Hi All: Last July at the Lie Nielsen Hand Tool Event in Cincinnati, OH I got to meet Ron Brese and try out his infill planes (www.breseplane.com). His model 875 is the nicest smoother I’ve ever gotten my hands on. Planing with it was like a dream sequence. The plane just floated down every board I put it to taking clean, silky shavings and leaving a high gloss surface in its wake. I bought one of Ron’s “show irons” in the hopes that I could make a plane that came close to the performance of Ron’s (yea, fat chance of that). My Brese iron is made out of high carbon certified steel that is ¼” thick, 2” wide, and a tad more than 6” long. This is easily the nicest plane iron I own. It sharpens up keener than my others, and in tests has easily handled the nastiest woods I have including a free thick ipe board that looks like a beaver pile reject. A while back I posted pictures of a fore plane I made intending to use the Brese iron in it. Once completed, I didn’t feel the plane did the Brese iron justice and so I shelved the iron until a better plane came to mind. The attached photos are the result. I styled the plane after the European plane on page 17 of Garrett Hack’s “The Handplane Book”, including making use of the chip carving design on that plane. It took me several failed attempts to shape a horn that looked and felt right in use. The horn is attached using a sliding dovetail. I made a piece to go behind the iron to fit between the web of my thumb and index finger, but it didn’t look right so I left it off. The plane doesn’t really need it. The rounded heel is plenty comfortable and the chip carving on the sides provide a good grip surface. I used hard maple for the plane. It is 14 1/2″ long with a tight mouth and a 50 degree bed angle. The mouth opening is 6 7/8” back from the toe. I will mostly be using it as a panel plane to smooth larger panel glue ups. I went ahead and put a screw clearance slot in the bed just in case I later decide to use a double iron with it. This European style plane is configured differently from my stash of metal bodied planes and my other wooden plane making efforts. In use, there is a tendency to take advantage of the horn and put slightly more downward pressure at the toe than an English style plane allows. By having the mouth nearly centered in the sole the downward pressure is evened out with the hand pushing forward at the heel. The result is a plane that smoothly glides across the face of a board while keeping the iron fully engaged in the cut (assuming the board is already flat). I now want to get another Brese iron and make a miter plane for it with a 35 degree bed. I just need to find some ebony or some of Derek’s super hard Australian wood at a good price. gdblake
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