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Sauer and Steiner
One of the more common questions I get is people looking for recommendations for infill materials and what the best sidewall material would be - from an aesthetic standpoint. That is a really tough question to answer - most infill wood will look great with either bronze or steel. So I usually ask them if they have a preference for steel or bronze or if there is a particular infill wood they are after. The answer to either of those questions can help the process.
In 2004, I found a stash of Ebony commonly called ‘Black & White Ebony’. There was one piece that stood out to me - it had great definition between the black and white sections and had that wonderful pillowing that Ziricote is known for. It was just large enough for 2 XSNo.4s and I roughed those sets out as soon as I got home. As soon as the dehumidification kiln was completed, they stayed in there for a few years and then back out onto the storage shelf waiting for a home.
After a recent conversation about pairing infill wood with sidewall material, I noticed these 2 sets on the shelf and decided to make these 2 planes to show the difference between steel and bronze with a common infill wood. I made a few ‘spare’ planes a couple months ago and the response was very positive, so decided the risk of making 2 more was not too high. Besides - I was curious to see them myself.
Here are a couple more photos of the pair and then some photos of the individual planes.
XSNo.4 with bronze sides and Black & White Ebony infill. The plane is 5-1/2" long, has a 1-1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade with a 52.5 degree bed angle. The price is $1,700.00 Cdn + actual shipping costs.
XSNo.4ss with steel sides, a stainless steel lever cap and screw, with Black & White Ebony infill. The plane is 5-1/2" long, has a 1-1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade with a 52.5 degree bed angle. The price is $1,850.00 Cdn + actual shipping costs.
The last few months have taken me back to the early days of making planes. I found myself making two parallel sided smoothing planes. As I was working on them, I realized it has been several years since making one let alone 2 - most of the smoothers have been curved sided (coffin shaped) and it was refreshing and dare I say fun to make these.
One is a No.6 and the other an A6 (the ‘A’ meaning there is an adjuster).
This is the No.6 - infilled with African Blackwood, a 2-1/4" wide blade and a bed angle of 50 degrees.
The customer was not interested in an adjuster which meant we could also leave off the cap iron making for the simplest configuration possible (and also the quickest way for honing and re-installing the blade).
The next plane is an A6. This one is infilled with some very old East Indian Rosewood, and a bed angle of 47.5 degrees.
I do not get very many requests for East Indian Rosewood which is too bad - it is an exceptional infill material, has great color and is a species of Rosewood that has been available for a very long time. That means that if you are lucky, you can find old stock that will be properly seasoned.
One interesting aspect of this plane is that the blade is 2" wide. This is the first time I have made an A6 this narrow (usually a 2-1/4" wide blade) and I have to say I really like it. It makes the front bun quite a bit narrower, and it more comfortable for guys like me with smallish hands.
This A11 mitre plane is the mate to the first K7.
It is infilled with Bois de Rose - from the same piece the K7 was cut from. It is always nice to have infill stock large enough to make multiple planes.
Lastly - the dining room table has been completed for some time now. The first meal was Easter dinner with my family. It was really nice to finally use it, and thankfully - no one complained about a sore butt or feet or knees bashing into anything.
Here are a few additional photos.
Next ‘house project’ - a quarter sawn White Oak screen door (with a removable screen and thermal glass for winter) and matching quarter sawn White Oak storms for the surround.