Hi Ed, Good to hear you are enjoying your new snipe bills. Thanks for another order on the set of moulding planes! We have just had another big order on the hollows and rounds so I am short a few planes, but I will have them ready to send away Tuesday. Thanks for your nice comments. I will contact you again when I am sending your set with a tracking number.
Thanks for the note. I have been using moulding planes for about 40 years, working with restored antiques. So I am very familiar with the problems traditional moulding planes have. As I was studying your planes on the internet (one does tend to study things before laying out several thousand dollars!), I came to appreciate that, from what I could tell from the pictures, you have solved the basic problems with the traditional design.
First, having a blade that does not taper is a 1000% improvement. Trying to adjust a traditional plane with a tapered blade with any accuracy is hit or miss (even after 40 years of use) - and frustration with a wedge that is either too tight or too loose after an adjustment is monumental. So excellent move on that end Second, the fixed brass wedge is simply amazing. Working in tandem with the wooden wedge, I find it simply does not come loose during the adjustment process. Perhaps this is primarily the lack of a tapered blade, but it seems to be the fixed wedge plays a key role here.
Third, perhaps because of the 4 degree skew, the planes seem to have no problem with ejecting chips. I suspect I could get it to clog, but with "normal abuse' it doesn't seem to have any problem.
Fourth, the brass boxing on the sole is great. My traditional snipes are almost always out whack and seem to need constant turning of the sole. So to have a more durable sole on the most crucial part of the plane is fantastic.
Two improvements you might consider:
(1) If you put a bracket around where the cutter comes out of the top of the plane and set it up so that a thumb screw through the bracket met the end of the blade, you could do extremely fine adjustments by setting the blade short of the sole and then using the screw to slowly bring the blade down. Sort of a modification of the Norris adjuster or the Stanley block plane approach.
(2) You could get rid of the wooden wedge entirely by designing the captured brass wedge in a two-piece rocker type assembly with a thumb screw coming out of the top. The "rocker wedge" would be designed so that when the thumb screw presses the top of the cutter to the bed, the rocker flattens out against the lower blade to get good contact to hold it secure.
Of the two, (1) would be the most helpful. (2) might actually require more machining and expense than it is worth, given that your current design works so well.
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