It is over 150 years since Leonard Bailey took out the patent for a metal-bodied plane. In this modern reinterpretation prolific inventor and designer, John Economaki of Bridge City Tool Works uses materials, production methods and tolerances unimaginable 150 years ago. To quote John “Good enough is not enough”. His attention to detail is phenomenal; every aspect of the HP-12 plane is there for a reason. That includes the shape, the material, the finish and the function.
This may be the only bench plane needed in the workshop. It comes with two blades, each with two edges; effectively the HP-12 is four planes in one. One blade has 30° and 35° bevels whilst the other has a 40° bevel at one end and a toothed edge at the other. Used bevel-up and bedded at 12° the HP-12 can be a low-angle plane for end grain, a standard smoothing plane, a high angle plane for difficult grain or a scrub plane for fast flattening. When located in the plane, the edge of the blade that is not in use, sits in a protective aluminium channel. The blades are 5.7mm thick and 50.8mm wide, hardened to 60-62 HRC from A2 tool steel, and lapped to a mirror finish, no flattening required.
The body measures 305mm long heel to toe. The sole of the HP-12 is 304-stainless steel, extremely flat and features an adjustable mouth also made from 304-stainless steel. The sides are CNC milled and anodised 360-aluminium. Each side is press-fit to the sole with dowel pins and retained with cap screws. The openings in the pierced sides of the plane allow minute lateral blade movement with the user’s fingertips as well as reducing the overall weight of the plane.
Rather than the traditional lever cap, the unique toggle blade locking system is fast, secure, pressure adjustable and allows for the use of double-edged blades. Simply pull the sculpted “D” lever and the entire blade retention mechanism swings out of the way to facilitate blade changes. There are no loose parts to mislay or get lost, the mechanism is an integral part of the plane.
The front tote is turned aluminium, bead blasted and anodised. The mushroom shape is particularly hand friendly. Threaded into the throat plate it allows precise adjustment of the mouth. The rear tote is investment cast 304 stainless steel with a highly polished curved surface. It feels great in the hand, and is perpendicular to the blade's edge directing the forward motion of the plane straight at the cutting edge.
Adjustment for the depth of cut is via a modified Norris mechanism with a 0.5mm thread-pitch lead-screw for super fine control. The lead screw sits in a solid brass split pivot nut, resulting in a backlash free mechanism that is adjustable by hand. Moving the lead screw knob left or right controls lateral blade alignment.
The HP-12 includes a pair of depth skids. Fitted on either side of the body they turn the HP-12 into a highly precise thicknesser. The depth skids allow accurate dimensioning of stock to within a tolerance of 0.05mm. The HP-12 Dual Angle Smoothing Plane does not include a guide fence by design. However, there are two little holes at the bottom of each skid allowing the attachment of a wooden fence to one or the other. The skids feature rounded soles, which not only reduce friction but also allow setting them at different depths for creating tapered stock (louvres).
LxWxH: 305 x 70 x 133mm
Weight (with skids): 2.575kg (5lbs 11oz)
|Nett Weight||2.575 kg|
|Plane Blade Width||50 mm (2")|
|Sole Length||305 mm|