Monday, 30 April 2018

A spare SNo.4L

I started this plane in November 2016 as we were renovating the second floor of our house. A month later, I injured my shoulder and was diagnosed with Parsonage Turners syndrome. Basically, a neurological over reaction to a fairly minor incident. There isn’t really treatment for it – other than to wait for the damaged nerves to recover and then slowly grow back the muscle that has wasted away. The average ‘recovery’ takes 18-24 months. This has been the toughest 16 months of my life – physically and mentally. At this point, I am not sure how this will play out nor what the implications will be for making planes. 

I have started and finished 4, small planes in 16 months – normally I would have made over 40. I am continuing to take commissions, but with the understanding, that I cannot commit to a time frame or even if I will be able to complete it. I am working through the queue, but bypassing all the larger planes – or anything with a handle… I am not able to do that scale work yet (and I a quite certain my jointing plane days are over).

My hope is that I will fully recover and I will be able to return to plane making under my own terms. 

At the risk of sounding like a jerk - for all the people who have said, ‘one day I will buy one of your planes’ over the years… this might be your best option. As I said, I am hoping to be able to put all this behind me, but at the pace I am recovering, and the distance between where I am and where I need to be... I am not sure how long of if it will happen.

The plane is 7" long, with an 01 tool steel sole, bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw. The blade is 1-3/4" wide - a custom blade from Ron Hock and at a 52.5 degree bed angle. The infill is desert ironwood.

This SNo.4L has been sold.


Anonymous Fairwoodworking said...

As a card carrying "one day'er", I guess I'll need to upgrade to "Oh God I hope one day'er". Hang in there, whatever "there" becomes. We're all cheering for you.

30 April 2018 at 21:12  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Man!

30 April 2018 at 21:48  
Blogger Daniel said...

I'm in the "I sure hope your recovery will be complete and lasting so that your talent and skill can be enjoyed for years to come, and that you're in full production mode if/when one day I'll be able to put in my order" camp. All the best in your continued recovery.

10 May 2018 at 11:09  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Daniel - that made me smile.

10 May 2018 at 16:35  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Experimenting with a new material

A friend stopped in a little over a year ago with some show-and-tell... a block of dyed and infused Box Elder burl (more commonly called Manitoba Maple in these parts). He had several pieces - different sizes, different colors, but this one really stuck out for some reason. The price was fair for what it was - and no different than what a good quality piece or Rosewood or Ebony of the same size would sell for. So I bought it - curious to see if this would be a suitable infill material. The color was outlandish - but in a good way, and I figured that if it would work, an all steel plane would be the right way to to. A K6 or a K7 seemed about right - shown above with my K6 prototype. 

The block sat for almost a year. I picked it up every couple weeks or months, rotated it, tapped it, and put it down. Then for some reason I decided to see if I could plane it. I was surprised that perfect little blue shavings came through the plane - and the blade was not destroyed in the process. That was what I needed - some indication that this material would feel and ‘work’ like many of the exotic woods I use. It was a quick trip to the bandsaw to rough out the front pad and rear infill for a K7. It cut on the bandsaw like wood too... another good sign.

The next real test was working with handtools - how would it saw, would chisels work - and would the material kill the edges? Once again, I was pleasantly surprised - felt an awful lot like the materials I was used to. 

Once the rear infill was fit, I knew this was going to work - and was really excited to see the plane to the end. The pace quickened and I was back in the excitement of prototype mode again. It was a great feeling after almost a year off as my shoulder healed.

The inside of the front pad was the first surface that I ‘finished’ - no french polishing required. I sanded to 2000 grit and then buffed with a polishing pad and a quick coat of paste wax. The surface felt and looked wonderful!

The front pad and rear infill installed.

Finalizing the bed and blade fitment. 

I used to think the Pink Ivory K7 prototype was outlandish looking... it looks pretty pedestrian compared to the blue Box Elder.

The top of the front pad roughly shaped on the bandsaw.

The continuous chamfer completed and polished.

And finally the finished plane. 

I could not be happier with how it turned out. The sides and sole are 01 tool steel, the lever cap and screw are stainless steel.

I will continue to experiment with different species and different colors, and am really excited to incorporate this new material into plane making. I know it will not be for everyone, but I for one am really excited about all the possibilities. 

I have decided to offer this plane for sale – $2,950.00 Cdn + actual shipping costs. Roughly $2,415.00 USD based on the current exchange rate. send me an email if you are interested.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks amazing!

15 February 2018 at 16:04  
Blogger Daniel said...

Nice to see the complete story here - I've enjoyed the Instagram play-by-play. So glad for you that your shoulder is behaving! Nice to know that there's a (somewhat) more readily available material that behaves in a similar way to your amazing selection of fine woods!

16 February 2018 at 13:11  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Daniel,
Glad you have been watching along on instagram as well. It is funny having these 2 social meadia outlets. Instagram has certainly gained more attention, but the long form version of information and more indepth storytelling is still nice sometimes. I am hoping the new material will be well received and slowly start moving into that direction. It opens up so many possibilities that frankly, we all need to start moving towards. cheers,

16 February 2018 at 14:08  
Blogger Pedder said...

It will never beat the boxwood steel combination for me. But it is nice as everything from you shop!

