Monday 11 May 2015

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!


Blogger Jeremy said...

Incredible! That is so very sleek & racy , I'll definitely be willing to give that a try later this week at Handworks. Absolutely perfect design, one-upped yourself again.

11 May 2015 at 13:08  
Blogger Pedder said...

Hi Konrad,

perfect design, very fast silouette!

Do you push the plane at the wedge?


11 May 2015 at 13:21  
Blogger Richard Wile said...

Nice work Konrad, looking forward to trying it out!

11 May 2015 at 15:37  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Jeremy - looking forward to your comments on the weekend.


11 May 2015 at 15:55  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Pedder,

Yes, you do push the plane at the wedge with one hand and the other is somewhere near the scoop.


11 May 2015 at 15:56  
Blogger Konrad said...

Looking forward to your feedback and comments Richard - safe travels to Amana.


11 May 2015 at 15:57  
Blogger Kevin Brehon said...

This one reminds me of waves on the water. I won't make it to Handworks so hopefully I get to try it out another time.

11 May 2015 at 23:56  
Blogger Kevin Brehon said...

This one reminds me of waves on the water. I won't make it to Handworks so hopefully I get to try it out another time.

11 May 2015 at 23:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, waves lapping. Your plane is beautiful.


12 May 2015 at 08:40  
Blogger nbreidinger said...

Can't wait to try it myself at Handworks. Another beautiful plane, Konrad.

13 May 2015 at 09:10  
Blogger John said...

As much as I like the wave comparison, am I the only one who sees something else in this brilliant plane: a silver fox with a brown bushy tail that is pulled back as he runs.

Konrad, you are designing and making tools that carry hand planes to new levels of beauty and precise utility.

15 May 2015 at 02:05  
Blogger pjped said...

I consider you the finest hand tool designer working today.
I'm sure your workmanship is at the highest level as well, but its your designs that strike me... they embody all that I was taught as an Industrial Designer many years ago, yet I've never created something as beautiful as these K-planes.
Above all you have impeccable taste, which is really at the core of great design.

16 May 2015 at 20:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a cool design for a shoulder plane. Looks like it is moving with that forward 'lean'. Reminds me of the 50's.

10 June 2015 at 15:18  
Blogger John said...

Will we ever see one of these for sale?


3 August 2015 at 00:24  
Anonymous Dan A said...

i just have to say that might be the sexiest plane i have ever seen i love it great work but then again all your work is beautifull

19 September 2016 at 22:21  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Dan - I really appreciate it.


20 September 2016 at 05:57  

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Monday 4 May 2015

May the Fourth be with you!

I am of a ‘particular age’. The first movie I saw in a theatre was Star Wars.  I went with my best friend Jeff Dyck and our respective fathers. We lined up and waited through at least one showing - a true block-buster. It may have been two showings - I cannot remember. I do remember our Dads took turns walking home to get food to tide us over as we baked in the sun. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and this one was a real doozie. For a first movie experience, you cannot get any better than Star Wars. I am not sure how many times I saw it that year - but I know it was over five. I still watch it from time to time, and while some of the effects are not what they are today, it still transports me to back to being a seven year old.

I had Star Wars action figures, bed sheets, and my parents even sprang for a few rolls of Star Wars wallpaper - enough to do one wall. I still have all my Star Wars trading cards - multiple complete sets I might add. For Christmas one year, Jill and the boys gave me a Lego Millennium Falcon and I am not sure who was more excited about it - me or the kids. I am still a sucker for Star Wars themed t-shirts and buy them whenever I see them.

When Episode One came out, our kids were the age I was in 1977 - it was perfect. I called my Dad and invited him to come with us. We sat there, all lined up in the theatre, and that first musical note gave me goose bumps - with my Dad on one side and the kids on the other - it was pretty awesome.

I woke up the other morning to a link from Riley - the time signature would suggest a stern talking to is in order - and confirms that we officially have a teenager - I am no longer the last one to go to bed anymore. It was a link to a trailer for the upcoming Star Wars movie. It looked pretty awesome - what you would expect from a Star Wars trailer, but I was not expecting the four seconds between 1:33 and 1:37. The voice was unmistakable, and the hair on my arms stood up - I think I may have started tearing up a little. I know that four seconds was aimed directly at me, but frankly - I don’t even care, and if I am totally honest, I love them for it. It was unexpected and set the stage for a great day (Jill would say I have a secret crush on Harrison Ford).

I thanked Riley and told him that I got goosebumps - he said he did as well. I then emailed the link to my Dad.

It seemed like an appropriate post for May the fourth (be with you). Yes - that is me on the left in my Star Wars shirt - Chewie with his crossbow and Han with his blaster - just like trading card No.111 (go on, betcha can’t stop yourself from googling it).


Blogger Richard Wile said...

"May the Fourth be with you". This is the text my wife sent to me this morning - we, my friend, are pathetic...


4 May 2015 at 07:40  
Blogger Konrad said...

Yes - maybe we are... but our numbers are great!

4 May 2015 at 07:43  
Blogger John said...

May the Fourth be With You on the Fifth.

5 May 2015 at 00:11  
Blogger Chris Bame said...

May the fourth be with you on Cinco De Mayo
From way South of our Northern border.
Greetings from Texas

5 May 2015 at 10:44  
Anonymous Narayan said...

Star Wars was my first movie too. I remember my dad asking me, "Do you want to see Star Wars or Puff the Magic Dragon?" and I asked what Star Wars was about. He said, "It's about a war... that takes place in the stars."

I am thankful that my first movie did not involve a magic dragon named Puff.

5 May 2015 at 12:14  
Blogger Konrad said...

and you on the 6th John :)

6 May 2015 at 18:17  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Chris.

6 May 2015 at 18:17  
Blogger Konrad said...

That is too funny Narayan - I am glad I was not given such an option... although my mother was mortified that dad took us to Star Wars... she would have much preferred another episode of Little House on the Prarie.

6 May 2015 at 18:22  

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