The evolution of the K7 prototype
That lasted 2 days.
By day 3, I had visions of other K-series planes - an unhandled smoother surfaced first. While stoking the morning fire, my brain wandered off and I knew I needed something to draw on. There was a fleeting moment when I think I actually reached for an old cedar shake - then I remembered all that excessive packaging I’m always complain about - surely there would be something to write on in the trunk of the car? Nestea to the rescue. I dumped all the drinking boxes and used the inside of the paper wrapper.
It was not a long drawing session, but just enough to get a few thoughts on paper so I would remember where I left off when I had a chance to return to them.
A month or so later, my friend Eric called to see if he could stop in to take a look at the K13. He had asked me to make him a SNo.4L early in the year, and when he had a chance to try the K13, he asked if it would be possible to incorporate any of the K13 design features into his SNo.4L. He was very polite and not pushy about the subject, which I really appreciated. I thought about it and decided to see what I could do. Eric has an intense artistic streak in him, and the idea of experimenting is what this is all about. I already had all the parts for his plane roughed out and ready to go, so anything I did had to work with these parts (he was aware of this too).
I was most curious to see how (and if) the low front pad and the scoop on the inside would translate into a small plane. I pulled out the drawings for the K7 and started to tinker.
The plane turned out wonderfully - we were both pleased with it. I was excited about the fact that the front pad translated so well. I was also a bit relieved. The angle to the rear infill was also successful. Eric has fairly long fingers - which is what prompted the SNo.4L in the first place (this plane is 1/2" longer than the SNo.4). The angle makes the rear infill slightly longer without altering the bed height or the support for the lever cap screw.
Now I was dying to get to the K7 prototype.
Last fall, I acquired a rather rare piece of wood - Pink Ivory. Finding a piece of Pink Ivory large enough for a plane is one thing... finding a piece that has been air drying and properly stored for over 25 years was staggering. I knew 2 things... it had to be used on the right plane - a non-handled plane - and a smallish plane. I did not want it to look cheezy. Secondly - it would be pretty unconventional.
Perfect. (and thanks Jay for the nudge).
This was the first evolution of the plane. There was one area that I was not 100% with - the top edge of the sidewall where it meets the bed. The chamfer from the point down and around the inside of the pad was a no-brainer - but I was not sure about how it terminated at the point. I decided to let it sit for a while and see how it felt over time.
I had the K7 prototype in Montreal a few weeks ago and my friend Wayne commented that he found the scoop on the inside of the pad a little small - he has rather large thumbs. He was almost apologetic about the comment but I am very grateful for it. I returned home knowing I would modify the inside scoop. It was just a matter of gaining the courage to rework a finished plane. As with most things... it is better to not over think it and just jump in and go for it.
It was a fairly quick process and I immediately knew it was an improvement. While I was at it - I decided to address the top edge of the sidewall too. A tapered chamfer similar to the one at the tail end of the K13 and K18 seemed like the right solution.
Here are a bunch of photos of the K7 prototype. The plane is 7" long, has a 1-3/4" wide, high carbon steel blade bedded at 52.5 degrees. The sides and sole are 01 tool steel and the lever cap and screw are stainless steel.
There is also a handled version in the works. It will likely be called a K8 or K9 depending on the final configuration.