Saturday, August 27, 2022

New Planes on the Horizon…

 When I started Voigt Planes seven years ago (wow, it does not seem that long), I thought I'd be rapidly adding all sorts of new models, but it hasn't turned out that way. Aside from rabbet and dado planes, I've mostly stuck to my basic lineup of bench planes. But this summer I've been working on a couple new models that I feel very good about, and they should be rolling out pretty soon.

First is a panel raising plane. I'm calling this my "Yankee Panel Raiser,"because it's based on planes by the second and third generations of "Yankee" planemakers, who worked in rural New England towards the end of the 18th century.



Excuse the bags of fiberglass insulation in the background--I'm insulating the shop.

The plane is very basic for a panel raiser--there's no nicker, and no separate flat area for the tongue. There are other panel raisers out there with all the bells and whistles, so I wanted to make a simple, robust design that's historically accurate.

The offset handle is quite comfortable.

The other new plane I've been working on is a slide arm fillister. I've made a couple prototypes of side escapement fillisters (the kind with a fence that screws to the bottom), and they worked fine, but they weren't something I was excited about producing. This one's different. It's essentially a skew rabbet plane with a fence that's secured with wooden thumbscrews. This style was quite popular in the U.S. in the late 18th/early 19th centuries, despite the fact that it was about twice the price of the simpler side escapement fillister.

One advantage of this style is that it's faster and easier to adjust the fence.


The other thing is that side escapement fillisters can be a bit finicky in terms of how they eject the shavings. That's because the skew actually forces the shaving in the wrong direction, so the shaving has to turn in order to exit the escapement, which can lead to clogging. You can reverse the skew--and some makers do that--but then the plane will have a tendency to be pushed away from the cut. With the skew rabbet escapement, however, the shavings eject very efficiently.

Here's a closeup of the escapement:

I hope to have these planes up on my website this Fall. In the meantime, if you have any questions about either of them, drop me a line.

Coming up in the next few posts, I'll be exploring the rabbit hole of historic natural varnishes that I've fallen into the last couple years. Stay tuned!