Ron Brese, owner of Brese Plane in Thomaston, Georgia, USA, makes wonderful infill hand planes.
In recent communication via e-mail I asked Ron about his approach and philosophy to a brand-new hand plane he unveils right now; I also asked him if he would allow me publish the first photos on this blog, and he agreed (photos below).
Folks, get ready for a non-infill hand plane from Brese Plane – a stainless steel hand plane, at that! The specifications for this new plane are as follows:
Model Number: 132-50P
Iron width: 2.25” wide .250 thick 0-1
Pitch: 50 degrees
Lever cap: 0.500″ brass with ½-10 acme threaded lever cap screw
Sole: .375” thick 410 alloy stainless with stainless tweed pattern on the interior
Sides: .187 thick 1018 mild steel (production planes are to have 410 stainless sides)
Bedding Plate: .375 stainless with brass iron seat
Weight: 7 lbs. 15.5 oz.
Ron will have this hand plane at the Woodworking in America Hand Tools & Techniques conference in Valley Forge, October 2-4. In the meantime, the following are a few photos of this new beauty – we all have to live with these, until its full unveiling in just a few days. Please click on the photos to display them at larger sizes.
My approach in the design of this plane goes very much with my original goal when I started making planes for sale. I wanted to make some very nice, high end tools that were affordable to a larger segment of the hand tool woodworkers. This goal changed my approach when I started designing the panel plane. What many craftsmen don’t realize is that the majority of the work in an infill plane is in the wooden bits. To fit an infill to the tolerance standards expected of these high end tools is a very involved task, and requires a great deal of very deliberate work.
I started thinking about this panel plane close to a year ago, developing the design of this tools in my mind. When I was in Chicago for the L-N hand tools event at Jeff Miller’s shop, I pitched the idea I had for this plane to my sounding board, Jameel (Jameel Abraham, of Benchcrafted). When I explained my vision for this tool, Jameel’s eyes lit up. We spent the next 3 hours discussing different aspects of what the configuration of this tool should be. By the time we were through exploring different ideas for this plane I could tell that Jameel was as intrigued about this plane as I was. This was a good sign!
I started drawing and refining the lines of this tool using as my base the very recognizable lines of the Norris A-1 panel plane. This refinement went on for some time and when I got together with Jameel at the L-N event at PWW (Popular Woodworking) in Cincinnati, I had the overall design and the lines of the plane worked out. I just needed to bounce some ideas off Jameel as to the finer details of the tool. Jameel was pressing for the tote to have no visible fasteners when the plane was assembled; I liked the idea…….. I just had to engineer how to make it work.
On my return I continued to work out the issues with how to put this plane together; this required many refinements and revisions. Basically, at this point, the look of the tool was set. I just needed to sequence the work process and assembly. Working out the sequence of making and assembling this plane created more revisions.
Now, there are still a lot of questions about this plane. (1) Will it work on par with an infill panel plane? (2) This plane requires more very precisely made metal parts and does not rely on the wooden elements to establish it’s geometry in regards to the bedding angle. Will this ultimately be a plane that can be offered for a price attractively lower than a traditional infill panel plane? (3) Will the A-1 lines work in this format?
My answer to these questions are as follows: (1) Like all my planes, I believe it will perform at a very high level; however, I believe it will feel different from an infill. (2) I’m confident that I can offer this plane at a price much lower than a comparable infill. (3) I think the combination of the surface treatments, the precision of the construction, and the unmistakable traditional lines, will make this tool very appealing to anyone that appreciates the efforts involved in a well–made functional object.
I think it will be apparent that I’m attempting to innovate within my own style. People that know my tools will pick up on the details that designate a plane as mine. The rear tote design with the tapering top horn, the thick iron with notable brass button, and the lever cap design, will all be evidence that this tool is in fact a “Brese” plane.
Ron, I hope this new hand plane will be a resounding success, similar to every model you have created in the past! From everything I know, it should be.
I would love to have a chance to try my hand at making some shavings with his new plane. Maybe at the Woodworking in America Hand Tools & Techniques conference in Valley Forge, PA, October 2-4? Ron will be one of the vendors during the conference. The Marketplace is free to the public! I hope you can join me at the conference.