Dieter Schmid's Fine Tools


Wooden planes

The Emmerich company of Remscheid, whose brand name is E.C.E., is the manufacturer of classic planes in the best tradition. E.C.E. products are highly prized in many countries for their quality.

For those who are unsure about their hammering technique for setting the shaving thickness, or those who simply prefer a simpler adjustment method, the planes with fine adjustment offered by ECE are just the thing. If one does not do much planing, a plane with white beech sole is ample; frequent plane users should opt for the harder lignum vitae. The colour of lignum vitae - greenish, sometimes green-brown - makes it readily recognisable.

We are happy to offer a range of Japanese planes, at very reasonable prices for the beginner and top quality for the demands of the professional.

ECE introduced wooden planes for left-handers. They come as smoothing plane, German Jack plane, and Primus Reform smoothing plane.

Iron planes

In contrast to Continental Europe (except for Holland), where the great majority of planes have wooden bodies, almost the only planes seen in Britain and North America are made of cast iron. Being a trading nation with an eye to overseas, Holland took a liking to the English type in the 19th century. Iron planes are heavier than wooden planes, but at the same time tougher. There is no overall answer to the question of which is better.

Cabinet makers who have worked all their lives with wooden planes will refuse to use a metal one - and vice versa. However, one thing can be said- the small metal one-handed planes known as block planes, are immensely versatile, well worthy of their good name, and without a real rival in wood. These small planes really do fit into a trouser pocket, thus their easy portability helps make them a faithful companion in the workshop and on the building site.

Most metal planes have screw adjustment for the iron. A useful tip with these is to loosen the cap iron slightly first with the help of the cam lever or knurled-head screw, and only then use the fine adjuster. It should work easily and smoothly - never force it. Ignoring this advice will lead to a damaged and useless thread.

Constructing your own plane

You can also make your own plane. James Krenov makes a version that is very suitable to imitate. The blades for it are produced by Ron Hock in California. These excellent irons are to be found on our Make-it-yourself page The plans are also there.

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