This instagram is good to bring pictures to the public, but awful to transport any letters.


(petter appelgreen)

17 February 2018 at 03:20  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Pedder. Interesting that the boxwood and steel combination is what does it for you. people either love or hate boxwood in a plane.. a little like this blue box elder i think.

best wishes,

17 February 2018 at 07:35  
Blogger Kevin Brehon said...

It was exciting watching this plane come together on instagram, but it is also satisfying to see the long form too. Not everything we do needs a blog post, but not everything can be said in a picture either. I am also excited about the possibilities for new infill materials that this opens up.

24 February 2018 at 11:03  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Kevin,
Glad you have enjoyed watching along. Instagram has been really good for video posts and the ability to show process in that capacity, but is missing the long form feel for sure. It is such a short attention format.
I am also really excited about the possibilities of using infused (localish) materials as viable infill options. I love exotic woods - especially the Dalbergias, but they are becoming increasingly problematic for a lot of reasons. Not to mention that doing something new is always exciting - and bright blue shavings and dust on my shop floor is pretty fun.

24 February 2018 at 12:18  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Saturday, 1 July 2017

prototype planes for sale

When Joe Steiner and I started making planes we had a few simple goals - we wanted to make our own planes for our own use, and we had to have fun doing it. That was well before it turned into a business.

Once it turned into a business, those two goals remained, and we decided to keep the prototypes of each model for ourselves - that way, we would still end up ‘making our own planes’. We each have our own unique serial number, mine is KPXX-XX. The KP is for Konrad’s Plane, the next 2 digits are for the plane number, and the last 2 digits are for the year it was made. So, the first plane I made is stamped KP01-01 for the first plane, made in 2001.

The last serial number I stamped on one of my own planes was KP46-16. Yeah, that’s right... 46 planes. I was talking with a friend about it earlier this week, and he very politely asked how many of the 46 planes I actually use. I laughed and told him that quite a few of them sit idle in drawers. His response was perfect... he just said, ‘oh’ and let the question linger.

It has been lingering ever since, and I have come to the conclusion that these planes deserve to be used and not sit in the bottom of my bench drawers.

Six years ago, before I started the K-series of planes, I would have never considered selling any of the prototypes. They were my working planes and I was quite attached to them. As time has gone on, and as the K-series has grown, my attachment to these earlier planes has decreased. Largely because I essentially have 2 full sets of planes - the more traditional set, and the K-series. The K-series has become much more personal to me - it is a better representation of my own design aesthetic, and they represent what I feel are improvements to the traditional planes from an ergonomic standpoint.

These prototype planes are the ones I learned to make planes on. Several of them have minor variations. They also represent an interesting ‘type study’ - with changes that have evolved over time. I am not going to make any changes to any of them unless the buyer is interested in it. That work will be done free of charge. For example, the front bun on the Ebony filled A1 panel plane has quite sharp corners. This was a really early plane, and very shortly after, I modified the design to look and feel like the ones on the African Blackwood A2 jointing plane. If the new owner would like the corners rounded over - I am happy to do it. If you are interested in a particular plane, let me know and I can let you know which, if any, aspects have changed and we can take it from there.

No.4 smoother
- serial No. KP20-05
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 7-1/2" long, 01 tool steel sole
- 2" wide, high carbon steel blade (from Ron Hock)
- 52.5 degree bed angle
- East Indian Rosewood infill (I will verify)

(Another) No.4 smoother
- serial No. KP18-05 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 7-1/2" long, 01 tool steel sole
- 2-1/4" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 50 degree bed angle
- African Blackwood infill

This plane is very wide and should only be purchased by someone with large hands. It has been nicknamed the ’zamboni’ by a friend of mine in Oregon.

(the soles of the two No.4’s for comparison)

No.A6 smoother
- serial No. KP12-03 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 01 tool steel sole
- 2-1/4" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- East Indian Rosewood infill
- $3,850 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

This plane has an Iles adjuster - a very early plane that was made before Joe and I started making our own adjusters. This plane does not have the tops of the sidewalls rounded over either, and I would suggest at a minimum, rounding over the edges of the infill of the front bun and transition the rounding into the lower area of the sidewall. It will change the patina of the bronze, but it will darken soon enough. Or it could be left alone - I used it like this for years.

No.A5 smoother
- serial No. KP19-05 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 01 tool steel sole
- 2-1/4" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- Honduran Rosewood infill

There isn’t much to apologize for with this plane, and is one of two that will be the toughest to let go. It was a workhorse. This has one of our adjusters in it, although the threads are not as new as they once were - a decade of people using the adjuster without loosening the lever cap screw has caused a bit of wear. I would also round over the inside corners of the front bun where the sidewall transitions.


