This is the first of the three “new design” hand planes I have been working on.
In keeping with my practice of naming my hand planes after Irish geographical features, this one is called The Mannin Bay. At under 7″ in length it is a neat, sweet plane with some interesting features. Not least among these is the Oak Leaf detail on the front.
See video of the plane in use:
The infill and tote are Padauk, which rubs up beautifully with Shellac. As this hand plane is relatively small, I had to take special care with the design of the tote. I wanted this one to be a “handled” plane. What I came up with is what I call a “finger tote”. This refers to the smaller than usual finger hole. Usually, in a closed tote or handle, this hole has roughly a kidney shape and is large enough for most of the fingers; but here it is round and just big enough for the 2nd and 3rd fingers to go through, the first and fourth finger resting on the side of the tote and lower plane body respectively. This arrangement gives great control over the plane.
Again, as the tote is relatively small, I also felt that the spur might interfere with the grip and therefore, reversed its direction; instead of sweeping backward, it cocks forward. I call this my “crane’s bill” spur, as it holds in a similar position to the bills of cranes when they are courting (see pic below). The fact that I included a brass blade-bed in this plane, which independently supports the blade, meant that I was able to put some curves on the forward end of the tote which adds to the aesthetic.
A cross pin is used instead of machine screws to secure the lever-cap and the ends of the cross pin have artificial ivory inlaid for a touch of detail. The same artificial ivory is inlaid into the lever-cap knob. All in all, I am very happy with this plane; it handles well and planes wood smoothly and easily. The bed angle is 50 degrees, with a bevel down configuration. It should be a useful adjunct to my collection, especially for small smoothing work and will also look well in the glass cabinet. All that’s left to do now is to engrave my name on the lever cap.
For some reason that I can’t figure out, this plane doesn’t photograph particularly well; it looks much better in reality than it does in the photographs. Maybe I’m just not a good photographer. Anyway here are a couple of pictures of the plane in one of the glass cabinets in my Collector’s Room.