The new plane for Handworks
This new plane did not come about exactly like the K13... but very close. It started with a conversation and then a question, “have you ever thought about approaching a shoulder plane the way you did the K-series of planes?”
It was a great question and one I had not considered. The last 8 months have been filled with drawings, further conversations, and a whole lot of fun and tomfoolery. And it has been as much fun as developing the K13.
It started with lots of sketches until something looked right, and then progressed to a full sized mock-up.
The first mock-up was made from 1-1/4" wide Walnut and was a pretty quick exercise. There were curves and radius’s everywhere, so the real reason for this mock-up was to see if what I had envisioned would translate into a 3D form. There comes a point where it is easier to make a scale model than to try and draw something... so I ‘drew’ in 3D. Working like this is always fun, and things come together very quickly (I wish planemaking was this easy!).
This was the first mock-up, and was pretty close to what I had envisioned. The scoop at the front was not right though, nor was the radius at the top of the nose.
It is very similar in size to a Norris No.7 shoulder plane.
I spent quite a bit more time on the second mock-up, going so far as to make Mahogany sidewalls and a sole - with Walnut infill. The curves are fairly complicated, and I wanted to simulate what would happen to them with 1/8" steel sidewalls. I did not want any surprised when I made the prototype.
I am glad I put in the extra effort - it gave me a much better picture of what it would look like and gave me the last little bits of information I needed before starting the prototype.
The most significant change was to the nose of the plane. The scoop at the front is curved on the inside and is very comfortable for ones thumb. You can also rest the thick padded area below your thumb on the chamfered edge - just like on the K13. The top radius changed too, and provided the visual curve across the front that I was looking for (and is on all the K-series of planes).
The second mock-up is also wider - 1-1/2". I figured it would be the most challenging width to keep the curves looking and feeling right. A narrower plane should be easier to maintain because the curves are not as stretched out side to side.
I had several opportunities to show the second mock-up to a few people. I was very pleased to see everyone go through most of the different hand positions I had imagined. It was time to make the real plane.
The prototyping process was wonderful - it reminded me of the K13 all over again. I found myself in the shop late at night ‘in my spare time’, and stealing a few minutes here and there between other planes. I am very pleased with how it has turned out, both in the way it feels and the way it looks.
... and in the way it works.
I am really looking forward to bringing it to HandWorks this coming weekend, and for lots of people to try it out and provide feedback. I am particularly interested in how people find its ergonomics, so if you are attending, please stop by and let me know what you think.
In keeping with the naming/numbering system started with the K13 (13 because it is 13" long), this new plane will be a KS-1.5. The ‘S’ for shoulder, and the 1.5 because of the width. I am somewhat embarrassed about how much time I have spent stressing about what to call this thing... but then I remember that I spent even more time stressing about what infill to use... so I feel a little better about it then. The sides and sole are 01 tool steel and the infill is African Blackwood.
Safe travels everyone!