Krenov style planes which also lack handles. The simplicity of wooden planes without chipbreakers is wonderful. Overall I am very satisfied so far!
I already own two of the more western style planes and as good as they are this one is in a league of its own. Beautifully designed and beautifully made. Even the high end iron equivalent simply cannot compare. Something to treasure. Australia should be very proud of HNT Gordon.