Popular Woodworking 2008-08 № 170, страница 23

Popular Woodworking 2008-08 № 170, страница 23

— Endurance Test •—

BY CHRISTOPHER SCHWARZ

Wayne Anderson Smoother

A high-angle tool of last resort, this small plane can go anywhere and plane almost anything.

l—^spite the amount of bronze, iron and beech in my tool cabinet, most woodworkers need only three bench planes: A fore plane to reduce the thickness of boards, a jointer plane to flatten them and a smoothing plane to prepare them for finishing.

That's in a perfect world. In reality, we work with a material (wood) that is unpredictable, cantankerous and vexing - like my first redheaded girlfriend.

During the last few years, I've gradually folded a fourth plane into my arsenal, and now I cannot imagine working without it.

It's a small smoothing plane with a steeply pitched iron (a 57° angle of attack), no chipbreaker and a mouth aperture that a gnat would have a hard time squeezing through without damaging his Dipteran hinder.

This is my plane of last resort. When my 50°-pitch smoothing plane leaves nasty torn grain in its wake, I pull out this plane. It doesn't care if there'sagrain reversal in the board. Or if I'm planing against the grain. Or if the grain is interlocked, curly or worse. When set for a fine cut, this plane almost never fails me.

This plane has become a staple ofWayne Anderson, a custom planemaker in Elk River, Minn, (andersonplanes.com or763-241-0138). This form of plane started out several years ago with Wayne's interest in high-angle planes

About Our Endurance Tests

Every tool featured in our Endurance Test column has survived at least two years of heavy use in our shop here at Popular Woodworking.

without a chipbreaker. He built this version for writer Kerry Pierce to test for a competing magazine. Then I bought the plane from Wayne. (Despite the fact that it was a used tool, I paid full price.)

Since that lime, I've fallen head-over-heels for the plane, and Wayne has pushed the tool's design in new directions for other customers. If you're not familiar with Wayne's work, he's a bit different than other custom makers. He seldom makes the same tool twice.

The profile on the rear of the iron might change. Or the shape of the sidewall or lever cap will morph. But the tool still looks like itself-like a fraternal twin.

As to the function of the tool, you could set up a 6"-long block plane to do the exact same job, but there's no way the tool will look as good or fit your hand so well.

With this small smoothing plane, the coffin shape of the body lets you squeeze the tool right in the middle by its mouth. And having mastered the tool, I find I can change the depth of cut merely by squeezing and pressing at the center of the tool, or by releasing that pressure. The weight of the plane (2 lbs. 2 oz.) keeps the tool in the cut without chattering

Anderson Planes - 763-241-0138 or

andersonplanes.com Street price - Varies

(try that with your block plane) even when I use little-girl pressure to control it. The result: Thin shavings; no tearing.

The rear bun is rounded nicely so it feels good against my right palm, and the tall iron keeps my hand right where it should be.

The short sole (about 5'/2") allows you to plane in areas that longer smoothing planes can't get to. When I say this I don't mean tight little spaces inside a cabinet, 1 mean the small and large hollows that occur on any flat board. A small tool rides the gentle waves of a board where a longer plane skims off the peaks instead. And when you're trying to get a tabletop looking right (perfect flatness be darned) a short plane is invaluable.

If you're thinking of investing in one custom plane, this plane would be an excellent addition to any standard lineup. These tools start at $825. Need more convincing? Wayne has provided a slide show of the different forms of this plane during the last few years that you can download from our web site. I'll warn you, however, it's dangerous to watch. PW

36 ■ Popular Woodworking August 2008

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