Here's the first plane I've sold to a customer. A gentlemen recently contacted me through Sawmill Creek (a woodworking forum that I belong to). He liked the pictures of my mini-coffin smoother and wondered if I would make him one.
I was skeptical at first, but the guy was pretty cool; he didn't try to nickel and dime me, and left me a lot of latitude as far as design and wood choice were concerned.
I decided to make the plane out of jatoba, since I had it on hand. Never again! With one possible exception, I'm done using jatoba for planes--it is just too hard to work. The end result is great, but I'm going to stick to woods that are a bit easier.
Here's the plane:
The project gave me the chance to fine tune the design and really improve the ergonomics of the plane. I shortened it a bit, to 5 3/4", radiused the top of the iron, and curved the sides slightly in the vertical plane (along with the more obvious horizontal curve). These changes made a big difference…the plane is more comfortable than the first version. The only thing I regretted about the project was shipping the plane--it was painful to see it go! But I guess I can always make another.