Friday 11 July 2014

introducing the K5 and K6

It has been a very long time since I have made 2 prototypes at one time. Actually - I am not sure if I have ever made 2 prototypes at one time. I suppose it was inevitable that a K5 and K6 would be made - I was just not sure when. A good friend and customer got the ball rolling.

I wanted to make a few changes to the K5 and K6 from their similarly sized No.4 versions. The K5 and XSNo.4 are similar and the K6 and SNo.4 are similar. In general, the K-series of planes are designed to be lighter in weight with improved ergonomics - especially in the rear infill. They are lower to the ground and have a wee bit less infill material.

The K5 is 5-1/2" long with a 1-1/2" wide blade. This one is infilled with African Blackwood - a wood that I have not used on a prototype for a long time (my A2 jointing plane from 2005). I had an over-sized set for a XSNo.4 that worked perfectly. It was really nice to work with African Blackwood again - such a hard, dense, stable true Rosewood that is much more complex in color and texture than Ebony. Plus it smells way better than Desert Ironwood. This plane has a V11 blade and a 52.5 degree bed angle.


The K6 is 6-1/4" long with a 1-5/8" wide blade. A little narrower than the SNo.4 and with an even more tapered footprint. This one is infilled with another Rosewood that I am not 100% sure about. It is not Brazilian Rosewood - it does not have that tell-tale smell, but it does not smell like Cocobolo either - the next obvious wood. I suspect it may be one of the many odd variants out there that does not really fall into any one category of Rosewood. No matter - it is stunning looking and very pleasant to work with.

It also has that wonderful black streak through it, running front to back. This is a characteristic most common in old growth Brazilian Rosewood but does show up in other Rosewoods from time to time. I have even seen it in old East Indian Rosewood - a rare find even in old growth let alone the more common plantation grown E.I. Rosewood.

I was able to take a few photos of the expanding family of planes, the K4, K5, K6 and K7. I am really pleased with how the family of planes look together. They graduate in size very nicely and while none of the planes are just scaled from one to the next, they look like they are.

In other news, but related to the K-series of planes... Riley and I were doing some errands yesterday and spotted a new German auto shop just down the street from our house. There were 2 restored VW bugs and then whammo - a silver 1962 Porsche 356. I just about crashed the car as I cranked my neck to stare at it. We cut our errands short and took a short walk, camera in hand. I asked the shop owner if we could look at it and take a few photos. He was fine with it. I  have always loved vintage Porsche’s - 50’s, 60’s up to early 70’s. 911’s in particular, but the 356 is also dreamy. They are pure sculpture, no hard edges anywhere - just smooth flowing curves, one transitioning perfectly into the next. To my eyes - nothing can touch these cars aesthetically.

I am often asked where inspiration comes from. Seeing this car revealed a one word answer - Porsche.


Blogger nbreidinger said...

It's always amazing to me to see that rare design ability to perfectly dimension each piece. While the naked eye would suggest a simple mathematical scaling equation would do the trick, anyone who's designed anything so painstakingly as yourself knows that it's never that simple. Beautiful work. I will own one of your planes some day. I had a chance to use one at WIA 2013 and I think your planes share something in common with that Porsche 356 - pure sculpture yet peak performance and pure joy to use. You're designs are up there with Dieter Rams and Jony Ive in my opinion.

11 July 2014 at 15:07  
Blogger Steve Voigt said...

Konrad, those are great looking planes. I've admired the K4 for a while--I have to admit it was a direct inspiration for the first plane I ever sold. It's nice to see the line expanding. I'm a big fan of the 356 as well.

11 July 2014 at 15:33  
Blogger Steve Kirincich said...

K for Konrad?

11 July 2014 at 21:44  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Congratulations Konrad. That sequence of planes K series planes look fantastic. Lucky fellow that gets the K5 and K6. :)
Ohhhhh!!!!!! I don't know which I'm drooling over more the family of planes or the 356.
Great work.

14 July 2014 at 08:16  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks natejb - for the very kind comments and for recognizing that scaling a design is more complicated that a simple math equation. Nice to know you had a chance to try one as well.


14 July 2014 at 08:23  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Steve,

Being able to inspire someone to make their own planes is about as great a compliment one could get - glad it had that effect on your.

I am going to take another walk today and check out the 356 again... it is just too easy being 8 houses away:)


14 July 2014 at 08:24  
Blogger Konrad said...

Yes Steve - K is for Konrad :)


14 July 2014 at 08:24  
Blogger Konrad said...

Kevin - it is pretty easy for me - I have a drool bucket beside the 356. I am going to return again today to admire it some more. The lines on it are so complicated really - and free-formed. It is a staggering car.

My friend Richard reminded me that it would likely drive like a VW bug:)


14 July 2014 at 08:26  
Blogger Tom @ Lumber Logs said...

As for automobile design aesthetics, it is at least as easy to gaze at an Austin-Healey, Jaguar E-type, or Jaguar Mark 2. Ferrari managed a few winners too; what they all have in common is the era: 1950s and 1960s.

16 July 2014 at 14:44  
Blogger Konrad said...

I am with you Tom - the 50s and 60s were an incredible time in design. There was a classic car show in our downtown last weekend and I loved seeing all the restored cars. There were two E-types - the show could have ended there. I have often thought that someone should bring back the hood ornament - there were some seriously stunning ones at the show.


16 July 2014 at 17:45  
Blogger Chris Bame said...

Wow Konrad. Great job filling out the K series.The shots of them all lined up had me drooling.
Like the 356 but I'm a Corvette guy!!

18 July 2014 at 23:23  
Anonymous Derek Cohen said...

Hi Konrad

That plane is just insane with the African Blackwood! It is simply stunning! My compliments.

And, yes, the 356 is also special - curves that flow and go on forever. You have a very good eye.

I am still mourning selling my silver 1957 356A three years ago, after a 12 year restoration. Don't ask. It was replaced by another Porsche, however.

Regards from Perth


19 July 2014 at 07:05  
Blogger Konrad said...

Derek. First things first... you sold a 1957 356a... must have been one of those left arm or 356a conversations. I trust the replacement Porsche is a 1960's 911?

Glad you like the African Blackwood K5, but I am still thinking through the 356a... that one is going to take some time to digest:)


19 July 2014 at 22:15  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Chris,

You can be a Corvette guy - I certainly won't hold it against you:) Do you have a favourite year? Do you like the classics or the new ones? Riley is generally a new power and performance guy - but he is starting to appreciate the lines and forms of the classics now too.


20 July 2014 at 07:27  

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