No.A1 panel plane (14-3/4" long)
- serial No. KP15-03 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 01 tool steel sole
- 2-1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade (7/32" thick)
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- Ebony infill
- $4,750 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

This plane also has an Iles adjuster - another very early plane. As mentioned above, this plane has very sharp corners on the top of the front bun. I have debated on rounding these over for many, many years, but always thought I should leave them as they represent part of the evolution. But for someone else, I would really consider rounding them over to be more like the Blackwood A2 jointer - it will be a lot more comfortable.

No.1R rebate panel plane (15-1/2" long)
- serial No. KP35-11
- 01 tool steel sides and sole
- bronze lever cap and lever cap screw
- 2-1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- Brazilian Rosewood infill
- $4,650 Cdn + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

A rebate panel plane, inspired by an uncommon plane made by Stewart Spiers - shown on page 76 in Nigel Lampert’s 1998 book on Spiers. There were a few modifications - thicker sidewalks, increased surface area of the sidewall that connects the front and back of the plane, and I pinned the lever cap instead of making it removable. This was the prototype plane and has been unused since 2011.
Ideally, this one will be easier to keep in Canada given that Brazilian is listed on CITIES appendix 1, but I can get an export permit for it as I have documentation for the wood.

No.A2 jointing plane (22-1/2" long)
- serial No. KP23-05 
- bronze sides, lever cap and lever cap screw
- 01 tool steel sole
- 2-5/8" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 47.5 degree bed angle
- African Blackwood infill

This will be the single hardest plane to let go. It has sat on the right side of my bench for over 12 years, always within arms reach. It has been to countless shows and planed countless feet of wood. It has one of our own adjusters in it and works wonderfully.

No.7 Norris type shoulder plane
- serial No. KP24-05 
- bronze sides and keeper
- 8" long, 01 tool steel sole
- 1-1/4" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 20 degree bed angle
- Brazilian Rosewood infill

The Norris shoulder plane is the closest I have ever come to copying an original design. I had always loved this design, and Joel at Tools for Working wood was kind enough to scan his original Norris that I used to create the drawings. Another work horse for me with some really striking Brazilian Rosewood infill. Ideally, this one will be easier to keep in Canada given that Brazilian is listed on CITIES appendix 1, but I can get an export permit for it as I have documentation for the wood.

No.3 rebate plane
- serial No. KP21-05 
- bronze sides and keeper
- 9" long, 01 tool steel sole
- 1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade
- 28.5 degree bed angle
- Kingwood infill

I had made a set of rebate planes very early one (they will be the next items in this list) and I wanted to make one with bronze sides - this was that plane. A great rebate plane that I used more than I ever thought I would. 

No.3 rebate plane (1/2", 3/4", 1" and 1-1/4" wide)
- serial No. KP06-02 thru KP09-02 
- 9" long, mild steel sides and sole
- high carbon steel blades from Ray Iles
- 28.5 degree bed angle
- Cocobolo infill
- $1,700 Cdn each + actual shipping costs and insurance if desired

These were the first joinery planes I made and are really, really early. They have blades from Ray Iles and are made with mild steel as opposed to 01 tool steel. They show the fact that they are early planes, but are totally functional and were used often. Most of them have a gap where the sole meets the sidewall under the blade. I will point it out in the photo below. This isn’t a functional issue, but is not as tidy and is evidence of ‘learning to make planes’. They are discounted accordingly.

(the small gap where the sole meets the side shown above and below)

(Another ‘eccentricity’ I hadn’t noticed before... I filed a single rounded
chamfer termination in one corner of the 1/2" rebate plane)

If you are interested, please send me an email,

Also, for any American customers, keep in mind that the exchange rate is in your favour at the moment - take roughly 25% off these prices for USD. I can figure out the exact exchange rate at the time of purchase.


Blogger Jameel Abraham said...

Oh my. These will be collector's items someday. Like, tomorrow. I may have to cash in some of my own tools to have a piece of history. Wow.

1 July 2017 at 16:50  
Blogger Bob Duff said...

It's a real treat to see these planes again.

However, I agree with you on the K planes. The design of them is very special. Love the lines, curves and how the light reflects off the facets.
It's your unique signature style. (Sleek, powerful, nimble......Porsche like 😜)


2 July 2017 at 10:39  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks J,
Would love for one of these to be on your bench.

2 July 2017 at 10:41  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Bob,
It really is almost surprising to me that I am ok with parting with these... 6 years ago I would have never imagined thinking this way, but the K-series really has struck a chord with me. Porsche like... best compliment of the week... thanks.

best wishes,

2 July 2017 at 10:43  
Blogger Brandon Hernandez said...

How do I get a hold of one of these beauties? I've looked everywhere. It's like they are a myth. Please tell me it's not so and available for purchase. Especially the K series. Reminds me of a surfboard on wood.

13 October 2017 at 14:16  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Brandon,

There have been very few K-series available as 'spare' planes - I have quite a few to make for patiently waiting customers. Most of the planes are made to order, so if there is a particular K-series plane you are after, just send me a note and we can talk about specs and timing.


13 October 2017 at 15:05  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home