No. 4 Smoothing
Model shown in Desert Ironwood with bronze lever cap & screw
Meet the No. 4
This was a very close reproduction to my first infill plane – a Spiers coffin smoother, and the first curve sided, or ‘coffin’ shape plane I made. It took a couple years of making parallel sided planes before I found the courage to attempt a curve sided plane. Looking back on it now, it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined, but at the time, it felt like base camp looking up at Mount Everest. There are several versions of this No.4 size – all having do to with the width and bed angle. I have medium sized hands and prefer smaller and narrow planes – an unhandled plane with a 2” wide blade is about as wide as I can comfortably use. A wider plane will keep your hand in a more open position while holding the rear infill. This is fine for periodic planning, but for prolonged use, the ‘open’ position can start to fatigue your hand – because of how hard you have to pinch to hold of it. This is particularly noticeable on the return stroke where you are effectively lifting the plane. I have made No.4’s with 2-1/4” wide blades, but suggest this size only for people with really large hands. The most common bed angle is 52.5 degrees, but I have made them as low as 50, and as high as 55.
See different material configurations in the gallery