Favorite Woodworking Planes, Part 8 5/16–German Planes

Wood or metal? The debate about what to make planes out of has been around for over a couple of centuries. Like the Romans, my response is–both. I admit, however, that my favorites are these German wooden planes.

The first and the last are the best, so I will start at the bottom and work my way north. The block plane is an ECE plane, which has a fantastically good adjustment mechanism. The Lignum Vitae sole is not too shabby, either.

To the left and up may look like a smoothing plane, but it is actually a scrub plane. As I use mostly split or rough sawn wood, this plane is a necessity. I have used it more than all the rest combined. Ulmia brand.

The well used, well loved plane next to it is an Ulmia smoothing plane. It is the same length as the scrub plane, but is considerably wider. The order of use would be scrub-joiner-smoother.

The next to last row has specialty planes. The first is a very fine Ulmia rabbet plane. It doesn’t have a depth gauge, but the quality of the joints it cuts more than makes up for that. It also has an adjustable throat for finer work. Purchased at an antiques store for $10.

The match planes are ECE, and the grooving plane works fine. Something is wrong with the bevel angle on the tonguing plane, as it jams easily. I would fix that, but I have three other planes that will cut a tongue and groove joint.

The last plane on the top is the daddy of the bunch. That jointer is 24″ of solid beech, and built like an entire Panzer division. It will flatten anything, without also flattening you with its weight. Not something you want to meet in a dark alley.

I had ancestors in two different states in southern Germany. They should be thanked for bringing this kind of craftsmanship across the pond.

Author: southernfusionfood

Writer, Woodworker, and Happy Eater

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