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I want a smoothing plane to cut a final polished surface consistently with little or no tearout. This wooden smoother by Clark & Williams is an impressively dependable tool.
Bill Clark and Larry Williams, finish carpenters turned plane makers, have revived the classic styling of 18th-century wooden smoothers. With a coffin-shaped beech body, a rounded-top single-iron precisely wedged in place and a microscopic throat opening, the design couldn’t be simpler or more elegant. The steel of the iron is standard O1, which sharpens easily and holds an edge respectably.
The plane speaks to me of makers who know what they are doing and care a great deal about it. They make smoothers to any pitch you desire (50° is my choice, or 55° for really figured or difficult woods) and some beautiful molding planes as well.
Not all woodworkers will be enamored of such wooden planes. It doesn’t have an adjuster, but setting the iron was easy and can be quickly learned. Try it, and you will be drawn in by its silky action of wood on wood, or the ease with which it cuts 0.001-in.-thick shavings and leaves a polished surface on tough woods such as bird’s-eye maple.
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