Japanese Ironed Infill Plane Bodies

Copyright 2002 by Jim Wilson
(Click images to enlarge)

Japanese Iron Infill Plane (cocobolo)

This is the first plane of primarily my own design. It was inspired and molded by Steve Knight of Knight Toolworks.

Encouraged by the successful introduction of infilled smoothing planes to his product line, Steve Knight approached me in April of 2001 with the idea of creating an infilled smoother with a Japanese plane iron.

I was intrigued by the idea of combining the advantages of the very different Japanese and British plane-making traditions, and I wanted to do more than simply adapt a familiar infill design to accept a Japanese iron.

Japanese Iron Infill Plane (ebony) I have a deep admiration for tools that perform well, that are simple, solid, and dependable. I also find myself drawn, perhaps equally as much, to the beauty of a thing. So I worked not only to ensure that the plane would be an outstanding performer, but also to give it a certain aesthetic appeal. I tried to step beyond mere function, and truly marry the east and west.

Plane Body The plane has simple, clean lines. It is slightly longer and wider (9" x 2-3/4") than a traditional British infilled smoother, but not as tall. The tapered Japanese iron is bedded at 47 degrees, which, because of the iron's taper, presents the cutting edge to the work at just over 49 degrees.

The iron is locked in place by a wooden wedge and a uniquePivoting Wedge Cap pivoting wedge cap. The cap provides the wooden wedge with a large contact area, without which the rod would eventually dent the wood, making precise adjustment difficult. The traditional cap iron is absent, as it is not necessary at the cutting angle and shaving thicknesses (0.001" - 0.004") in the plane's design performance envelope.

British infill smoother Traditional Japanese smootherJapanese planes are pulled, and the mouth is located further back. British infills, which are pushed, place the mouth forward. These arrangements put the greater portion of the sole's bearing surface on the end of the plane to which the greater pressure is applied during use. The Japanese Ironed Infill Smoother takes a middle course; the mouth is centered between the toe and heel to make a pull stroke as easy as a push stroke.

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